The month of January was a mixed bag for Montreal’s prospects. In St. John’s, many struggled with the team missing so many top guys but at the junior ranks, several youngsters had very strong performances. Here are our 3 Stars.
St. John’s IceCaps
1st Star: Yann Danis – With Charlie Lindgren hitting the rookie wall in a big way, they needed Danis to step up his game and for the most part, he did that last month. Assuming Lindgren continues to struggle, the IceCaps are probably going to have to continue to lean on him more as they try to hang on to a playoff spot.
Stats: 6 GP, 2-2-1 record, 2.34 GAA, .926 SV%
2nd Star: Chris Terry – For the second straight month, he missed half the games and still led the team in scoring. I don’t think much more needs to be said than that, especially considering how bad their attack was at times.
Stats: 6 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 15 shots
3rd Star: Bobby Farnham – I haven’t exactly been a big fan of his acquisition but I’ll give him some credit here. With all the players that were missing, he saw regular time in a top six role (take a moment to process that). Surprisingly, he acquitted himself quite well and as a result, is seeing a bit more ice even with most of the team now intact.
Stats: 8 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, +1 rating, 29 PIMS, 12 shots
Honourable Mention: Michael McCarron – Some players didn’t respond well after being demoted (such as Nikita Scherbak) but McCarron isn’t one of those. While he isn’t lighting it up since returning, he has gone back to being one of their better offensive threats while seeing a lot of time in a defensive role. Normally that’s not enough to earn a spot in this article but with so many players struggling, it’s good enough for this month.
Stats: 6 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, +1 rating, 20 PIMS, 16 shots
1st Star: Will Bitten (Hamilton, OHL) – After a slow start with the Bulldogs, many were hoping for a strong second half from Montreal’s third round pick last June. He has done that so far and is finally demonstrating some consistency offensively after being a streaky player early on. The only negative was his faceoff play as a sub-40% rate at the junior level doesn’t bode well for his hopes of being a centre in the pros.
Stats: 11 GP, 7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points, +5 rating, 4 PIMS, 20 shots, 61/157 faceoffs (38.8%)
2nd Star: Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor, OHL) – He didn’t let a so-so performance at the World Juniors affect his play with the Spitfires as he stepped right back in to his top role and went right back to producing at a point-per-game clip. The challenge for him moving forward will be to become more selective in terms of his rushes as that’s something the Habs will want him to be with them. That’s not always the easiest to do at the junior level though.
Stats: 12 GP, 3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points, +6 rating, 19 PIMS, 41 shots
3rd Star: Michael McNiven (Owen Sound, OHL) – The final numbers aren’t the greatest after a couple of rough games to end the month but for most of January, he was virtually unbeatable and played a key role in the Attack going on a lengthy winning streak. He responded about as well as possible after getting cut from Team Canada for the World Juniors, especially when you factor in his last few games from December.
Stats: 10 GP, 9-0-1 record, 2.41 GAA, .902 SV%
Honourable Mention: Matt Bradley (Medicine Hat, WHL) – Unlike the IceCaps, there were other strong options for this spot (in particular, Jake Evans and Hayden Hawkey) but Bradley gets the spot in large part due to his consistent production. He finished up the month on a ten game point streak (one that carried over to February) and has finally become a legitimate top six threat at the junior level. I’m not sure it’s enough to land a contract with the Habs but he’s helping his case with each passing month.
Stats: 12 GP, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, +5 rating, 18 PIMS