The Habs started out the week with a bang with a convincing victory over Anaheim before the offence dried up against two of the best goalies in the league, sending them into the holiday break on a sour note.
Michael McCarron: He hasn’t looked out of place so far and seems to be showing some chemistry with Daniel Carr. His physicality is certainly an asset and he’s getting involved in front of the net as well. I’ll be curious to see if they ease him into a bit more ice time as if they have designs on him being a top six player, he’s not going to develop his all-around skills playing 8-10 minutes a night on the fourth line.
Jeff Petry: He’s one of those players who seems to be at his best when he’s confident and struggles when he’s not. He started off the year strong and then fell into a funk for a bit. Lately, he’s gone back to looking like the confident player as he’s jumping into the play much more often and isn’t hesitating to shoot at all. With Shea Weber scuffling at the offensive end, Petry picked the perfect time to pick up the slack.
Alexander Radulov: He seemed to be lost at times over the last few games which is something we haven’t seen all season. While it’s never good to go through a slump, the timing of this isn’t bad from the standpoint of trying to figure out whether it’s worth trying to extend him early. We’ve seen plenty of good from him this year but GM Marc Bergevin certainly will want to know how he handles playing through a slump as well.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (14)
Assists: Andrei Markov (19)
Points: Max Pacioretty (27)
+/-: Shea Weber (+18)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (58)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (96)
It was an off week for St. John’s so they spent the bulk of the week practicing in Montreal (which certainly came in handy with them needing to bring up Joel Hanley on short notice).
News and Notes:
– Both Mark Barberio and Chris Terry hit the double digit mark in games played this past week which means they will have to go back through waivers to rejoin St. John’s. While I think they’ll try to pass Terry through again at some point, it’s less likely that they will with Barberio. As a result, the IceCaps may be without by far their top blueliner the rest of the way.
– While Charles Hudon was hoping to be ready to play in the first game after the break after suffering an ankle injury, it sounds like he’ll be out of the lineup for a little while yet as it was reported that he could miss up to another month now.
– On Sunday morning, the team recalled winger Mathieu Coderre-Gagnon while signing forward Brandon MacLean and goalie Bryan Pitton to PTO deals. MacLean is fifth in team scoring with ECHL Brampton while Pitton, who got a start with the IceCaps early this season, has struggled mightily, posting a GAA of 5.00 in nine ECHL appearances. There’s no word yet on whose spot they may be taking, be it through injury or otherwise.
Goals: Hudon/Terry (10)
Assists: Chris Terry (16)
Points: Chris Terry (26)
+/-: Markus Eisenschmid (+6)
PIMS: Stefan Matteau (55)
Shots: Sven Andrighetto (60)
December 26: St. John’s vs Toronto
December 28: St. John’s vs Utica
December 30: St. John’s vs Utica
December 31: St. John’s vs Syracuse
The decision to bring Joel Hanley up to cover for Alexei Emelin made sense on the surface given that he has recent NHL experience. However, considering the way Michel Therrien has used him (he has been under 10 minutes for four straight games), it’s plainly evident that he has no confidence in the young defender. With that in mind, it’s time for Marc Bergevin to find another left shooting option that they’re comfortable with bringing up if injuries strike. Philip Samuelsson was supposed to be that guy but he got in Sylvain Lefebvre’s doghouse in the preseason which, as history indicates, pretty much dooms him for the entire year. Their other lefties in the minors, Jonathan Racine and Tom Parisi, aren’t anywhere close to being capable of filling in either.
While a lot of people scoff at straight AHL trades, they could certainly benefit from a deal that brings in another left shooter on the back end so that Hanley isn’t their first option to bring up moving forward. It’s not easy to make a trade right now given the cap constraints league-wide but a swap of minor league players/prospects is something that can and should be done before too long. It may not seem like much but it could pay dividends before too long if anyone else gets hurt on Montreal’s back end.