November was a good month for the Canadiens organization. The Bulldogs
were able to win a few games and stay away from the division basement while
several junior prospects had strong months as well. And of course, the
Habs ended the month tied for first in the NHL. Which young players stood
out from the rest? Here are our prospect 3 Stars for the month of
1st Star: Charles Hudon – I had high hopes for Hudon (I gave
him a decent chance of making the NHL team out of training camp) but he has
exceeded everyone’s expectations so far. Not only is he playing well in
his own end but he is quickly becoming one of Hamilton’s top offensive threats
as well. If he keeps up this pace much longer, he’s going to force Marc
Bergevin’s hand to call him up to the Canadiens.
Stats: 12 GP, 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points, +3 rating, 16 PIMS, 26
2nd Star: T.J. Hensick – For the first time in a while, a
veteran AHL signing is actually living up to his offensive expectations.
He and Hudon have found some chemistry and as a result, the Bulldogs’ top line
is actually one of the better ones in the AHL at the moment. What’s also
noteworthy with Hensick is that he never went more than one game without a point
Stats: 12 GP, 3 goals, 10 assists, 13 points, +3 rating, 2 PIMS, 29
3rd Star: Magnus Nygren – For the second straight year, the
Swedish blueliner had a rough start to the season but now, he’s showing
considerable signs of improvement. His shot from the point is becoming
more of a threat, taking Hamilton’s powerplay from abysmal all the way up to
lousy (trust me, this is actually quite a good accomplishment given its early
season ineptitude). He’s still prone to mistakes in his own end but is
heading in the right direction defensively as well.
Stats: 9 GP, 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points, +4 rating, 2 PIMS, 23 shots
Honourable Mention: Mike Condon – With Joey MacDonald reduced
to backup duty for a good chunk of the month due to an unspecified injury,
Condon was given the starting job and made the most of it, posting strong
numbers and a .500 record for the month. For the first time in years, the
Bulldogs actually have a strong second goalie with Robert Mayer having moved
onto the Swiss League.
Stats: 8 GP, 4-4-0 record, 2.50 GAA, .922 SV%
1st Star: Tim Bozon (Kootenay, WHL) – After an injury delayed
the start to his season, Bozon has picked up where he left off last year,
becoming a top scoring threat once again. As an overager, he is supposed
to dominate but given what happened last year, this is a big step for his
development. On a high scoring team in Kootenay, he should be in line for
a strong final junior campaign.
Stats: 11 GP, 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points, +2 rating, 6 PIMS
2nd Star: Martin Reway (Sparta Praha, Czech Extraliga) – Moving
to a pro league and being the youngest full-time player on the team hasn’t
stalled Reway’s offensive production as he has been hovering around a point per
game all season. Defensively, his effort is still inconsistent but as long
as he’s scoring, he’s going to keep getting big minutes on his club team.
He should be one to watch for at the upcoming World Juniors.
Stats: 11 GP, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, -2 rating, 4 PIMS
3rd Star: Michael McCarron (London, OHL) – McCarron had a
completely different month than he did in October but it’s not a bad thing.
In the first month, he had plenty of assists and few goals. In November,
the exact opposite happened. Regardless of whether he’s scoring them or
setting them up, the one constant is that he’s involved in a lot of goals early
on this season. He was a longshot to make it back to USA’s WJC camp but
he’s back on the radar after a great start to his season.
Stats: 10 GP, 10 goals, 1 assist, 11 points, +3 rating, 27 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Nikita Scherbak (Everett, WHL) – It was
more of the same from Scherbak last month – lots of points and lots of
highlights. One negative from last month, however, was his time in the
Subway Super Series as the official story is that he managed to play his way out
of consideration for the World Juniors based on those two games. I’m not
sure I’m buying that and their federation suggesting he’s not good enough to be
included on a 38-player training camp roster is rather perplexing.