The midway point of the season has recently passed so it’s time for our next set of grades over the second quarter. First up, the focus will be on the goalies and defencemen.
Players must have played in 5/21 games to receive a grade.
Carey Price – Grade: D
2nd Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 6-9-1 Record, 3.29 GAA, 0.889 SV%
Grade Comments: Price had a hugely disappointing second quarter, especially compared to his first quarter. The team had a six game winless streak in this stretch (as part of an eight game winless streak carrying over from the first quarter), rebounded a little with a few wins, then finished the quarter losing four games in a row. For some inexplicable reason, Carey had a similarly bad month during the 2018-19 season in the month of November, which impacted the team’s performance directly. Although he was not the sole reason for their lack of wins, he also did not play well enough to “steal” a game, like he used to do a few seasons ago. The team did make a few adjustments with their approach to their game, but it has not been enough to help keep the team in contention for a playoff position. Statistically, Price has dropped to the bottom section of the league in most categories. Despite Price’s play, he somehow managed to “win” the Molson Cup award for both November and December.
N/A: Keith Kinkaid (2 GP), Charlie Lindgren (1 GP), Cayden Primeau (2 GP)
Shea Weber – Grade: B
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 6 G, 11 A, 17 Points, +1, 6 PIM, 62 Shots
Grade Comments: The captain’s play dipped a little in the quarter, much like the rest of his teammates. His defensive play suffered the most. However, his offensive production was nearly at the same pace as the first quarter which is a promising sign. This is despite his partner being changed from Victor Mete to Ben Chiarot.
Ben Chiarot – Grade: B
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 Points, +3, 17 PIM, 49 Shots
Grade Comments: Chiarot graduated to the first line and has continued to surprise many with his overall game. He has tied his personal pro record for goals scored and assuming he stays healthy he will almost certainly break his personal records for goals, assists, and points by the end of the season. His graduation to the top pairing with Weber was seamless and his absence from the second pairing may partly explain Petry’s nosedive this quarter.
Victor Mete – Grade: C
2nd Quarter Stats: 10 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Points, -3, 4 PIM, 12 Shots
Grade Comments: Victor suffered a lower-body injury in November and managed to play only half of the second quarter. He continues to be a strong skating defender, who is very smart defensively. He occasionally gets overmatched against larger veteran forwards, particularly when he is on the top pairing. I believe he plays better when he is in the middle or lower pairing.
Cale Fleury – Grade: C
2nd Quarter Stats: 19 Games, 0 Points, -1, 2 PIM, 18 Shots
Grade Comments: Cale continued to be a pleasant surprise as a rookie during this quarter. He shows good timing on when to be physical, and when he does he often surprises his opponent with a big takeout, often to the hometown fans cheering. For a newcomer, he keeps his play safe and makes a minimum of mistakes, much to the pleasure of the coaching staff. He was a healthy scratch only once during this segment of games.
Mike Reilly – Grade: C
2nd Quarter Stats: 6 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Points, +1, 4 PIM, 12 Shots
Grade Comments: Reilly remained more of a press box defenceman for the Habs instead of playing regularly. He improved somewhat when he was in the lineup. The team eventually decided to part ways with him by trading him to Ottawa for injured minor league forward Andrew Sturtz and a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft.
Jeff Petry – Grade: C-
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 Points, -11, 12 PIM, 41 Shots
Grade Comments: Petry’s defensive game really went into the garbage bin during this quarter. Strangely enough, much like Weber, his offensive output was nearly the same as the first quarter. Due to other injuries, his partner was juggled around and perhaps the stability of that role affected Petry adversely. He remains the team leader in hits among all Habs, so he’s shown he can play physical without being assigned too many penalties.
Otto Leskinen – Grade: C-
2nd Quarter Stats: 5 Games, 0 Points, +0, 0 PIM, 2 Shots
Grade Comments: Although his statistics are underwhelming, Leskinen played relatively well on the third pairing when called up in early December. This was his first taste of pro hockey in North America at the age of 22. He is a good skater and tries to move the puck when it’s warranted. The speed of the game did not appear to overwhelm him and he kept his game simple while adjusting to the NHL. In one game a rolling puck sent toward him at the point jumped over his stick which generated a breakaway attempt and a goal by the opposition. Leskinen was deemed the goat of the game by some fans but I felt it was a fluke unfortunate play. The outcome did not appear to affect him the rest of the game, which is promising.
Brett Kulak – Grade: C-
2nd Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Point, -5, 2 PIM, 30 Shots
Grade Comments: Kulak was a third pairing fixture for the most part of the second quarter. Like most other blueliners, he struggled greatly during this period and was a healthy scratch for a few games when he produced noticeable gaffes that lead to goals against. With the arrival of veteran Marco Scandella, Kulak will likely see less ice time for the rest of the season, barring other injuries.
N/A: Gustav Olofsson (3 GP)