With the seasons for both Hamilton and Montreal now over, it’s time to look back on the year that was. Next up in our grades series is Hamilton’s forwards. Some had strong years while others had ones to forget.
There will be two sets of grades for most players, one for the fourth quarter and another for their overall season performance. Players must have played in 5/19 games to receive a fourth quarter grade and 20/76 games to receive a season grade. Because there are two sets of grades, players will be listed in alphabetical order.
4th Quarter Grade – B: It was surprising to see his goal scoring dry right up but he made up for that by setting up a lot of goals as well. Defensively, Andrighetto had his good and bad moments but his play showed that he’s becoming more conscientious in his own end.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 1 goal, 12 assists, 13 points, -7 rating, 8 PIMS, 48 shots
Season Grade – B-: Andrighetto’s season was largely reminiscent of his rookie campaign. On the one hand, that’s not necessarily bad considering he had a very good freshman season but on the other, he didn’t take any significant strides forward (though as mentioned, he’s paying more attention defensively at least). I’d have liked to see him become more of a serious goal scoring threat as improvements there would go a long way towards getting him to the NHL.
Season Stats: 60 GP, 14 goals, 29 assists, 43 points, -6 rating, 42 PIMS, 155 shots
4th Quarter Grade – C: In his first stint with the Bulldogs, Bournival was simply dominant. That wasn’t the case this time around although it seems highly likely that he was trying to play through a concussion. If he’s still with the team next year (I’d be surprised if he wasn’t qualified but not shocked if he was traded), he’s going to need another strong training camp to stay in the hunt for a roster spot.
4th Quarter Stats: 5 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -2 rating, 4 PIMS, 14 shots
Season Grade – N/A: (Less than 20 games played on the season)
Season Stats: 12 GP, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, +4 rating, 8 PIMS, 34 shots
4th Quarter Grade – C+: His final few weeks of the year resembled that of his overall season play. He was decent, but not spectacular. With some of the other top forwards scuffling and the fact that veterans are to be leaned on in the push for a playoff spot, decent really wasn’t good enough.
4th Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, -2 rating, 6 PIMS, 37 shots
Season Grade – C: Bowman has never been a major scorer even at the AHL level but his production for the season left something to be desired. I thought he played relatively well in his own end which helped keep him in a top six role for most of the year but I would be a bit surprised if he’s back next year.
Season Stats: 62 GP, 14 goals, 19 assists, 33 points, -4 rating, 33 PIMS, 143 shots
4th Quarter Grade – B-: While I liked that Carr was one of the few forwards to actually produce some goals down the stretch, I don’t like that it came at the expense of his two-way play. Carr’s line pushed too much at times for goals, putting themselves at a higher risk for getting scored on which happened too often.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, -8 rating, 7 PIMS, 39 shots
Season Grade – A-: Carr started out the season in a depth role but it didn’t take long for him to move up in the lineup. When that happened, he took off offensively. He was streaky in terms of his production throughout the year but that was about the only blemish on what was a very strong rookie campaign.
Season Stats: 76 GP, 24 goals, 15 assists, 39 points, +8 rating, 21 PIMS, 177 shots
4th Quarter Grade – C: The stretch run saw Crisp play his best hockey of the year although given his poor year overall, that’s not saying much. He didn’t get mixed up in the rough stuff which was somewhat surprising although that didn’t hurt his play any. His performance wasn’t the worst of ways to finish his season.
4th Quarter Stats: 10 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 10 shots
Season Grade – D: Crisp missed time early on with an injury and when he returned, he struggled to get in the lineup with any sort of regularity all year long. When he did suit up, he didn’t do a whole lot. This was a waste of a season overall, especially for his development.
Season Stats: 39 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 15 points, -2 rating, 102 PIMS, 20 shots
Jacob de la Rose
4th Quarter Grade – N/A: (Did not play)
Season Grade – B-: It didn’t take long for de la Rose to earn the trust of the coaching staff due to his sound defensive play, something that also occurred when he was called up to Montreal. The lack of production is a bit disappointing, although he did play well when he came back from the World Juniors. For him to truly be an impact player with the Habs though, more improvement is needed in that area.
Season Stats: 37 GP, 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points, +7 rating, 11 PIMS, 49 shots
4th Quarter Grade – C: He took on a bit bigger of a role in the waning weeks of the season, often spending time on the third line. While that didn’t give him any sort of boost to his offence, he was his usual reliable self when it came to playing in his own end.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, -2 rating, 32 PIMS, 23 shots
Season Grade – C-: Dowell did his job defensively and stood up for his teammates on several occasions. However, he spent most of the year on the fourth line alongside several prospects who all accomplished next to nothing (if not nothing) with him as their pivot. He was decent overall but it’s safe to say the Bulldogs were expecting more from the veteran; he wasn’t signed to be a fourth liner.
Season Stats: 76 GP, 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points, -6 rating, 75 PIMS, 85 shots
4th Quarter Grade – B: Dumont was one of the few veterans to pull their weight down the stretch, being his usual feisty self. He also did so despite playing through a broken foot which is particularly impressive. It was a good end to what was his best ever AHL season.
4th Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, -3 rating, 19 PIMS, 40 shots
Season Grade – B: While Dumont didn’t take the big leap forward to show that he still might have legitimate NHL potential, he put forth his best AHL season thus far (setting career highs in all offensive categories) and was a key factor for the Bulldogs on and off the ice. He’s definitely worth bringing back next year although recent reports suggest that many not happen.
