The third quarter of the Hamilton Bulldogs’ season has come and gone and the Bulldogs find themselves in the same spot they’ve been for the better part of the last few months, in a dogfight for a berth in the postseason. The usual top players continued their fine form but a few others stepped up to make key contributions. As always, our grades begin with the goaltenders and defencemen.
Players must have played in at least 5/19 games to receive a grade.
Mike Condon: A: It would be really hard to argue that another Montreal
prospect has vaulted up the rankings as quickly as Condon has this season and his play over this past stretch was very strong. One of the big concerns heading into the season was goaltending; how were they going to replace Dustin Tokarski? If you compare the numbers, Condon has been just as good if not better and he is the main reason the Bulldogs have a shot at the postseason.
Stats: 14 GP, 10-4-0 record, 2.09 GAA, .928 SV%, 3 SO
Joey MacDonald: C+: With Condon taking over as the starter, the veteran didn’t see a whole lot of action but when he did play, he was his typical average-to-mediocre self. He keeps the team in most games and while his paycheque is pretty high for someone whose job is to do that, he’s still a much more reliable option than the netminder who held that role last season.
Stats: 5 GP, 2-1-2 record, 2.90 GAA, .909 SV%, 0 SO
Davis Drewiske: A: He has been the forgotten one amongst the fan base
for most of the season with the youngsters garnering more attention. However, Drewiske has been their steadiest blueliner all season long and over the last couple months, has certainly played as a legitimate #1 defenceman. It’s highly unlikely to happen but he certainly has earned a look from the Canadiens.
Stats: 19 GP, 1 goal, 9 assists, 10 points, +12 rating, 8 PIMS, 41
Morgan Ellis: A-: After failing to make crack Hamilton’s top-7, Ellis was sent to Wheeling where he evidently rediscovered his offensive game. Since rejoining the Bulldogs, he has played with much more confidence and is making a much greater impact on both sides of the puck. He has played himself into consideration for regular playing time down the stretch, something that would have seemed like a pipe dream just a month ago.
Stats: 6 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, +7 rating, 2 PIMS, 16 shots
Darren Dietz: B+: For the first time since turning pro, Dietz was a factor in the offensive game. He has settled in comfortably on the second pairing and is seeing time both on the PP and PK. While it would be nice to see
him make a bit more of an impact, he is slowly but steadily progressing. If
Hamilton keeps their full complement of blueliners down the stretch, Dietz may have to settle for a third pairing role and will need to find a way to continue his stronger play in fewer minutes.
Stats: 16 GP, 1 goal, 8 assists, 9 points, +2 rating, 6 PIMS, 19 shots
Jarred Tinordi: B: Tinordi recovered nicely from his concussion to
play his best hockey of the season, earning himself a brief recall to the
Canadiens. He and Drewiske teamed up to be a strong defensive pairing while staying away from the fisticuffs (given his success this year when dropping the gloves, that’s not a bad thing). As the games get more physical down the stretch, the Bulldogs will be counting on Tinordi in a big way to continue to elevate his game.
Stats: 13 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, +14 rating, 2 PIMS, 19 shots
Mac Bennett: C+: On the plus side, he’s not finding himself a healthy scratch regularly as he was in the early goings of the season. On the down side, Bennett really hasn’t taken any major strides forward from October to now. This is the time of the season where they’d really like him to be more than a complementary player but given his recent injury and the fact that his GP totals are higher than he has had in years, he may wind up being a depth player down the stretch.
Stats: 16 GP, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points, +1 rating,2 PIMS, 19 shots
Bobby Shea: C+: When the injury bug struck, Shea had an opportunity to
play third pairing minutes with a bit of regularity and he didn’t look out of
place. He made more of an impact early in his stint compared to the end but the Bulldogs should feel comfortable if they need to bring him back up from Wheeling in the final few weeks of the season.
Stats: 10 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -1 rating, 7 PIMS, 6 shots
Greg Pateryn: C: It’s funny, last year no matter how well Pateryn
played, he wasn’t going to get a chance with the Canadiens (short of a few days practicing with the team). This season, with him not playing particularly well with Hamilton, he gets his chance. If he is indeed around for their playoff push, Pateryn will need to be more of an impact player, particularly offensively. With no Nathan Beaulieu or Magnus Nygren, he’s the one they need to anchor the PP and he has struggled badly in that role so far.
Stats: 11 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -4 rating, 2 PIMS, 25
Bryan Allen: C: When he was sent down, I was hoping Allen could be a
quality second pairing defenceman for the Bulldogs. While he has been passable, he certainly hasn’t made as much of an impact as most would have liked. The AHL is a step slower than the NHL but Allen has had some difficulties keeping up with the speed of some of the players in the minors. With the pressure of a playoff push approaching, Allen will need to be a steadying influence for the younger players.
Stats: 19 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -4 rating, 18 PIMS, 19
Joe Finley: C-: Over these past couple of months, Finley has been the
enforcer that hasn’t done any enforcing. (In general, the Bulldogs have fought less of late which is good.) Unfortunately, fighting is really only reason he’s on the team as he doesn’t bring any sort of skill to the table beyond that so suffice it to say, he hasn’t done a whole lot lately and is likely to be a healthy scratch more often than not down the stretch when everyone else is available.
Stats: 12 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, +1 rating, 6 PIMS, 7 shots
N/A: David Makowski (only 1 GP)