The month of March was a brief one in the hockey world although a handful of Laval players and other Montreal players still managed to make their mark to find a place in the three stars.
1st Star: Yannick Veilleux – What a find he wound up being. Originally signed to just be a filler player who had a bit of familiarity with a few of the players, Veilleux wound up being one of their top offensive threats and was a big contributor in the three games Laval played before the stoppage.
Stats: 3 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, +4 rating, 13 shots, 0 PIMS
2nd Star: Jake Lucchini – I know it’s a small sample size but if this winds up being Laval’s final games of the season, Lucchini’s finish is going to give the Habs something to think about. He moved up in the lineup and was rather dangerous. Instead of being someone that was a throw in to match contracts, he may have shown enough to warrant one more year. That’d be a pretty good accomplishment in such a small stint.
Stats: 3 GP, 3 goals, 0 assists, 3 points, +2 rating, 5 shots, 2 PIMS
3rd Star: Cayden Primeau – I know that picking someone that didn’t even play in one of the games is iffy but both of Primeau’s performances were strong ones including a shutout while earning victories against a pair of division rivals. After a sluggish midseason run, Primeau had allowed two or less in five of his last six starts.
Stats: 2-0-0 record, 1.00 GAA, .957 SV%, 1 SO
Honourable Mention: Laurent Dauphin – With Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ryan Poehling both out, Dauphin was moved into a bigger role and made the most of it with four helpers in three games. Had the season continued, it would have been interesting to see if he would have had a shot at a recall with the Habs.
Stats: 3 GP, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, +5 rating, 7 shots, 6 PIMS
1st Star: Mattias Norlinder (MODO, Allsvenskan) – Norlinder managed to get through part of his postseason before the shutdown and he played a big role in those games while chipping in offensively as well. Without any teams getting promoted to the SHL for next season, Norlinder is expected to transfer to Frolunda to play at the top level in 2020-21.
Stats: 4 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, +3 rating, 0 PIMS, 22:20 TOI
2nd Star: Samuel Houde (Chicoutimi, QMJHL) – There are some prospects who were hit harder than others by the cancellation of the rest of their season. Houde was certainly in that group. He had just come back from his wrist injury and was playing rather well; a big stretch run could have helped his chances of landing an NHL contract (with the Habs or elsewhere). Instead, despite the strong finish, he’s probably heading back into the draft.
Stats: 4 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, +1 rating, 7 shots, 0 PIMS
3rd Star: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (Chicoutimi, QMJHL) – As an overager, the cancellation of the season hit him hard too but at least he has another year before he needs to sign. The final days of his junior career resembled most of his last two years – playing with plenty of energy and chipping in offensively. I’m not sold on his ceiling being all that high but I think he has the potential to be a useful player for Laval next year.
Stats: 4 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, +4 rating, 16 shots, 0 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Cam Hillis (Guelph, OHL) – His point per game average was down slightly but it was still a decent finish to the season for Hillis who has to be considered the likeliest candidate to land a contract among the four players that have to sign by June 1st. Hillis received some accolades from OHL coaches shortly thereafter, cracking the top three in their Coaches Poll in playmaking, faceoffs, and defensive ability.
Stats: 4 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, -1 rating, 10 shots, 6 PIMS, 47% faceoffs