It hasn’t been very often that Montreal has had several prospects playing into May but that is the case this year, with several putting up strong performances to earn a nod in our three stars.
1st Star: Cayden Primeau – Considering he didn’t start the playoffs as the starter, the fact that Primeau is in this spot is pretty good. His play, however, has been more than pretty good. In almost every one of his starts, he has either been or was worthy of being the first star of the game and put together the type of consistently strong performances that shows he still has some legitimate NHL upside.
Stats: 7 GP, 6-1-0 record, 1.93 GAA, .936 SV%, 0 SO
2nd Star: Danick Martel – There’s a reason Martel was bouncing around the end of NHL rosters just a few years ago. He has legitimate offensive abilities when he has the time and space to work with (which he rarely had in the NHL). As teams keyed in on the top line, Martel helped lead the secondary scoring which went a long way towards helping the Rocket get past Syracuse and Rochester.
Stats: 8 GP, 6 goals, 2 assists, 8 points, +4 rating, 8 PIMS, 32 shots
3rd Star: Alex Belzile – Nothing flashy but a steady presence on both ends. That is what teams generally want from their veterans and Belzile did exactly that last month. He’s someone that is in a spot where he needs to showcase himself as it stands to reason that the new management team may want their own veterans in Laval next year. Performances like this could help keep Belzile around or at least bolster his value in free agency this summer.
Stats: 8 GP, 4 goals, 2 assists, 6 points, +1 rating, 6 PIMS, 22 shots
Honourable Mention: Jean-Sebastien Dea – If I’m being honest, the top line (of which Dea is a part of most nights) was underwhelming for most of the month. But he still picked up a few points along the way while getting the series-winner in triple overtime in Rochester which is the main reason he landed this spot.
Stats: 8 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, even rating, 4 PIMS, 23 shots
1st Star: Joshua Roy (Sherbrooke, QMJHL) – After leading the QMJHL in scoring during the season, it was going to be interesting to see how Roy fared in the playoffs. Well, how about leading the league in scoring (up to the point of the Phoenix being eliminated) while increasing his production on a per-game basis? I don’t think he could have done much more than that.
Stats: 11 GP, 8 goals, 15 assists, 23 points, +10 rating, 0 PIMS, 57 shots
2nd Star: Kaiden Guhle (Edmonton, WHL) – The Oil Kings absolutely blasted their way through the first few rounds of the playoffs, an outcome that’s not entirely surprising considering the talent on their roster. Guhle found a way to become a bit more impactful and is making a bit more of a difference at the offensive end while being his usual strong defensive self which is a nice sign from a development perspective in his final days of major junior.
Stats: 9 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, +9 rating, 2 PIMS, 40 shots
3rd Star: Xavier Simoneau (Charlottetown, QMJHL) – Opponents did a better job at keeping Simoneau in check compared to his level of production during the regular season but the overager was a big reason why the Islanders made it to the Finals. I’m not sure how he’s going to fare in the pros but this was a good end to his junior career.
Stats: 10 GP, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, +7 rating, 15 PIMS, 20 shots, 56.1% faceoffs
Honourable Mention: Arber Xhekaj (Hamilton, OHL) – I have my doubts about his junior production being a sign of things to come in the pros but I like how Xhekaj has become more than just a physical defenceman this season, a role that carried over to the start of the playoffs as well. He needs to tone down the excessive stuff that gets him into trouble though and that arguably cost Hamilton a game in the Finals.
Stats: 7 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, +13 rating, 11 PIMS, 29 shots