The Habs recently passed the three quarter mark of the season which means it’s time for our next round of report cards. We start with the forwards where there weren’t many high marks.
Players must have played in at least 5/21 games to receive a grade.
Tomas Plekanec: B+: While Plekanec has justifiably taken some heat this year, he quietly put up a pretty good stretch of games to lead all Montreal forwards in scoring for this section of the season. Now he needs to avoid going back into the malaise that plagued him after signing his extension and show that he’s still capable of being a consistent top six producer.
Stats: 21 GP, 4 goals, 11 assists, 15 points, -1 rating, 12 PIMS, 58 shots
Brendan Gallagher: B: Statistically it was a bit of a down quarter for Gallagher but the points don’t tell the whole tale. The spark that only he can bring was there almost every night and he was willing to shoot from just about anywhere. On a team that’s struggling to score, that’s noteworthy. He certainly hasn’t been the problem during this slide.
Stats: 21 GP, 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points, +1 rating, 8 PIMS, 74 shots
Alex Galchenyuk: B: Early returns suggest the fourth quarter grade will be higher than this but Galchenyuk showed signs of breaking out in the third quarter of this season. He’s more willing to shoot the puck which was one of the biggest criticisms surrounding him while he’s becoming a threat on his off-side as well. Slow but steady progress is always a good thing.
Stats: 21 GP, 7 goals, 3 assists, 10 points, -5 rating, 4 PIMS, 69 shots
Lars Eller: B-: As is often the case with Eller, there was some bad mixed with in some good. He played better towards the trade deadline which happened to coincide with a move back to centre, a position where he seems to play better compared to the wing. I wouldn’t expect his improved play to last long though; he’ll be back to his consistently inconsistent ways before too long.
Stats: 21 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, -10 rating, 8 PIMS, 50 shots
Max Pacioretty: C+: The captain still put up some goals (which is why this isn’t even lower) but did little else. His effort level seemed to vary from game to game while his defensive play was simply not up to par. By no means am I suggesting he needs to be removed as captain but as the leader of the team, he needs to set a better example, especially in the effort department.
Stats: 21 GP, 7 goals, 5 assists, 12 points, -14 rating, 10 PIMS, 74 shots
Sven Andrighetto: C+: At times Andrighetto has looked like a good top six player. At other times, he has looked lost out there while most of the time he looks like a player on the fringes. Considering Andrighetto is still a prospect, it’s understandable that he’s inconsistent but it would be nice for him to become a little more noticeable in the final month. With the injuries the team has, Andrighetto has a prime opportunity to make his mark.
Stats: 14 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -3 rating, 2 PIMS, 24 shots
Paul Byron: C: He’s an effective penalty killer (and the PK was surprisingly a bright spot for most of the last six weeks) but in terms of 5-on-5 play, he hasn’t brought a whole lot to the table lately. Byron is a depth player who is miscast in any role greater than that; unfortunately the injuries have forced him into a role where he’s not likely to succeed very often.
Stats: 13 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -2 rating, 0 PIMS, 9 shots
Jacob de la Rose: C-: As they did last year, Montreal recalled de la Rose when he was showing some signs of offensive improvements in the hopes that he’d continue that run in the NHL. Like last season, that hasn’t happened. The young Swede has been a bit more physical at times in this stint with the team but his defensive play has been inconsistent as well. He’ll need to improve on that bit at least down the stretch.
Stats: 9 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, +2 rating, 0 PIMS, 10 shots
Torrey Mitchell: C-: He hasn’t been the same since he came back from his lower body injury in late December. Mitchell has spent a lot of the last couple of months more or less just filling time. He’s adequate most nights but the Habs are paying him more than a typical fourth liner because the expectation is that he should be more than just adequate.
Stats: 21 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -3 rating, 14 PIMS, 17 shots
David Desharnais: D: Despite spending a lot of time in the top six, Desharnais’ performance was seldom that of a top six forward. No one’s counting on him to score a lot of goals but at the very least, he didn’t do a good enough job of setting them up either. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s deployed in the final few weeks once he returns from injury. He probably should be earmarked for a bottom six role which happens to be where he had success earlier on this season.
Stats: 16 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, -8 rating, 6 PIMS, 21 shots
Brian Flynn: D: He has been useful at the faceoff dot (frankly, he hasn’t taken enough draws) and he surprisingly has been decent in shootouts. Unfortunately for Flynn, that’s about all he has brought to the table over the last couple of months. He’ll be back before the end of the season but his spot in the lineup is far from a guarantee given the plan to play the youngsters more.
Stats: 14 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -7 rating, 0 PIMS, 19 shots
N/A: Phillip Danault (only 1 GP), Tomas Fleischmann (traded), Lucas Lessio (only 4 GP), Michael McCarron (only 1 GP), Devante Smith-Pelly (traded), Dale Weise (traded)