With the month of November not going so well for the Habs so far, let’s take one last look back at what was a more successful month on the ice as we look at who our readers voted for as October’s stars.
1st Star: Nick Suzuki – There were some question marks about him heading into the season. Would there be any issues now that he’s the captain? Would he be able to produce at a similar level as he did in the second half of last year? One month doesn’t summarily answer these but the early indications were that he picked up where he left off and wasn’t feeling the added weight of the captaincy. I’m still not sure if he can sustain a point-per-game level over an entire season but he passed everything with flying colours in October.
Stats: 9 GP, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, +5 rating, 4 PIMS, 23 shots, 50.0% faceoffs, 19:28 ATOI
2nd Star: Cole Caufield – This one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as he (with Suzuki) played a big part in Montreal’s attack last month. There were also some questions about whether he’d be able to sustain his pace from the second half last season but he was able to do just that, albeit with an unsustainable shooting percentage that will probably come back down as the season progresses. Nonetheless, he showed that he shouldn’t be heading for a prolonged slump again anytime soon.
Stats: 9 GP, 7 goals, 3 assists, 10 points, +1 rating, 0 PIMS, 31 shots, 17:13 ATOI
3rd Star: Kaiden Guhle – The rookie defenceman was the only other player beyond Suzuki and Caufield to appear on more than 20% of ballots. I had fairly high expectations for him heading into the season, thinking he could play in the top four right away. Instead, he’s a fixture on the top pairing and led the team in ice time last month. Forget about being eased in, he was thrown into the deep end which is risky for many prospects. Evidently, Guhle is one of the exceptions as he looks like a seasoned veteran right away.
Stats: 9 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -3 rating, 9 PIMS, 10 shots, 18 hits, 18 blocks, 21:13 ATOI
Honourable Mention: Jake Allen – Allen narrowly beat out Arber Xhekaj and David Savard thanks to a handful of first-place votes. His overall numbers were somewhat pedestrian but considering what the expectations were heading into the season (especially after losing every preseason game), adequate is still pretty good. The veteran gave the Habs a legitimate chance to win in most of his starts and in a year like this, the Habs will happily take that from either of their goaltenders.
Stats: 6 GP, 3-3-0 record, 2.85 GAA, .909 SV%