October was a quality month for the Habs and the same can be said for several of their prospects which are highlighted in our three stars.
1st Star: Kenny Agostino – He was brought in to be Chris Terry’s replacement and be the go-to threat on the top line. He did exactly that and was Laval’s most dangerous player throughout the month. Clearly, being one of the final cuts back in training camp didn’t bother him too much and he has earned himself a call-up with Paul Byron being transferred to IR.
Stats: 10 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, -3 rating, 4 PIMS, 36 shots
2nd Star: Brett Kulak – I have to admit that I miss Matt Taormina’s skating and offensive abilities. However, Kulak’s all-around game is leaps and bounds better and he gives the Rocket a legitimate number one defenceman. He has clearly solidified himself as the first player to be recalled when injuries strike in Montreal.
Stats: 10 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, even rating, 2 PIMS, 31 shots
3rd Star: Alex Belzile – Of all the veteran players that were brought in over the offseason, expectations were fairly low for Belzile. He was supposed to be someone that moved up and down and perhaps even sit the odd game. Instead, he has spent considerable time on the front line and has been one of Laval’s more dangerous players.
Stats: 10 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, even rating, 10 PIMS, 31 shots
Honourable Mention: Cale Fleury – I was tempted to go with Jake Evans here but I’m giving the nod to Fleury given that he had to first earn a spot on the roster, unlike Evans whose role was secure heading into training camp. Fleury has quickly earned more and more ice time and has been surprisingly productive offensively. For one of the younger players in the league, he’s off to a nice start.
Stats: 7 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, even rating, 2 PIMS, 6 shots
1st Star: Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound, OHL) – I have a feeling he’s going to be at the top of this list on a regular basis this season. He has been dominant since getting sent back to junior where he has proven that he’s too good for that level. Suzuki spent most of the month at centre although his role in the pros could very well wind up being on the wing.
Stats: 11 GP, 7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points, +4 rating, 4 PIMS, 59 shots, 51.2% faceoffs
2nd Star: Josh Brook (Moose Jaw, WHL) – Expectations are higher than they ever been for Brook and he has stepped up his game so far aside from picking up a one-game suspension early on. He’s logging huge minutes on the back end and even got to spend a bit of time up front (where he scored). A big showing these next few weeks will really help his chances of making the World Junior team.
Stats: 7 GP, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, +3 rating, 19 PIMS, 15 shots
3rd Star: Joel Teasdale (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) – With most of the supporting cast from last season gone, Teasdale is being asked to shoulder a lot more of the workload offensively. For the most part, he has taken to the top role well and is making Montreal’s decision to sign him in training camp a wise one. While he was at Canada’s WJC summer camp, he has to be considered as somewhat of a long-shot for the roster at this time.
Stats: 12 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, +5 rating, 7 PIMS, 36 shots, 43.5% faceoffs
Honourable Mention: Cayden Primeau (Northeastern, NCAA) – After a freshman season that no one saw coming, one of the questions heading into the year was whether this was a fluke or if he’d be able to pick up where he left off. The latter appears to be the case as he has logged every minute for the Huskies so far. An appearance at the World Juniors for the US appears to be quite likely barring a sudden decline over the next month.
Stats: 6 GP, 4-2-0 record, 2.00 GAA, .923 SV%, 1 SO