With a tough season coming to a close, the final Three Stars of the year features the Habs’ best forward of the campaign, along with a look at the future.
First Star: Brendan Gallagher
What more can be said about Gallagher; the heart and soul of the Habs has been a mainstay on the Three Stars this season. Despite the lost season, Gallagher never quit and posted career highs in both goals (31) and points (54).
If the seemingly inevitable major changes do occur with the Canadiens and Max Pacioretty is dealt, one has to think that Gallagher would be a serious contender for the captaincy.
Stats: 19 GP, 10 G, 7 A, 17 PTS, 0 rating
Second Star: Alex Galchenyuk
Despite a tumultuous start, Galchenyuk managed to put it together as the season wore on and ended up posting decent numbers with 51 points on a team that struggled to score all year. He demonstrated both confidence and maturity in the face of trade rumours and heavy scrutiny.
If the Canadiens can simply accept what they have in him, his potential remains sky high and trading the young sniper would be a major mistake. As his game rounds out, 35 goals and 70 points may not be out of the question, making him indispensable moving forward.
Stats: 19 GP, 7 G, 9 A, 16 PTS, -4 rating
Third Star: Antti Niemi
Niemi resurrected his career after being picked up off waivers by the Habs, posting string numbers and looking nothing like the goalie that had been playing in Pittsburgh and Florida. He was pressed into consistent action and kept the team in many games, much to the chagrin of those hoping for a full tank, but there is no denying that Niemi was one of the few nice stories for the Habs this season.
Under normal circumstances, he may have earned himself an extension, but Charlie Lindgren’s three-year, one-way deal, may have spelled the end of Niemi’s time in Montreal.
Stats: 8 GP, 3-3-2 record, 2.48 G.A.A., 0.931 Save %
Honourable Mention: Noah Juulsen
Juulsen provided a nice glimpse of the future after his late-season call-up. The steady, smooth skating and physical defenseman certainly didn’t look out of place in the NHL and looks to be a strong addition moving forward. While he doesn’t wow offensively (the same was true in junior with Everett), he may have some untapped potential as he is able to carry the puck up the ice effectively.
Along with Victor Mete and Mike Reilly, he showed that things may not be as bad on the back end as was feared.
Stats: 19 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 PTS, 0 rating