While March still featured considerably more losses than wins, there was still some optimism as some of their players bounced back offensively. Not surprisingly, those players garnered the most votes in our monthly three stars
1st Star: Nick Suzuki – The third-year centre led the team in scoring last month and combined for half of Montreal’s top duo so it’s no surprise to see him at the top where he received more than 60% of all first-place votes. Even if he takes a small step back offensively down the stretch, this is a nice way to end his year while this type of performance makes his $7.875 million cap hit starting next season look a little less daunting at the beginning.
Stats: 15 GP, 7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points, 4 PIMS, -6 rating, 44 shots, 21:38 ATOI
2nd Star: Cole Caufield – Well, this one was kind of obvious, wasn’t it? The other half of the duo that basically carried Montreal’s attack, Caufield continues to show the skill that made him a popular Calder Trophy candidate heading into the year. While Suzuki dominated the first-place votes, Caufield had even more second-place selections with 70%, understandably so.
Stats: 15 GP, 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, 2 PIMS, -8 rating, 44 shots, 19:00 ATOI
3rd Star: Jake Allen – It’s amazing what an NHL-level goaltender can do in terms of making a team look competitive; there is a big difference in talent between him and Samuel Montembeault. Allen got hung out to dry defensively – particularly after the trade deadline – but kept the Habs in most games and even stole a couple along the way. That earned him more first-place votes than Caufield which helped him snag the third slot.
Stats: 7 GP, 2-3-2 record, 3.31 GAA, .921 SV%
Honourable Mention: Alexander Romanov – With the departure of Ben Chiarot and the injury to Jeff Petry towards the end of the month, Romanov has been asked to play higher in the lineup and play tougher minutes overall. That’s certainly good from a development perspective as is the fact that he has adjusted pretty well to the higher level of expectations. That’ll help in Montreal’s planning for the future…plus his own contract talks this summer.
Stats: 15 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, 6 PIMS, +4 rating, 27 shots, 22:34 ATOI
Thanks to everyone that voted. We’ll do this again next month for the last time this season.