The second quarter of the season wasn’t great for the Habs. While several players stepped up, quite a few others failed to live up to expectations. Our report cards for this quarter conclude with a look at the forwards.
Players must have played in 5/20 games to receive a grade.
Daniel Carr – A: I don’t think anyone, including Carr himself, would have expected him to come up and play at a point-per-game stretch for three weeks despite rarely moving off the fourth line. Despite that, he didn’t seem to get much of a leash from Claude Julien who hasn’t hesitated to bench him at the first opportunity. He has been a scorer in the minors, has had stretches of productive play, and this team struggles to score. One would think that this combination would result in him seeing more ice time than he has.
2nd Quarter Stats: 14 GP, 3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points, +4 rating, 0 PIMS, 17 shots
Nicolas Deslauriers – A: His first game didn’t go very well but since then, Deslauriers has proven to be an effective player for the Habs (though not the heart and soul of the team like some in the media continue to perpetuate). His scoring touch has been completely unexpected and while it’s not likely to continue long-term, it should buy him some rope when the well dries up. He has been one of the few true bright spots so far this season.
2nd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points, +9 rating, 4 PIMS, 26 shots
Alex Galchenyuk – A-: Despite not getting a lot of top-line time, Galchenyuk put together a pretty effective second quarter. His game-breaking ability has been there in spurts but he hasn’t been able to get on a real run just yet. Julien is starting to trust him a bit more in recent weeks – there hasn’t been as much variance with his playing time – so it will be interesting to see if he earns more playing time down the stretch.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points, -7 rating, 8 PIMS, 57 shots
Andrew Shaw – B+: Not many players have thrived since last season’s coaching change but Shaw is one of them. He has done quite well on cutting back on the needless penalties, he has moved up and down the lineup without losing much effectiveness, and he has been surprisingly strong at the faceoff dot. Add all that to the fact he was one of their top point getters in this stretch and you wind up with one of Montreal’s more important players.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, -1 rating, 23 PIMS, 35 shots
Brendan Gallagher – B: Gallagher is still scoring at a pretty good clip but he’s becoming a bit of a one-trick pony (though if that one trick is goals, you can only complain so much). Part of that is spending a lot of time alongside Tomas Plekanec which limits his chances but I’d like to see him set up a few more goals and really make it so that he’s not the only scoring threat on his line.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 7 goals, 1 assist, 8 points, -6 rating, 14 PIMS, 63 shots
Paul Byron – B-: I keep waiting for the proverbial bubble to burst when it comes to his scoring and it just doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t say he has been as good as he was last year but he has still been one of Montreal’s more consistent forwards all season long. This experiment with him at centre will be worth monitoring to see if that’s a realistic position for him long-term; if not, it may be time to consider selling high before the deadline.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, -3 rating, 4 PIMS, 28 shots
Phillip Danault – B-: Danault continues to fit in as a somewhat productive centre despite being deployed in a few different roles along the way. However, he lacks the skill to be an ideal top-six threat which hurts him a little bit as he can sometimes look lost alongside the better offensive players. Given their weakness at centre and his versatility to move up and down the lineup, the Habs are certainly going to miss him while he’s out with his concussion.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, +4 rating, 16 PIMS, 35 shots
Charles Hudon – B-: The results may not be there on a regular basis (especially with the lack of goals) but it would be difficult to really criticize Hudon’s play. He’s aggressive, has a quick shot, and has at least been conscientious defensively. Assuming the Habs don’t go on a huge run to get back into the playoff race, it would be a good idea to give the rookie a bit more of a regular role down the stretch.
2nd Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, -2 rating, 2 PIMS, 40 shots
Byron Froese – C: For the most part, Froese has done what could be expected of him. He’s a mediocre centre that can hold his own most nights and that has happened. He had a nice little stretch of points (the blowout win versus Detroit skews this a bit) but that has been offset by a penchant for some untimely penalties. That said, I’m surprised they’ve kept him up this long as realistically, he isn’t part of the future plans.
2nd Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, +6 rating, 10 PIMS, 15 shots
Max Pacioretty – C-: While I think some of the criticism has been a bit over the top (I don’t think he’s dogging it as some have suggested), a lot has been warranted. He has been saying the right things for the most part but actions speak louder than words and two goals from the player being counted on to score the most aren’t going to cut it.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points, -2 rating, 6 PIMS, 61 shots
Tomas Plekanec – C-: Defensively, I think Plekanec has been underrated for the most part…as much as a $6 million player can actually be underrated. He’s still quite an effective checker and his performance at the dot has improved as well. That said, he is a black hole offensively and for someone with as prominent a contract and role as he has, being good in his own end alone isn’t good enough.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points, -1 rating, 10 PIMS, 36 shots
Artturi Lehkonen – C-: Many were hopeful that Lehkonen would revert back to his form from last season after returning from his lower-body injury. That hasn’t happened. He isn’t making glaring mistakes but he has gone long stretches where he hasn’t been particularly noticeable which wasn’t the case very often in his rookie year. He will be one to watch for in the second half to see if he can turn things around.
2nd Quarter Stats: 7 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -2 rating, 0 PIMS, 13 shots
Jonathan Drouin – D+: Yes, he’s relearning to play a harder position but that can’t excuse what has been a brutal stretch for him. He varies from trying to do way too much and not enough with the puck on his stick and he has been guilty of laziness in backchecking several times as well. Those are not position-driven issues either. He’s a much better player than he has shown but if he doesn’t show that in the second half, the heat is probably going to be turned up a lot more than it has been so far.
2nd Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, -9 rating, 8 PIMS, 30 shots
Jacob de la Rose – D+: There have been moments where de la Rose has stood out in a positive way but there have been a lot more where he has practically been invisible. While expectations weren’t going to be high for him, he has still underwhelmed so far. If and when he gets his next chance to play more minutes, he better be ready to take advantage as there may not be many more of them to come.
2nd Quarter Stats: 10 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, +2 rating, 4 PIMS, 6 shots
N/A: Torrey Mitchell (1 GP, then traded), Nikita Scherbak (2 GP),