The final quarter of the season for Laval had some strong moments but overall, it wasn’t a great stretch. Despite that, a few members of the Rocket had strong finishes. Our grades for the final segment begin with the goalies and defencemen.
Connor LaCouvee – C+: He started to fade down the stretch but at the very least, LaCouvee kept the team in most games which is still pretty good for someone that started out as an ECHL goalie. The addition of Cayden Primeau for next year is a good sign that he won’t get an ELC from the Habs but if he’s willing to take another minor league deal, he’d be worth bringing back.
4th Quarter Stats: 8 GP, 3-4-0 record, 2.89 GAA, .892 SV%, 0 SO
Michael McNiven – C-: With Charlie Lindgren up as the third-stringer with Montreal, this was McNiven’s chance to stake his claim to the number one spot. Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen as he was largely mediocre. He’ll be counted on next year to play a similar role as Primeau won’t be given number one minutes right away but if he doesn’t take advantage of that early playing time, his stock will drop quickly.
4th Quarter Stats: 9 GP, 2-6-1 record, 2.81 GAA, .879 SV%, 0 SO
N/A: Charlie Lindgren (2 GP)
Cale Fleury – A-: He became a fixture on the top pairing down the stretch and his ice time jumped as a result. Fleury had a bit more success offensively as well to bring his full-season numbers to a pretty nice total for one of the younger defenders in the league. Having said that, he’s still a long way away from being ready for the NHL but his rookie season is still certainly worth being excited about.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 4-5-9, -5, 4 PIMS, 26 shots
Xavier Ouellet – B: It was more of the same from Ouellet. He was the one defender who could really jump into the play with some success on a somewhat consistent basis but his gaffes in his own end hurt his overall value. He stated after the season that he believes that he’s an NHL player but after being waived (and unclaimed) out of Detroit and Montreal and his showing in Laval, he’s looking more and more like a minor league call-up than a potential NHL regular.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 4-5-9, -3, 10 PIMS, 57 shots
Josh Brook – B: While the early exit in Moose Jaw was disappointing for Brook, his stint in Laval will certainly prove to be worthwhile. He made some strides from his first game to his seventh and logged a lot of playing time for a junior-aged player. There wasn’t anything flashy but it was a pretty solid professional debut.
4th Quarter Stats: 7 GP, 0-1-1, -2, 10 PIMS, 8 shots
Brett Lernout – C: Relative to the rest of the season, this was a ‘breakout’ stint for Lernout offensively. In reality, he didn’t really move the needle much – he was there but didn’t make a huge impact. For a fourth-year player, that’s not good.
4th Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 2-2-4, -7, 2 PIMS, 26 shots
David Sklenicka – C: His play in his own continued to improve which is a positive. However, he basically didn’t worry about the other side of the ice which, for someone who was known for his offensive aggression, is a little concerning. It’s also concerning that when Brook arrived, his playing time took a sharp nosedive.
4th Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 1-1-2, -4, 13 PIMS, 27 shots
Maxim Lamarche – C-: After being an impact player for a while, Lamarche really faded down the stretch. To be fair, the role he played was more of the one that was expected of him at the start of the season but this grade reflects that he had shown himself to be capable of more earlier on. He’s signed for another year and is a decent depth option to have.
4th Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 0-2-2, -7, 10 PIMS, 9 shots
Karl Alzner – D-: Yes, it’s understandable that he went through the motions given the disappointment the beginning of this season brought. Not many thought he’d be a regular in Laval this early in his contract. However, Alzner didn’t do himself any favours when it came to convincing another NHL team that he’d be worthy of a chance.
4th Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 0-1-1, -7, 0 PIMS, 9 shots
N/A: Ryan Culkin (4 GP)