The Habs didn’t have a lot of prospects suit up in April but some of those that did had strong months, earning themselves a spot in our prospect three stars.
1st Star: Ryan Poehling – It’s amazing what some consistency can do for a player. I’m not specifically referring to the output either but rather how he got to that point. Last season, going back and forth between Laval and Montreal was about the worse thing that could have happened. Any time he played remotely well, the momentum was taken away by the recall. Now, Poehling has gotten to stay with the Rocket all season long and in a similar role along the way. That consistency has now been rewarded in the form of some steady production. Here’s hoping management notices this as it’s a lot better from a development perspective than yanking players back and forth.
Stats: 8 GP, 5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points, +3 rating, 18 shots, 0 PIMS
2nd Star: Yannick Veilleux – Okay, this is a bit of a stretch since Veilleux isn’t on an NHL contract let alone a Montreal prospect. However, his scoring touch has returned and it was definitely needed as Laval went through some offensive scuffles despite the wins they were piling up. I’ve talked about this before but if they wanted to buy themselves an extra recall, I think converting Veilleux to an NHL contract for the final couple of games could make some sense if the Habs can get some wiggle room in the standings, especially as the injuries up front continue to pile up.
Stats: 8 GP, 5 goals, 2 assists, 7 points, +3 rating, 21 shots, 26 PIMS
3rd Star: Jordan Weal – Another one that’s a stretch given that Weal isn’t a prospect but he’s down there to produce and that’s what he did. Weal’s not the most talented player offensively in the NHL but with that little bit of extra time and space in the AHL, his creativity starts to shine through and it leads to some solid results. It’s not going to help him get a recall and probably not another contract but he played well last month nonetheless.
Stats: 7 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, +3 rating, 15 shots, 2 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Rafael Harvey-Pinard – He isn’t putting up the points as consistently as he was but he has also been moved down the lineup as other players have come back. Frankly, the third line is about where he should be at this stage of his development. He only picked up points in two games but got multiple points in each, showing that the offence is still there in spurts. I like what I’ve seen from him in his rookie professional season.
Stats: 7 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, +3 rating, 20 shots, 0 PIMS
1st Star: Sean Farrell (Chicago, USHL) – Really, who else could it be? He had at least a point in every game (not the first month that has happened) and averaged more than two points for the month (also not the first month that has happened). That helped him become the second player in league history to record 100 points in a season. I don’t think there’s anything else that really needs to be said here.
Stats: 9 GP, 4 goals, 15 assists, 19 points, +11 rating, 22 shots, 26 PIMS
2nd Star: Jakub Dobes (Omaha, USHL) – It has been an up-and-down year for the Czech netminder as he started strong and scuffled a bit after that. However, he finished up on a high note to help lead the Lancers not only to a playoff spot but also home-ice advantage in the first round as well. He finished the season fourth in the league in GAA among qualifying netminders and third in save percentage. A nice finish to a nice regular season.
Stats: 7 GP, 6-0-1 record, 1.70 GAA, .946 SV%, 2 SO
3rd Star: Mattias Norlinder (Frolunda, SHL) – It took until the end of the season for some of the offensive production to come but it came. His role actually increased towards the end of the year and he responded well. I know there is some disappointment in the lack of numbers overall but this was his first year at the top level where it’s not that high scoring of a league. He showed some improvement in his own end and for the offensive upside that he has, it’s his defensive play that will make or break his NHL opportunity.
Stats: 8 GP, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points, -2 rating, 8 shots, 6 PIMS, 18:04 ATOI
Honourable Mention: Gianni Fairbrother (Everett, WHL) – I have to admit, I was hoping that Fairbrother would do a bit more at the offensive end, especially on a Silvertips team that has some firepower (including former Hab prospect Cole Fonstad). He has been decent though and with very few prospects actually playing close to an entire month (it was basically between him and Kieran Ruscheinski for this spot), that’s enough to land him on this list.
Stats: 13 GP, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points, +2 rating, 29 shots, 6 PIMS