The month of April is typically one where prospects begin their playoffs but that wasn’t the case for many this season and several prospects from the Canadiens had strong finishes to their seasons, earning them a place in our three stars.
1st Star: Rafael Harvey-Pinard – At what point does a hot streak change into finding another gear consistently? That’s the question I keep coming back to with Harvey-Pinard which is great. The winger has found a way to impact games on a regular basis, even if he isn’t the most offensively gifted player on his line. It may not sound like much but that’s a big developmental step and it even earned him a quick recall to the Habs for a game.
Stats: 15 GP, 5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points, +4 rating, 2 PIMS, 33 shots
2nd Star: Jean-Sebastien Dea – Dea had a bit more of an impact on games than Harvey-Pinard in a variety of ways. However, not all of them were good. He was a more prominent factor offensively but that was at least partially undermined by eight minor penalties compared to one from Harvey-Pinard, a more energetic winger. That’s enough to drop him down to second on this list.
Stats: 15 GP, 7 goals, 11 assists, 18 points, +3 rating, 16 PIMS, 42 shots
3rd Star: Joel Teasdale – I have to admit, I had some concerns about Teasdale. Never a great skater, he was coming off another major knee injury and that’s never a good combination. While he still isn’t particularly fleet of foot, he has found a way to basically pick up where he left off last season, as an effective two-way player. The line of him, Gabriel Bourque, and trade deadline pickup Nate Schnarr has turned into a particularly strong trio.
Stats: 15 GP, 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points, even rating, 2 PIMS, 37 shots
Honourable Mention: Xavier Ouellet – The veteran had a fairly quiet season overall but he finished on a high note, being the two-way blueliner they expect him to be. While there was a lot of juggling on the back end, Ouellet was a constant on the top pairing; having that at the top of the back end certainly helped as Laval made their push for the postseason.
Stats: 15 GP, 3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points, +3 rating, 17 PIMS, 30 shots
1st Star: Joshua Roy (Sherbrooke, QMJHL) – Yes, him again. Roy continued to light up the QMJHL last month, putting himself in a position to have a chance to win the scoring title at the beginning of May (which he did). He more than earned his entry-level contract with the Habs and is quickly turning into quite the bargain as a fifth-round pick.
Stats: 14 GP, 11 goals, 11 assists, 22 points, +5 rating, 10 PIMS, 67 shots
2nd Star: Riley Kidney (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL) – The season that Roy had completely overshadowed the fact that Kidney had quite a strong campaign as well. He did most of his damage as a playmaker last month but still piled up the points, eventually helping to earn him a well-deserved entry-level deal as well.
Stats: 15 GP, 4 goals, 19 assists, 23 points, -4 rating, 12 PIMS, 48 shots
3rd Star: Joe Vrbetic (North Bay, OHL) – The OHL didn’t have a ton of action last month and as a goalie, Vrbetic played even less. But when he was in the lineup, good things happened for the Battalion. He allowed two or fewer goals in five of his seven April starts with North Bay winning all of their games, leading to a sweep of Ottawa in the first round.
Stats: Reg. Season – 3 GP, 3-0-0 record, 1.95 GAA, .938 SV%
Playoffs – 4 GP, 4-0-0 record, 2.69 GAA, .905 SV%
Honourable Mention 1: Mattias Norlinder (Frolunda, SHL) – From a stats perspective, Norlinder’s play was nothing special. But after what was frankly a really rough regular season with them, he stepped up in the postseason and appeared to end his year on a high note before the Canadiens brought him back to North America to play with Laval.
Stats: 9 GP, 0 goals, 6 assists, 6 points, -1 rating, 8 PIMS, 20 shots, 5 hits, 13 blocks, 18:57 ATOI
Honourable Mention 2: Xavier Simoneau (Charlottetown, QMJHL) – Another same old, same old month for Simoneau. He’s not a dominant player but he has a knack for producing and that’s a good trait even though it has to be stated that he’s an overager this season. For the record, the stat line below does not include his six-assist game to end the regular season as that came in May.
Stats: 12 GP, 6 goals, 12 assists, 18 points, +9 rating, 16 PIMS, 37 shots