The IceCaps didn’t go down easily but they did drop the final two games of their first round series against Syracuse to end their postseason in a hurry. Things are a bit better for Zach Fucale and company at the ECHL level though after splitting the first two matchups of their second round series versus Manchester.
Charlie Lindgren: It’s hard to really glean much from a four game series but his performance against Syracuse was certainly encouraging. For the IceCaps to have a shot, he was going to need to play at a high level and he did just that. He’s positioning himself nicely to take a real run at an NHL spot for 2018-19; with Al Montoya on a two year extension starting next season, Lindgren isn’t really going to have a realistic shot at cracking Montreal’s roster.
Stefan Matteau: A couple of months ago, it looked like it was a sure bet that Matteau would go unqualified this summer. However, his play down the stretch and in the playoffs might be enough to give him one last look, albeit on a two-way deal this time around. From the standpoint of being a former first round pick, it’s safe to say that he’s a bust at this point but he could still be a useful middle six forward on a Laval squad that’s likely to look a whole lot different next season.
Chris Terry: Given the regular season he had where he was one of the top scorers in the league, it’s hard not to call his postseason a disappointment. He had his chances but aside from a goal in the opener, was unable to bury them. St. John’s attack was basically one line – his. It’s not fair to pin it all on him but if he could have produced like he did during the season, they may still be playing considering the way the series went.
– Lines from the last game:
Hudon – Terry – Scherbak
Matteau – de la Rose – McCarron
Farnham – Audette – Friberg
Veilleux – Petti – Camara
Redmond – Lernout
Hanley – Juulsen
Brouillette – Didier
April 26: Syracuse 3, St. John’s 2
April 28: Syracuse 2, St. John’s 1 (OT)
|20||Jacob de la Rose||2||0||1||-1||2||0|
Goals: Stefan Matteau (3)
Assists: Friberg/Hudon (3)
Points: Hudon/Matteau (4)
+/-: Julien Brouillette (+1)
PIMS: de la Rose/McCarron (6)
Shots: Matteau/Terry (16)
Montreal’s ECHL affiliate in Brampton was able to do what the Habs and IceCaps couldn’t by actually getting out of the first round. They currently are tied at one game apiece in the second round against Manchester with the next three games being on the road. Here’s a look at how Montreal’s prospects are faring so far:
The Habs/IceCaps won’t be able to send anyone down from St. John’s to finish out the season, aside from Fucale who was returned after serving as the backup on Friday. The ECHL required all playoff-bound teams to announce their 23-player postseason roster and no other IceCaps were on there. They are still able to add players on ATO deals but they can only play in emergency conditions.
Remaining Round 2 Schedule:
May 1: Brampton vs Manchester
May 2: Brampton vs Manchester
May 3: Brampton vs Manchester
May 5: Manchester vs Brampton
May 7: Manchester vs Brampton
Of all the people to score the winning goal to knock St. John’s out of the playoffs, it had to be Gabriel Dumont. Quite honestly, it couldn’t be more fitting. Why? If it wasn’t for Marc Bergevin’s baffling lack of interest in icing a competitive team, Dumont probably wouldn’t have been with Syracuse to begin with. The team made no effort to re-sign him in large part to their stated desire to give a youngster that spot. (They then turned around and signed Bobby Farnham and while Farnham actually was a serviceable player, they’d have been way better off with Dumont.)
It’s one thing to fluke their way into a playoff spot and that’s exactly what they did, taking advantage of a woefully weak division and a rule change to sneak into a spot on the last day of the season. It’s great that they got to play for another couple of weeks but wouldn’t it be something if they could actually try to do better than that? It’s not very hard if they decide to bring in more than just one high quality veteran (Chris Terry’s a nice start for next year but it can’t end with him).
With the team moving to Laval, perhaps now Bergevin and management will decide to invest a bit more in the development of their prospects by trying to give them a winning environment to work with for once. (A change behind the bench could also potentially help accomplish this…just saying…) Yes, it may result in a little less ice time for youngsters at times during the year until injuries and recalls inevitably strike but if they go a couple of rounds deep in the playoffs, that will make up for the lost ice time and then some. The current development method isn’t working as well as anyone wants to see which means a change is necessary. This is a pretty easy one to implement and is one that could make a significant difference.