Laval recently passed the one-quarter mark of their season which means it’s time for our first round of report cards. As always, we start with the goalies and defencemen.
Cayden Primeau – A+: While his performance has dipped in recent weeks before his recall, it’s hard to ask much more of a rookie pro than what Primeau provided in the opening stretch of the season. The game-to-game rotation has allowed him to start with a similar workload to what he had in college and while that may be disappointing from a fan standpoint, it’s absolutely the right call from a development perspective.
Stats: 9 GP, 6-2-1 record, 1.87 GAA, .934 SV%, 1 SO
Charlie Lindgren – C+: The good news is that his numbers are a little better than last year. The bad news is that for a fourth year pro, that’s not the bar that he should be wanting to clear, especially if he has eyes on getting to the NHL level as Carey Price’s backup. At this point, he’s not just showcasing himself to the Canadiens but to the rest of the league as well and his consistency is going to need to be better if he wants to make a positive impression.
Stats: 10 GP, 4-4-2 record (fix in SS), 2.74 GAA, .889 SV%, 0 SO
Gustav Olofsson – B+: Considering he missed all but a few periods of last season plus the start of this one, Olofsson’s early showing is certainly impressive. He started in more of a secondary role but injuries resulted in him jumping to the top pairing where he really stood out which earned him a recall to the Habs. That stint didn’t go very well so he’ll need to continue to be a key piece here if he wants another look later this season.
Stats: 17 GP, 0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points, +1 rating, 6 PIMS, 34 shots
Otto Leskinen – B: For the most part, he has acquitted himself pretty well in his first season in North America. He isn’t hesitating to jump into the play offensively and has been decent in getting back when he makes the wrong read. Penalties are a concern (while nearly half of his PIM total below came from a fight, he still has taken quite a few minors) and he is prone to getting outmuscled but all in all, the good certainly outweighs the bad.
Stats: 19 GP, 0 goals, 8 assists, 8 points, even rating, 35 PIMS, 22 shots
David Sklenicka – B-: For someone that played sporadically, Sklenicka actually played pretty well when he was in the lineup. It’s particularly disappointing that Joel Bouchard didn’t find a way to utilize him more frequently and he now finds himself in the KHL as a result.
Stats: 5 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -4 rating, 2 PIMS, 5 shots
Xavier Ouellet – C+: Ouellet has been somewhat of a high event player this season. There’s no denying his impact at the offensive end (even if the point total doesn’t show it) but he has been burned defensively far too often for someone who, when healthy, is their number one defender. Yes, he spent some time on his off-side which has to be taken into consideration but all in all, they need more from him.
Stats: 16 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, -6 rating, 2 PIMS, 53 shots
Noah Juulsen – C+: Considering where he is in terms of his development stage (final year of his ELC), his performance might be viewed as disappointing. However, since he missed so much time last year, it’s not surprising his start was a little sluggish. Unfortunately, the migraines have resurfaced and there’s no word on how long he’ll miss.
Stats: 10 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +3 rating, 2 PIMS, 12 shots
Josh Brook – C: For someone that was for a time viewed as having a legitimate shot to make the Canadiens out of training camp, Brook’s slower start has to be a bit of a disappointment. I like the strides he has made defensively in recent weeks largely being paired with Karl Alzner but the lack of carryover in his offensive game is a little puzzling. It just goes to show that there is a reason that rookie defencemen rarely make an immediate impact.
Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points, -8 rating, 16 PIMS, 19 shots
Maxim Lamarche – C: In the first half of last season, Lamarche was a core player. That changed in the second half as he became more of a depth piece and that has carried over to this season. To be fair, for someone on a minor league deal, that’s fine.
Stats: 10 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -3 rating, 4 PIMS, 11 shots
Karl Alzner – D: I get that he’s helping Brook develop but he should be having a much bigger role than a third pairing defender but that’s where Alzner finds himself most nights. If he wants to have a shot at getting back to the NHL, he needs to make more of an impact.
Stats: 18 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -4 rating, 8 PIMS, 21 shots