Despite a rotating door of players, Laval was able to hold their own in the third quarter of the season. As usual, our grades begin with their goalies and defencemen.
Players must have played in 5/19 games to receive a grade.
Michael McNiven – A-: With the injury to Charlie Lindgren, McNiven got a chance to play a little bit more than he had been early on and he certainly made the most of it as he put up his best stretch of games in quite some time. He has been the better of the two goalies this year so there’s a case to be made that Lindgren’s recall may actually help Laval down the stretch.
3rd Quarter Stats: 8 GP, 5-2-0 record, 2.11 GAA, .925 SV%, 2 SO
Charlie Lindgren – D+: He acknowledged he wasn’t 100% when he came back which makes it worth asking why he came back when he did. Lindgren was sharp early on in the year but had several nights where he just looked lost between the pipes and was getting beaten regularly by bad shots. He had a handful of good outings in there but given where he is in terms of his development, the bad nights can’t outweigh the good, especially as the number one goalie.
3rd Quarter Stats: 11 GP, 3-4-2 record, 3.49 GAA, .857 SV%, 0 SO
N/A: Connor LaCouvee (3 GP)
Xavier Ouellet – B+: Ouellet clearing waivers has been one of the few bright spots for Laval this season from a player personnel perspective. He has played like a legitimate top pairing defender and the offence that has eluded him at the NHL level has come back. Unfortunately, the defensive miscues that have hurt Ouellet in the NHL have also been a factor at some inopportune times.
3rd Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 3 goals, 10 assists, 13 points, -6 rating, 6 PIMS, 49 shots
Cale Fleury – B-: Considering he could still be in junior, the fact that he’s in a top-four role is promising. However, he has had more than his fair share of defensive issues that have been costly. That isn’t to say that he’s not developing well – he is – but he is further away from being NHL ready than I suspect a lot of people think.
3rd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, -7 rating, 6 PIMS, 33 shots
Maxim Lamarche – C+: His role has been reduced in recent weeks but Lamarche is still a regular on the third pairing and holding his own. For someone on a minor league deal, there’s nothing wrong with that.
3rd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, +2 rating, 6 PIMS, 13 shots
Brett Lernout – C: On the one hand, Lernout has been a dependable stay-at-home defenceman. On the other hand, it’s his third season and the bar should be considerably higher by now. Playing like that down the stretch is going to make it an interesting decision as to whether or not to qualify him; he’s a useful player but clearly, the upside is extremely limited.
3rd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +6 rating, 14 PIMS, 13 shots
David Sklenicka – C: The defensive miscues haven’t been as frequent which is a positive sign and he and Lamarche have emerged as a decent pairing. That said, he’s playing much safer overall to the point where he’s not jumping into the rush anywhere near as often as he has in the past. That’s a little concerning as it’s that aggressiveness that helped make him worthy of getting an NHL contract. Sklenicka will need to find the balance between being too aggressive and too safe to take that next step forward in his development.
3rd Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +3 rating, 14 PIMS, 15 shots
Karl Alzner – C-: I get that his motivation is basically next to non-existent but Alzner’s impact has been rather limited a lot of times. That’s not helping his chances of finding someone interested in giving him another NHL look. He’s showcasing himself for the rest of the league right now and this level of play isn’t going to impress anyone. Alzner sees himself as an NHL player so merely being decent in the minors isn’t anywhere near good enough.
3rd Quarter Stats: 9 GP, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points, +5 rating, 8 PIMS, 10 shots
N/A: Ryan Culkin (3 GP), Michal Moravcik (1 GP and released), Adam Plant (3 GP and then traded) David Schlemko (7 GP and then traded)