After a solid start to the season, Laval has started to quickly tumble down the standings. As a result, there aren’t many high marks as we start our second quarter report cards, beginning with the goaltenders and defencemen.
Players must have played in at least 5/19 games to receive a grade.
Charlie Lindgren – C+: With the offence largely drying up, Lindgren hasn’t had a lot of support at times. However, he also hasn’t been playing near the level he did last year, or even as well as he did with the Habs earlier this season. They need him to steal some games to keep them in the playoff hunt and that hasn’t happened too often.
2nd Quarter Stats: 13 GP, 3-6-4 record, 2.75 GAA, .896 SV%, 0 SO
Michael McNiven – C: McNiven managed to wrestle away the backup job from Zach Fucale although that’s a pretty low bar considering the year the latter is having. However, McNiven has been wildly inconsistent so far – he has had games where he is nearly unbeatable and others where he has struggled mightily. He’s next in line to be the starter once Lindgren is a full-time NHL player so he needs to iron out the inconsistency quickly.
2nd Quarter Stats: 6 GP, 3-3-0 record, 2.87 GAA, .883 SV%, 0 SO
Noah Juulsen – B: Juulsen has been eased into playing time rather slowly and while I’m critical of some of the decisions they’ve made with other players, I’m okay with this one. It’s his rookie season and he didn’t get a full training camp to work with so slow and steady makes some sense. He has settled in nicely on the second pairing and considering he is arguably their best defensive defender already, it shouldn’t be long before he makes a case for more playing time.
2nd Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +2 rating, 4 PIMS, 20 shots
Matt Taormina – B-: On the one hand, Taormina was brought in to be a big-time point producer and considering he leads the league in points by a defender, he has done his job. On the other hand, he is a major liability in the defensive zone and considering he’s on the top pairing, that has resulted in some tough moments for the Rocket. A more stable playing partner would go a long way but that would require developing prospects, something they don’t seem to want to do.
2nd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 0 goals, 10 assists, 10 points, -9 rating, 8 PIMS, 35 shots
Brett Lernout – B-: Shockingly, Lernout’s role and ice time have dropped since the Habs sent him back down. Imagine, a prospect losing ice time in the minors because he got called up to the NHL. He is bringing Laval some stability to their third pairing but he is capable of playing a larger role. However, that would require developing him in a non-checking role, something management apparently is averse to.
2nd Quarter Stats: 14 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, +1 rating, 4 PIMS, 19 shots
Tom Parisi – C+: Parisi has done well enough to play more than he did last year but that’s not hard to do. He has locked himself into a guaranteed top-four spot with power play time despite not really bringing much in the way of offensive upside to the table. He’s one of their steadier defenders which has earned him the trust of the coaching staff but he will still need to do more if he wants to earn another contract in the summer.
2nd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, -3 rating, 12 PIMS, 42 shots
Stefan Leblanc – C+: Leblanc didn’t have as good of a second quarter as he did in the first but he has still managed to hold down a regular spot in the lineup which, for an undrafted rookie, is still pretty good. He isn’t flashy but he makes the smart plays more often than not which stands out when compared to some of their veterans who don’t do that.
2nd Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -1 rating, 2 PIMS, 16 shots
Eric Gelinas – C-: For a player who was brought in primarily to provide offence, he didn’t do much of that in the second quarter (he’s off to a better start to the second half though). His shot is a real weapon but it’s wild on a good day while his defensive zone play leaves a lot to be desired. For someone who thought he had a good chance to make the Canadiens, he needs a lot of improvement to get remotely close to being at that level.
2nd Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points, +3 rating, 12 PIMS, 41 shots
Simon Bourque – D+: Early in the season, Bourque was completely overwhelmed when he was in the lineup and that wasn’t the case as much when he got to play. By no means is he really progressing much and his offensive game that was prominent in junior is nowhere to be seen but this is a small step. We’ll see how many times he gets to play in the next quarter as Montreal continues with their curious notion that keeping young prospects in the press box is the best form of development. (Just send him to Brampton already where he can play a lot of minutes…)
2nd Quarter Stats: 9 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, +2 rating, 6 PIMS, 10 shots
N/A: David Schlemko (2 GP)