December was was another frustrating month for Canadiens’ fans, but our readers found some things to be happy about, with stars from throughout the lineup. The club continues to struggle to score, but several bright spots emerged to give the team a boost.
First Star: Alex Galchenyuk
Despite the constant trade rumours and uncertainty that have followed him around, Galchenyuk seems to have settled in and the points have started to come for the talented forward. He is clearly more engaged and his effort level at both ends of the ice has been consistently improving. He may be even more dangerous if he shot more often as his sniping abilities are off the charts.
During a month where the vast majority of the club struggled mightily, he found his stride and may be starting to develop chemistry with linemate Jonathan Drouin. The Habs may be wise to see how a potential partnership between their two young, highly talented forwards plays out before dealing Galchenyuk.
Stats: 12 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 PTS, -4 rating
Second Star: Daniel Carr
Carr was scoring at nearly a point a game pace in the AHL before being called up to the Canadiens and he was able to make an immediate impact with nine points for the month. His arrival instantly turned the fourth line into a threat and he even found his way onto the power play at times, showcasing his nose for the net.
His game reminds many of Brendan Gallagher, with similar forechecking tenacity and goal scoring instincts, allowing him to have an impact on whatever line he ends up on. Though he isn’t that young (26), one has to wonder what he could do with a more prominent role on the team.
Stats: 12 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 PTS, 5 rating
Third Star: Nicolas Deslauriers
After being acquired for Zach Redmond in October, Deslauriers was assigned to Laval and immediately took a leadership role, grabbing the attention of the big club. He’s made it clear that it’s a dream come true play for the Habs and is planning to make it very hard to send him back to the AHL.
So far Deslauriers has done a good job carving out a role, forming a potent fourth line with the aforementioned Carr and Byron Froese, though both he and Froese have been scratched at times lately. While he’s unlikely to maintain his scoring pace, he brings energy and grit to a lineup that lacks it at times and at least helps give the fourth line an identity.
Stats: 12 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 3 PTS, 10 rating
Honourable Mention: Brendan Gallagher
It was a down month for Gallagher but that didn’t stop the voters from recognizing how valuable he is to the team’s forward group. He is far and away the team leader in goals, with 16 heading into the bye week, and is an undisputed leader on the ice. His passion, energy and intensity are a welcome addition to any line he plays on.
Stats: 12 GP, 3 G, 0 A, 3 PTS, -9 rating