Season Stats: 66 GP, 20 goals, 25 assists, 45 points, even rating, 88 PIMS, 176 shots
4th Quarter Grade – D: Even with injuries, Fournier didn’t come close to playing on a regular basis and when he did suit up, he didn’t bring anything useful to the table. He’ll be hard pressed to crack the IceCaps’ opening roster next year.
4th Quarter Stats: 6 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -2 rating, 7 PIMS, 5 shots
Season Grade – N/A: (Less than 20 games played on the season)
Season Stats: 14 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -2 rating, 14 PIMS, 10 shots
4th Quarter Grade – A-: Hensick saved his best efforts on the season for last, taking over the team lead in scoring in the final week of play. His trio was the only one who was a consistent threat to score on a nightly basis.
4th Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 4 goals, 12 assists, 16 points, -5 rating, 2 PIMS, 44 shots
Season Grade – A-: I’m sure Hamilton knew what they were getting when they signed Hensick. He doesn’t play great defence, he’s small and easy to knock off the puck, but he’s a consistent point producer. That was his scouting report before the year and it played out the same way this year. He was a strong top six forward and it would be nice to have him back next season in St. John’s.
Season Stats: 75 GP, 19 goals, 41 assists, 60 points, -12 rating, 10 PIMS, 183 shots
4th Quarter Grade – B: After cooling off a bit, Hudon’s scoring picked up down the stretch though like Carr, it came at the expense of his two-way game somewhat. However, the fact that he picked up his goal scoring despite facing tighter and tougher checking is a positive sign heading into the offseason.
4th Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 7 goals, 2 assists, 9 points, -8 rating, 8 PIMS, 43 shots
Season Grade – A: Even though Hudon was a quality scorer in junior, he wasn’t expected to be a go-to guy right off the bat with Hamilton but before long, Hudon was a top liner. It was a fantastic rookie campaign to say the least. For next year, I’d like to see him start with the IceCaps (to refine a few things and show his offensive outburst was no fluke) but he should play a role with the big club at some point.
Season Stats: 75 GP, 19 goals, 38 assists, 57 points, +5 rating, 68 PIMS, 165 shots
4th Quarter Grade – B-: McNally fit right in after joining the club when his college season ended, seeing regular minutes as a bottom six winger. He earned the approval of management too, signing a contract for next season already where he will likely try to earn a full-time spot in the bottom six.
4th Quarter Stats: 11 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, -1 rating, 8 PIMS, 7 shots
Season Grade – N/A (he only played in those eleven games late in the season)
4th Quarter Grade – N/A: (Only 4 GP)
4th Quarter Stats: 4 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -2 rating, 8 PIMS, 1 shot
Season Grade – D: Last year Macenauer played somewhat of a regular role and was decent in the process. This past season, he struggled to get in the lineup (often a casualty of the AHL’s veteran rule) and when he did play, he didn’t exactly play well; getting off the fourth line was a challenge. There are better options to turn to for next season.
Season Stats: 47 GP, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, even rating, 28 PIMS, 48 shots
4th Quarter Grade – B: I had some concerns that Sorkin might tire out towards the end of the year (his previous career high in games played was 50, a number he passed by a considerable amount) but instead he saved some of his best play for last. Injuries moved him up in the lineup at times and he didn’t look out of place while he provided some rare contributions from the bottom six.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, +1 rating, 4 PIMS, 34 shots
Season Grade – B-: Sorkin played a regular role for the Bulldogs which isn’t all that bad in itself for an under the radar college signing. He was the only bottom sixer that provided any sort of consistent offensive threat while playing well in his own end as well. I think he has another level in his development but with all the rookies coming in next year, I’m not sure there will be a spot for him though I do hope he gets another deal for 2015-16.
Season Stats: 68 GP, 11 goals, 14 assists, 25 points, +1 rating, 10 PIMS, 105 shots
4th Quarter Grade – B+: His year had some ups and downs but his play at the end of the season qualifies as one of his ups. He shifted between the second and third lines and as a result, from scoring to checking roles but that didn’t affect his play. I have to wonder if he was hurt at the end of the year as if not, I don’t quite understand why he wasn’t part of the Black Aces squad.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points, -3 rating, 20 PIMS, 57 shots
Season Grade – B: It took him a bit of time to find his stride but Tangradi started to make his mark as the season progressed. He became one of Hamilton’s more dominant two-way threats while providing a welcome physical element as well. I’d like to see him qualified for next year (it would be a two-way offer even though he had a one way deal) but my guess is the Habs let him try to catch on elsewhere.
Season Stats: 48 GP, 14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points, +9 rating, 56 PIMS, 142 shots
4th Quarter Grade – C+: His final few weeks were a microcosm of his entire season – Thomas was decent but everyone was left wanting more from him. At times he was a dangerous threat and at others he was hardly noticeable out there. As a third year ‘sniper’ in a playoff race, that’s not good enough.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, even rating, 8 PIMS, 49 shots
Season Grade – C-: The progression just isn’t there with Thomas. In fact, there’s a reasonable case to be made that he regressed this year. He’s still wildly inconsistent offensively and he did not adjust well to being deployed as a go-to scorer. Being a hot-and-cold complementary AHL’er at this stage of his career (three full pro seasons) is not that encouraging when it comes to his NHL future.
Season Stats: 52 GP, 11 goals, 11 assists, 22 points, -10 rating, 18 PIMS, 125 shots
N/A Grades: Tim Bozon, Sahir Gill (released)