While the IceCaps failed to make the playoffs this season, there were some standout offensive performances that provide some cause for optimism. Our grades conclude with a final look at St. John’s forwards.
Players must have played in at least 5/19 games to receive a fourth quarter grade and in at least 20/76 games to receive a final one. Players are sorted by fourth quarter grades.
Charles Hudon: A: What a finish to his season. Hudon was firing on all cylinders towards the end of the year and he was the focal point of St. John’s attack. There’s not a whole lot more they could have asked from him which is exactly the lasting impression a player should want to make for themselves at the end of a season.
4th Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 10 goals, 3 assists, 13 points, even rating, 14 PIMS, 45 shots
Final Grade: A: Hudon followed up a strong rookie season with an even better sophomore one, particularly in the goal scoring department where he was one of the AHL’s best. Considering the Habs struggled putting the puck in the net, having one of the top scorers in the minors is certainly nice to have. He has positioned himself nicely heading into training camp.
Season Stats: 67 GP, 28 goals, 25 assists, 53 points, -3 rating, 79 PIMS, 181 shots
Nikita Scherbak: A-: Scherbak’s offensive skill really started to shine in this last stretch of games. He was moved onto the top line (more or less by default) but was much more comfortable in that role than he was even at the halfway point of the year. That said, he still struggled in his own end frequently and showed that he won’t be ready to start with the Habs next season.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 10 assists, 12 points, -8 rating, 8 PIMS, 24 shots
Final Grade: C+: It was a tough rookie campaign overall for Scherbak. He was a disaster in the defensive zone and injuries certainly didn’t help either. However, he did look a lot more comfortable with the puck on his stick as the year progressed and since his entry level deal doesn’t start until next season, it’s okay for his development curve to be slower.
Season Stats: 48 GP, 7 goals, 16 assists, 23 points, -26 rating, 20 PIMS, 79 shots
Bud Holloway: B+: There’s no denying that Holloway continued to rack up the assists but I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t score anywhere near as often. Given that his two-way game is nothing to write home about and that he was brought in to be the leader of the attack, a bigger finish from him would have gone a long way. That said, he did still lead the team in points in the final quarter and on an offensively-challenged team, that still counts for something.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points, -5 rating, 2 PIMS, 42 shots
Final Grade: B+: Continuing on the above, Holloway was supposed to be the top point getter for the IceCaps this year. He did just that, finishing in the top-10 in league scoring while his point total was the most by anyone on a Montreal AHL affiliate since 2009-10. He did his job.
Season Stats: 70 GP, 19 goals, 42 assists, 61 points, -13 rating, 14 PIMS, 179 shots
Brandon McNally: B+: McNally finished off his first full year with a bang as he was one of St. John’s top goal getters in the last six weeks. A good chunk of his production came when he was (surprisingly) promoted to the top line but that was the first time he really looked like he belonged all season. It was short lived, however, and before long he was back in the bottom six.
4th Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, even rating, 11 PIMS, 16 shots
Final Grade: C+: After looking pretty good in a stint with Hamilton back at the end of 2014-15, this was a fairly disappointing year overall for McNally. He was in and out of the lineup with a very minor role for most of it. They let Nick Sorkin go before this season and he had much more of an impact than McNally did this year. I imagine the same thing will happen here and he’ll be suiting up elsewhere in 2016-17.
Season Stats: 48 GP, 7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points, -2 rating, 33 PIMS, 39 shots
Max Friberg: B: I was somewhat surprised that Friberg didn’t get much of a chance to move up in the lineup as Sylvain Lefebvre opted to keep him on a two-way second unit even with the injuries and recalls to the big club. He did, however, produce more than he had at any other point of the year with St. John’s although it still wasn’t comparable to his time with San Diego. He’s not flashy but he’s the type of player all teams with an eye on winning in the minors can use.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, -2 rating, 8 PIMS, 30 shots
Final Grade: B-: While Friberg was a useful player for the IceCaps, the expectations were that he should be more of a core piece given his success in Anaheim’s system. Had he been more of an impact player, he almost assuredly would have got a look from the Habs. He’ll be in tough to make the NHL roster next year and will likely be bound for the waiver wire again in early October.
