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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 43 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
Although the NHL season isn't underway and the lockout having no end in sight, quite a few Habs are keeping themselves in playing shape by suiting up in various countries and leagues worldwide. Some players are off to strong starts with their temporary teams while a few others have disappointed to say the least. Here is a look at how those players have fared so far this year.
Stats are as of games played through November 28th.
Tomas Kaberle (Kladno): Kaberle, it appears, was a player who figured that the lockout was going to be over in a hurry. He signed back home mere days after the lockout began but left one month later noting that he didn't expect the lockout to last long and wanted to get back to his family. While he was with Kladno, he logged important minutes but they haven't skipped a beat since he left either.
Season Stats: 10 GP, 2-4-6, even rating, 2 PIMS
Tomas Plekanec (Kladno): If there was any doubt before, there isn't now - Plekanec simply loves to play alongside Jaromir Jagr. The two of them have paired up to form the Extraliga's most feared duo (the Habs' centre sits fourth in league scoring while Jagr is second). Of note, Plekanec's goal scoring numbers are worth paying attention to - he already has as many goals this season as he did last year with Montreal. Granted, it's a lesser league but one of the complaints we've had with him in the past is his lack of finish; a year like this may really help him in that area.
Season Stats: 23 GP, 17-18-35, +11 rating, 22 PIMS
Lars Eller (JYP): Eller inked a deal late in October and due to a break in the schedule, he had to wait a little while to see game action. He is certainly making up for lost time as he has already cracked the top-10 in team scoring despite playing just five games. His point-per-game rate is also the highest in the SM-liiga (although five games is too small of a sample size to get overly excited about).
Season Stats: 5 GP, 4-4-8, +1 rating, 6 PIMS
Alexei Emelin (Kazan): Emelin is using the work stoppage to return to where he played before he joined the Habs. Although his offensive production is far below what it was in his last KHL season, it's not terrible either while he is playing more minutes than he did with Montreal last season. If I had to grade his year so far, it would be a solid C. He's not lighting it up but he isn't playing poorly.
Season Stats: 16 GP, 2-3-5, +3 rating, 22 PIMS, 23 SOG, 19:58 ATOI
Andrei Markov (Chekhov): I honestly didn't have much in the way of expectations for him but he has managed to fall short of them so far. Not only did he miss significant time with a rib injury (he did return November 28th for those wondering) but his minutes have been limited when he is in the lineup. I'm hopeful that his ice time will go up as the year goes on and that a bump in scoring follows. At least he hasn't suffered a knee injury yet.
Season Stats: 10 GP, 0-1-1, +2, 10 PIMS, 21 SOG, 19:06 ATOI
David Desharnais (Fribourg-Gottéron): The Habs' top assist getter last year just signed in the NLA in early November and it took a couple of weeks for him to make his season debut. He is being eased into action and I suspect his low scoring numbers won't be that way for much longer.
Season Stats: 5 GP, 1-2-3, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 6 SOG
Raphael Diaz (Zug): The lockout has given Diaz a chance to return to his old stomping grounds and he has made the most of it with numbers that vastly surpass his rate of production in his first stint with the club. Not only is he the top scoring defenceman on his team (third highest scorer overall) but he also has the most points by a blueliner in the league and sits tied for 9th overall in league scoring. Suffice it to say, he is off to a terrific start.
Season Stats: 23 GP, 6-18-24, +17 rating, 10 PIMS, 47 SOG
Max Pacioretty (Ambri-Piotta): Pacioretty's signing was huge news for his new team who quickly used him in their marketing for the squad. Unfortunately for everyone involved, things didn't go over too well. Pacioretty saw limited ice time and was quietly sat due to ratio restrictions. Shortly thereafter, he announced that he was returning to North America to heal a minor injury but indicated that he wasn't likely to return. Considering Ambri-Piotta has since fired their coach, I suspect he may return if the lockout continues to show no end in sight.
Season Stats: 5 GP, 1-0-1, -2 rating, 4 PIMS, 22 SOG
Yannick Weber (Genève-Servette): Weber has had a so-so start to his NLA career. Points wise he is doing relatively well but the concerns most have about his game are the same in Switzerland - he lives on the powerplay and is shaky in his own end. Assuming there is NHL hockey sometime this year, Weber will be fighting to simply make the Habs and is a candidate to be dealt. As far as showcasing himself to other teams goes, he could be doing a whole lot better.
Season Stats: 23 GP, 3-11-14, -2 rating, 28 PIMS, 78 SOG
Scott Gomez (Alaska): Gomez joined the Aces during training camp on a tryout so he could skate with the club to stay in shape; that tryout ended at the end of the preseason. A couple of weeks ago, he decided to rejoin the club and get in some game action. Rediscovering his confidence would be huge for him and the Habs (barring an amnesty buyout); with Alaska having a strong roster with three other NHL'ers on it, he has a good chance to have a strong year.
Season Stats: 4 GP, 2-3-5, 4 PIMS, +1 rating, 11 SOG