While the month of October wasn’t a particularly good one for the Habs, the same can’t be said for several of their prospects in Laval and elsewhere. Here are our 3 Stars for the month.
1st Star: Daniel Carr – The beginning of the month was a rough one. Not only did he clear waivers after going unclaimed but his father also died which caused him to miss the start of the year. He returned with a hat trick in his first game and has been dominant since then despite not moving to the front line until later in the month. Carr is making a strong case to be recalled in the very near future if he can keep this up.
Stats: 8 GP, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 33 shots
2nd Star: Nikita Scherbak – He wasn’t with the Rocket for long but he more than earned his call-up. The hope heading into this season was that he would become more of a dominant player in the offensive end. For at least six games (before being recalled), he did exactly that. Unfortunately, Scherbak’s knee injury puts a damper on what was a very strong start to his season.
Stats: 6 GP, 1 goal, 8 assists, 9 points, +3 rating, 4 PIMS, 15 shots
3rd Star: Chris Terry – After finishing second in AHL scoring last season, Terry basically picked up right where he left off. With his linemates from the start of the season (Scherbak and Michael McCarron) now in Montreal, the team will be asking him to carry a line for the foreseeable future. Considering what happened last year, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to do just that (when he returns from his lower-body injury).
Stats: 10 GP, 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points, -6 rating, 6 PIMS, 35 shots
Honourable Mention: Matt Taormina – The veteran has given Laval a true offensive threat from the back end, something the Habs haven’t had on their farm team in a long time. He has a penchant for jumping in on the rush and as the forwards get accustomed to that, this could be a weapon as the season progresses. However, it would be nice if he could play even a passable game in his own end as he has really struggled in the defensive zone.
Stats: 10 GP, 1 goal, 10 assists, 11 points, -8 rating, 6 PIMS, 17 shots
1st Star: F Jake Evans (Notre Dame, NCAA) – I was a bit surprised that he chose to go back for his senior season but right now, it looks like a really good call as he leads all college players in scoring. Evans also continues to be adept at the faceoff dot and play in all situations. At this point, there has to be at least a bit of concern that he could choose to go the route that Jimmy Vesey, Will Butcher, and others have in August but on the optimistic side, he continues to be a steal of a seventh-rounder.
Stats: 8 GP, 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points, +5 rating, 2 PIMS, 23 shots
2nd Star: F Ryan Poehling (St. Cloud, NCAA) – After a quiet freshman season in terms of production, there were some concerns about his offensive upside. We’re only a month into the season but Poehling appears to be well on his way to calming some of those doubts as he has settled in nicely as their top-line centre. So far, so good for Montreal’s first rounder back in June.
Stats: 5 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, +5 rating, 2 PIMS, 11 shots
3rd Star: F Michael Pezzetta (Sudbury, OHL) – Count me among the many who are wondering what has happened to him. Pezzetta had a terrible post-draft season where his suspension-to-goal ratio was poor, not something you expect to see from an NHL-drafted prospect. That has changed this season as he has been surprisingly productive while continuing to be strong at the faceoff dot. If he can continue this throughout the season, he could earn his entry-level deal, something that seemed like a longshot just a couple of months ago.
Stats: 12 GP, 5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points, -1 rating, 21 PIMS, 35 shots, 112/194 faceoffs (57.7%)
Honourable Mention: F Lukas Vejdemo (Djurgarden, SHL) – The Swedish centre did not have a good year in 2016-17 and was mired in a bottom-six role throughout. That has changed this season as he’s now a top-sixer and his offensive game has taken off as well as he already has surpassed his totals from last season. After being a bit of an afterthought on the prospect depth chart, Vejdemo is going to be worth watching to see if this can continue.
Stats: 9 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, +4 rating, 0 PIMS, 20 shots, 1 hit, 16:39 ATOI