Season Stats: 42 GP, 7 goals, 12 assists, 19 points, -2 rating, 12 PIMS, 64 shots
Gabriel Dumont: B: The captain was used in a secondary scoring role down the stretch on a line with Friberg that was also tasked with shutting down the opposition. And, as usual, Dumont was consistently strong in that role while being his usual thorn in the side of opponents. Nothing flashy but it was a solid finish to his season.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points, -4 rating, 16 PIMS, 50 shots
Final Grade: B+: For the fifth straight year, Dumont improved upon his production from the previous season while at the same time being one of their top defensive forwards. It’s disappointing that he didn’t even receive a token recall late in the year as he earned one. If this does wind up being his last year in the organization, he’ll be leaving on a high note.
Season Stats: 71 GP, 19 goals, 30 assists, 49 points, -14 rating, 76 PIMS, 177 shots
Mark MacMillan: B-: While the goals weren’t there, MacMillan picked up quite a few helpers en route to his most productive quarter of the season. Not surprisingly, a lot of this production came as a result of being moved up in the lineup but it was good to see nonetheless that he could hold his own at times in that role.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 0 goals, 7 assists, 7 points, -2 rating, 21 PIMS, 14 shots
Final Grade: C+: As an older rookie (he’s already 24), I was expecting him to have more of an impact right away but he did show some signs of improvement as the season progressed. With only one year left on his entry level deal heading into next season though, he’ll need to take a few more steps forward fairly quickly if he wants to make the big team.
Season Stats: 62 GP, 6 goals, 11 assists, 17 points, -10 rating, 41 PIMS, 54 shots
Jeremy Gregoire: C+: As a result of all the injuries and recalls, Gregoire got to move off the fourth line for some games and he responded with some of his better play on the season when he was moved up in the lineup. When he spent time on the fourth line though, he didn’t make as much of an impact which falls in line with how most of this season went.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points, -1 rating, 28 PIMS, 29 shots
Final Grade: C-: I thought Gregoire was going to be the fast riser this year, the player that starts out in a depth role, moves up throughout the year, and by the end may even be pushing to be recalled. That didn’t happen. He started out as a depth player and pretty much stayed there. That’s a bit disappointing as he’s further away from being NHL ready than I thought he was heading into this season.
Season Stats: 62 GP, 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points, -50 rating, 70 PIMS, 78 shots
Tim Bozon: C: Bozon began to see more ice time down the stretch which resulted in even more game-to-game volatility. There were nights where he was dominant (particularly the final game of the year) and others where he looked right out of sorts; unfortunately there were more of those than the former.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 1 assist, 4 points, -9 rating, 6 PIMS, 29 shots
Final Grade: C-: Given that this was his first full pro year and the circumstances surrounding it, I feel a bit conflicted going this low. However, Bozon’s in a spot now where he has just one year left on his contract. Being a fringe depth player at this stage does not put him in the best situation for next season as he’ll have a ton of ground to make up.
Season Stats: 41 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, -12 rating, 14 PIMS, 64 shots
Cory Ward: C: He held his own most nights and even earned himself a couple of games in a top six role (yes, things were that bleak up front for a bit). I would say that Ward certainly didn’t do enough to earn an entry level deal with the Habs but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was at their rookie and development camps this coming summer.
4th Quarter/Season Stats: 8 GP, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points, -4 rating, 0 PIMS, 6 shots
John Scott: C: Scott was passable when he was dropped back to play defence as he was a few times in the final few weeks. Skill-wise, he certainly didn’t bring much to the lineup other than his pugilistic abilities but he also wasn’t a complete liability night in, night out either.
4th Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -1 rating, 68 PIMS, 16 shots
Final Grade: C-: I give him credit for reporting with a smile and trying to make the most of a bad situation. But Scott took ice time away from younger players, either actual prospects or tryouts playing for a spot next year and it’s not as if he was a key cog in the lineup. The sideshow went on way too long; the Habs should have let him go home long before the final week of the NHL season.
Season Stats: 27 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -3 rating, 85 PIMS, 20 shots
Alexandre Ranger: C-: It was a bit telling that as more forwards were added, Ranger tumbled down the depth chart and out of the lineup while other tryouts were still playing. Like Ward, he didn’t make any sort of case to sign to an entry level contract but I could see Ranger getting an invite to the summer camps.
4th Quarter Stats: 9 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -4 rating, 4 PIMS, 14 shots
Final Grade: N/A: (Only 17 total GP)
Season Stats: 17 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, -5 rating, 6 PIMS, 23 shots
N/A: Jeremiah Addison (4 GP), Daniel Audette (4 GP), Shane Bakker (3 GP, released), Jacob de la Rose (4 GP), Michael McCarron (4 GP), Angelo Miceli (3 GP), Andrew Yogan (released).