While the Habs didn’t have an October to remember, several of their prospects and farmhands had strong starts to their respective seasons. Those players are highlighted in our top prospects of the month.
1st Star: Laurent Dauphin – Dauphin has never been a big scorer in the minors but he took a step forward last season in what was a year against weaker competition. How would he fare with the level of competition back up? Quite well, in fact. He has been Laval’s biggest threat offensively this season while being moved around at all three positions. He’s playing well enough to be recalled and if I’m being honest, I have no idea why he hasn’t had a shot yet.
Stats: 8 GP, 6 goals, 2 assists, 8 points, +2 rating, 4 PIMS, 29 shots
2nd Star: Xavier Ouellet – Last season, Ouellet’s production fell rapidly as he was used in more of a mentorship role. Now often finding himself back on the top pairing for the Rocket, his scoring numbers jumped up considerably; he had more points last month than all of last season. It’s not going to help his NHL chances – he is who he is at this point – but without much firepower on the back end in Laval, they’ll need this level of output from the captain.
Stats: 8 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, +6 rating, 10 PIMS, 19 shots
3rd Star: Michael Pezzetta – I’m not sure anyone has benefitted more from the coaching change than Pezzetta. He had been trusted in a regular checking role before his recall which is certainly a step up from sporadic fourth line minutes under Joel Bouchard. Along the way, Pezzetta produced more than usual offensively as well; that, coupled with his preseason performance, earned him a shot with the Habs.
Stats: 8 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, +7 rating, 16 PIMS, 11 shots
Honourable Mention: Gianni Fairbrother – Statistically speaking, there were other players that easily could have been picked. But I’m going with Fairbrother for how he has worked his way up the depth chart quickly. Forget spot minutes on the third pairing to start; instead, Fairbrother has been given a heavy dose of playing time including some time on the top pairing and he certainly hasn’t looked out of place. Not bad at all for someone in his first professional season.
Stats: 8 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, -4 rating, 23 PIMS, 7 shots
1st Star: Joshua Roy (Sherbrooke, QMJHL) – While one month is hardly enough to call Roy a late-round steal, it certainly seems to be heading in that direction. He has stood out on all fronts with the Phoenix, carrying over a strong showing in Montreal’s training camp in the process. Might he be playing himself onto the radar for the World Juniors as a result? It’s certainly a possibility.
Stats: 11 GP, 7 goals, 12 assists, 19 points, +7 rating, 4 PIMS, 56 shots
2nd Star: Jakub Dobes (Ohio State, NCAA) – Talk about making a good first impression. Dobes has very quickly played himself into the starting role with the Buckeyes – no small feat for a freshman – and has been simply dominant since then. The 20-year-old played well in the USHL last season but no one could have realistically expected this type of start.
Stats: 5 GP, 4-1-0 record, 0.86 GAA, .964 SV%, 1 SO
3rd Star: Xavier Simoneau (Charlottetown, QMJHL) – Overage players are supposed to come in and dominate and Simoneau has done exactly that. He’s one of the top scorers in the league and is playing a significant role for the Islanders, one of the top teams in the league. He’s following the same path as Rafael Harvey-Pinard with the expectation that Simoneau will suit up with Laval next season.
Stats: 10 GP, 6 goals, 13 assists, 19 points, +9 rating, 12 PIMS, 20 shots, 55.9% faceoffs
Honourable Mention: Blake Biondi (Minnesota-Duluth, NCAA) – Again, from a statistical standpoint, there are more deserving players (Riley Kidney, in particular) but I want to highlight Biondi. He had a very quiet freshman season to the point where it was a disappointing year for him. However, he was much better out of the gate and actually had more points last month than all of last season. There’s a long way to go but teams want to see their college players take a step forward each season and it looks like Biondi has done just that.
Stats: 6 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, +4 rating, 4 PIMS