The third quarter of the season was a tough one for Laval but a lot of the struggles stemmed from a lack of offence. As a result, some of the grades for their goalies and defencemen are relatively high.
Players must have played in 5/19 games to receive a grade.
Cayden Primeau – B: Primeau was all over the map in this stretch of games. There were some contests where he was nearly unbeatable and others where he looked overmatched. That’s not entirely unexpected nor is it necessarily even a bad thing as these things need to happen from a development perspective. They will need more consistently good performances down the stretch…if there is a final leg to the regular season.
Stats: 13 GP, 5-5-2 record, 2.30 GAA, .900 SV%, 1 SO
Keith Kinkaid – D-: I could very easily justify an ‘F’ grade here considering the relative expectations. Here’s a player on an NHL contract that was, quite frankly, brutal. However, I’ve eased the grade slightly as the defence in front of him some nights was brutal; I don’t think he was quite as terrible as the numbers suggest.
Normally, I don’t do grades for players that aren’t around anymore but Kinkaid technically is still part of the organization. Montreal holds his NHL rights and technically, he can be recalled even if it is from Charlotte.
Stats: 7 GP, 0-5-2 record, 3.81 GAA, .838 SV%, 0 SO
N/A: Michael McNiven (2 GP)
Gustav Olofsson – A-: No, the offensive numbers weren’t anything to get excited about but Olofsson has become an increasingly important part of Laval’s top end. He’s a fixture on the top pairing most nights and has been a stable defender with his partner (usually Xavier Ouellet) being the one to jump into the play. While his NHL upside is minimal, he might be worth keeping around for another year as a veteran piece.
Stats: 20 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -4 rating, 4 PIMS, 39 shots
Xavier Ouellet – B: His offensive numbers are largely skewed since all but one of the points he got in this stretch came over the final two games but those were two very good games. Ouellet has been a key cog for Laval this season and while I’m sure he’s happy being up with Montreal, it’d be a lot better for the Rocket if they sent him back down instead if there are still going to be any games played.
Stats: 9 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, -3 rating, 2 PIMS, 31 shots
Josh Brook – B: The numbers don’t show it but Brook did show some improvement over this segment. He was still largely shielded on the third pairing but did move up a bit at times and held his own. Overall, his season has been a bit disappointing but this is at least a small step in the right direction.
Stats: 19 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, -5 rating, 17 PIMS, 31 shots
Karl Alzner – B: Relative to his contract, of course he’s not living up to expectations. But Alzner has done a good job all year of helping Brook along and that continued here. His recall may have come by default given the injuries at the time but he was playing well enough to be considered even if others were healthy.
Stats: 17 GP, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, -1 rating, 16 PIMS, 19 shots
Christian Folin – B-: Folin was alright in his stint before being recalled. He was a bit shaky early but considering how little he had played with the Habs, that was to be expected. He got better with each game which helped get him brought back before he had an opportunity to make any real sort of impact with the Rocket.
Stats: 7 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 12 shots
Cale Fleury – C+: The first few games after he was sent down by the Habs weren’t pretty. He went onto the top pairing and showed that he can’t handle that type of workload. Fleury then went to the third pairing – his role from last season – and did better but dropping from NHL minutes to the third pairing in the AHL isn’t great either. Eventually, he found his footing during some time on the second pair although he’s now injured. Good intentions, but a not so good outcome (kind of like the other Hab that was sent down around the same time).
Stats: 14 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, -5 rating, 4 PIMS, 24 shots
Otto Leskinen – C: Not surprisingly, there were some signs of fatigue from Leskinen who struggled more in the defensive zone than he had before then when some improvements were made. Not having a steady partner certainly didn’t help but this was still a bit of a setback nonetheless. He’s capable of doing more and will be an important player down the stretch with Ouellet and Alzner up in Montreal.
Stats: 17 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, -7 rating, 10 PIMS, 16 shots
Maxim Lamarche – C: Injuries limited his availability and when Lamarche was in the lineup, he wasn’t asked to do much. He’s not the impact player he was in the first half of last season but he’s still serviceable which is all they need from him.
Stats: 8 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, even rating, 4 PIMS, 9 shots
Evan McEneny – D: While his role was admittedly bigger when he joined the team, McEneny underwhelmed in his more limited ice time. For someone that was a 31 point player just a season ago, the offence hasn’t been there much this season. Now he’s injured and if everyone’s healthy, he’s probably on the outside looking in at a lineup spot.
Stats: 11 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -4 rating, 6 PIMS, 14 shots
N/A: Ryan Culkin (4 GP), Nathanael Halbert (3 GP), Justin Woods (1 GP, released)