November was a strong month for several of Montreal’s unsigned prospects as well as a handful of players in Laval. They get the spotlight in our monthly three stars.
1st Star: Riley Barber – An injury delayed the start of his month but when he came back, Barber looked like the player he was with Hershey a year ago. Instead of being a role player, he made a big impact on the top line and earned himself an eventual recall to Montreal in the process. They gave him a pretty big contract for a minor leaguer with the expectation of big production and Barber provided that last month.
Stats: 9 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, even rating, 9 PIMS, 41 shots
2nd Star: Lukas Vejdemo – Injuries and recalls resulted in him starting to see some more time in the top six and just like last year, he made the most of the opportunity. His offensive production ticked up (despite not getting a chance to play with the top wingers) while his shorthanded play was also strong. I’m honestly surprised he didn’t get a look with Montreal with some of the recent injuries; he certainly has earned an opportunity.
Stats: 13 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, +6 rating, 6 PIMS, 28 shots
3rd Star: Charles Hudon – Considering he was up with the Habs for a lot of the month, he didn’t get much of a chance to make an offensive impact last month with the Rocket. However, despite missing more than half the games, he led the team in goals and certainly earned his opportunity with the Habs. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the most of it so he’ll go back to being a go-to scorer with Laval.
Stats: 6 GP, 6 goals, 0 assists, 6 points, +3 rating, 8 PIMS, 25 shots
Honourable Mention: Matthew Peca – After spending all of last season with Montreal, expectations were pretty high for Peca heading into the year in terms of what he could do for Laval. It took a while but he finally started to make somewhat of a mark offensively although he’s a bit too pass-happy at times still. Nonetheless, he was making an impact with the Rocket before being recalled and subsequently injured.
Stats: 13 GP, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points, -2 rating, 6 PIMS, 22 shots
1st Star: Cam Hillis (Guelph, OHL) – After a rough 2018-19 that was riddled with injury trouble, Hillis came into the season with a lot to prove. He had a decent October but then was dominant last month. It was only a season ago that he was mired on the fourth line at times but he is now their go-to player offensively which certainly bodes well for his chances of getting a contract between now and June 1st.
Stats: 10 GP, 3 goals, 15 assists, 18 points, +7 rating, 4 PIMS, 18 shots, 121/204 faceoffs (59.3%)
2nd Star: Gianni Fairbrother (Everett, WHL) – Fairbrother took a nice step forward offensively last season but there were still some questions as to whether he had another gear in him. It looks like he does. He has logged big minutes early on for the Silvertips and appears to be well on his way towards besting his point total from last year. It’s worth noting that he can turn pro next season and keeping up this level of play will really help his chances.
Stats: 12 GP, 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points, +2 rating, 14 PIMS, 34 shots
3rd Star: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (Chicoutimi, QMJHL) – As an overager sent back to junior, Harvey-Pinard was expected to be a dominant force on the Sagueneens. He’s not among the top scorers in the league but he has been an impact player for them nonetheless. They’re counting on him to produce and last month, that’s what he did.
Stats: 12 GP, 10 goals, 6 assists, 16 points, +7 rating, 8 PIMS, 34 shots
Honourable Mention: Cole Fonstad (Everett, WHL) – Fonstad came back from his injury and showed off his playmaking skills as he picked up at least an assist in every game he played last month. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he didn’t get a single goal but a one-month assist streak is still pretty rare which gets him the nod here.
Stats: 9 GP, 0 goals, 10 assists, 10 points, +4 rating, 4 PIMS, 16 shots