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- With a $5 M cap hit, Sergei Gonchar is one of the most expensive d-men in franchise history. The only ones higher are P.K. Subban ($9 M), Andrei Markov ($5.75 M), Mathieu Schneider ($5.75 M), and Roman Hamrlik ($5.5 M).
Although a sub-par March sealed the Hamilton Bulldogs' fate as a non-playoff team for the second consecutive season, there were some players who played quite well. This past month also marked the end of the regular seasons for many of the Habs' younger prospects, many of whom had stellar performances. Which ones made the cut for our monthly stars?
1st Star: Joey Tenute - Minor league signings usually aren't expected to yield top scorers but that's what Tenute has been since signing a few months ago. He is a mainstay on the top line and regardless of who his wingers are, he keeps producing at a regular rate. The Habs would be wise to work towards getting him to sign a deal for next season as soon as possible.
Stats: 13 GP, 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points, +1 rating, 25 SOG, 16 PIMS
2nd Star: Patrick Holland - The rookie winger had a very tough start to the season but after being placed on the Bulldogs' top line, his offensive game took off. His overall hockey acumen and defensive awareness from junior are also really starting to carry over to the pro game. Should there be another injury or two in the final few weeks, Holland may have played himself into earning a late callup.
Stats: 11 GP, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, +2 rating, 33 SOG, 0 PIMS (only two minor penalties all season)
3rd Star: Dustin Tokarski - Although he is in a platoon situation with Robert Mayer most of the time (for reasons that I've yet to figure out), Tokarski has been nothing short of outstanding since being acquired. Yes, he only won three games in March (Mayer won two) but all three of those victories were shutouts. In the five games he either played in relief or lost, he had a whopping total of eight goals of support. He has kept Hamilton in pretty much every game and given the Bulldogs' struggles this year, that's a pretty impressive accomplishment.
Stats: 8 GP, 3-4-0 record, 1.80 GAA, .943 SV%, 3 SO
Honourable Mention: Nathan Beaulieu - It took a while for him to adjust but Beaulieu's overall game took considerable steps forward in these past few weeks. His decision making with the puck has improved and as we saw in his brief stint with the big club, he's capable of getting the rush going on his own. He's not ready for full time NHL duty yet but he is coming along well.
Stats: 10 GP, 0 goals, 7 assists, 7 points, +3 rating, 18 SOG, 13 PIMS
All stats here include both regular season and playoff games.
1st Star: Charles Hudon (Chicoutimi, QMJHL) - Although his junior team was ousted pretty quickly in the first round of the playoffs, the Habs' 5th rounder last June most certainly wasn't the reason for it. He had a hand in 62.5% of the Sagueneens' goals in the postseason while also averaging over a point per game during the regular season contests as well. His next stop is Hamilton and it will certainly be fun to follow his progress there.
Stats: 12 GP, 6 goals, 11 assists, 17 points, even rating, 23 SOG, 8 PIMS
2nd Star: Tim Bozon (Kamloops, WHL) - After slowing down at the midway point of the season, Bozon picked up his play down the stretch. Unfortunately an upper body injury has derailed his momentum as he has only suited up in three playoff games so far. He is hopeful to return soon but no return date has been set as of yet. Getting back and contributing would be a nice way to finish off his season.
Stats: 11 GP, 6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points, +10 rating, 10 PIMS
3rd Star: Darren Dietz (Saskatoon, WHL) - Despite the fact that his team imploded in what could easily be called the greatest playoff collapse for any Memorial Cup host team ever, March was still a pretty good month for the recently signed blueliner. He wound up leading the WHL in goals by a defenceman which is a great way to cap off his WHL career. Redemption will be on his and his teammates' minds when the Memorial Cup gets underway in May.
Stats: 12 GP, 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points, +3 rating, 15 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Danny Kristo (North Dakota, NCAA) - Although losing in the game that would have earned them a spot in the Frozen Four is quite a disappointing way to end his college career, last month was still a strong one for the now Bulldog-bound winger. Reliable goal scorers are hard to come by and Kristo has been exactly that all season long.
Stats: 10 GP, 6 goals, 3 assists, 9 points, +3 rating, 2 PIMS
- HW 3 Stars: February's Top Prospects posted by B. La Rose
- HW 3 Stars: January's Top Prospects posted by B. La Rose
- HW 3 Stars: December's Top Prospects posted by B. La Rose
- HW 3 Stars: November's Top Prospects posted by B. La Rose