Although March wasn’t a great month in terms of wins and losses for their respective teams, there were several prospects both in the AHL and elsewhere that were able to put forth some strong performances. Here are our 3 Stars.
St. John’s IceCaps
1st Star: Charles Hudon – March saw Hudon ramp up his goal scoring prowess as he was among the league leaders in lighting the lamp for the month and now is one of the top goal getters in the AHL. Unfortunately that hasn’t resulted in much of a look with the big club (he did get one game with the Habs last month) and now he’s expected to miss the rest of the season with an injury. At least he went out on a high note.
Stats: 11 GP, 8 goals, 2 assists, 10 points, -1 rating, 31 shots, 10 PIMS
2nd Star: Bud Holloway – Hudon was scoring the goals and Holloway was often the one setting them up. He and Hudon have been St. John’s most consistent threats throughout the season and were dangerous when paired together last month. Sadly, they were broken up at times as Sylvain Lefebvre opted to split them up to spread out the scoring threats but that didn’t work out too well. Holloway can’t handle a two-way role particularly well; he needs to be a top six player to thrive.
Stats: 13 GP, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points, -1 rating, 26 shots, 2 PIMS
3rd Star: Nikita Scherbak – The other member of the top line for most of the month (it was really only the one line that was a threat most nights), Scherbak had his best month of the season. Offensively, he kept up with the play and looked a lot more confident with the puck on his stick. On the down side, he struggled mightily at the faceoff dot when they used him at centre while his defensive effort remains spotty. But still, progress is progress.
Stats: 13 GP, 1 goal, 9 assists, 10 points, -4 rating, 19 shots, 4 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Max Friberg – Friberg was brought in from Anaheim to be a steady two-way player that could chip in offensively. While he has been solid in his own end, his production has slowed considerably since being acquired. That took a turn in the right direction in March though as he had his best month of the season. He’s someone I’d have liked to get a look with Montreal at some point as Friberg is among the many young players who could be worthy of an end-of-roster spot next season.
Stats: 13 GP, 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points, +3 rating, 22 shots, 6 PIMS
1st Star: Artturi Lehkonen (Frolunda, SHL) – In terms of games played, March was pretty light for Lehkonen as he got into all of seven games. His performance in Round 1 of the playoffs lands him atop the list. He averaged a goal per game in the series and was one of Frolunda’s top threats throughout. He is really taking that next step forward as a prospect which is great to see.
Stats: Reg. Season: 2 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, even rating, 0 PIMS
Postseason: 5 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, +5 rating, 2 PIMS
2nd Star: Matt Bradley (Medicine Hat, WHL) – Although the Tigers failed to make the playoffs, it wasn’t because of Bradley who saved his best effort for last as he became a consistent contributor down the stretch. Unfortunately, he missed the tiebreaker game due to injury, one that presumably is significant enough to prevent him from joining St. John’s down the stretch.
Stats: 8 GP, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, +5 rating, 0 PIMS
3rd Star: Daniel Audette (Sherbrooke, QMJHL) – As expected, his season came to a quick end as the Phoenix (the 15th seed) were quickly dispatched in the first round. Audette did his part to try to keep them alive as he picked up his play over the last few weeks of the year. He’ll get a chance to finish out the year with the IceCaps which is where he will likely suit up next season.
Stats: Reg. Season: 8 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, -1 rating, 29 shots, 6 PIMS
Postseason: 4 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, -4 rating, 20 shots, 2 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Jeremiah Addison (Ottawa, OHL) – Addison’s play over the last month or so of the regular season was strong. He seemed to successfully adapt to being a top line junior player. That carried over to the playoffs…for one game at least. After Game 1, he missed the second game with an injury and was quiet the rest of the way. Like Audette, he’ll join the IceCaps for their final couple of weeks. As he is eligible to play there next season but doesn’t yet have a contract, Addison has something to play for.
Stats: Reg. Season: 7 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, +1 rating, 15 shots, 10 PIMS
Postseason: 3 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, +1 rating, 9 shots, 8 PIMS