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After exceeding expectations in the first quarter of the season, the Habs came back down to earth with a thud in the second quarter. One of the main positive perspectives for the Habs is that it likely can’t get much worse!  Even with the struggles, some of the forwards were able to do well enough to earn a good grade from our readers and writers.

Players must have played in 5/20 games to receive a grade.

Cole Caufield: Fan Vote Average 8.1, Writer Vote Average 9.2

“Goal” Caufield continued to score goals at an impressive rate and very consistently. Outside of one four-game drought, the longest he’s gone without scoring is two games. Defensively – like Suzuki – Caufield’s performance slipped with many ill-timed giveaways. On the power play, he has become predictable on the off-wing and needs to adjust to be more effective. However, that adjustment will have to wait until next season now following his shoulder injury.

Stats: 20 GP, 11 goals, 0 assists, 11 points, -9 rating, 0 PIMS, 62 shots, 17:50 ATOI

Nick Suzuki: Fan Vote Average 7.5, Writer Vote Average 9.0

Suzuki‘s play dropped substantially – down to the level of the horrendous year in 2021-2022. Defensively he’s getting manhandled in his own end both skills-wise and physically by opposition top centres. Offensively, his production dropped off going pointless in 12 of those 20 games including five straight games. Suzuki is currently leading all Habs forwards with 27 giveaways.

Stats: 20 GP, 3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points, -11 rating, 12 PIMS, 31 shots, 21:22 ATOI

Kirby Dach: Fan Vote Average 6.7, Writer Vote Average 7.2

Dach’s production tailed off as well in the second quarter. With the injury to Monahan, Dach played significant time at centre away from Suzuki and Caufield.  Dach’s performance at centre was sub-standard, winning only 31% of face-offs while ranking second among Habs forwards with 23 giveaways and shooting just 5.4%. I know Habs management wants him to be a centre, but his performance has been substantially better as a winger, at least until recently.

Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, -7 rating, 16 PIMS, 37 shots, 18:52 ATOI

Jake Evans: Fan Vote Average 6.1, Writer Vote Average 6.8

Evans is one of the rare Habs players who elevated his play in the second quarter. Putting behind early-season struggles, Evans delivered the speed and tenacity we’ve come to expect. Arguably he was the best penalty killer on the team, is great defensively, and did well in faceoffs at over 51%. Unfortunately, he also will be out long-term and won’t be able to build on his improved performance.

Stats: 20 GP, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points, -1 rating, 11 PIMS, 17 shots, 15:01 ATOI

Christian Dvorak: Fan Vote Average 5.9, Writer Vote Average 5.8

With all the injuries, Dvorak has at times been forced to play against higher-level competition than the Habs would like with a rotating cast of wingers. Despite this, he’s played solid hockey, on pace for his career averages in points, and is respectable in faceoffs at just over 50% at the midway mark.

Stats: 20 GP, 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, -6 rating, 2 PIMS, 29 shots, 17:51 ATOI

Josh Anderson: Fan Vote Average 5.7, Writer Vote Average 5.6

Anderson comes to play every game as one of the only forwards to punish opposing defencemen. His forechecking causes turnovers and creates open ice for his linemates. He’s playing on the penalty kill and is using his speed and size to disrupt the opposition. Anderson is a winner, someone you want on the ice when the game is on the line, and is leading the Habs in game-winning goals (4) this season. It would be a mistake to trade this guy.

Stats: 20 GP, 6 goals, 1 assist, 7 points, -10 rating, 14 PIMS, 46 shots, 16:50 ATOI

Anthony Richard: Fan Vote Average 5.0, Writer Vote Average 4.4

Anthony Richard earned a call-up from Laval and was one of the rare Habs players that is in the positive plus/minus stat. This was despite playing fourth line minutes during the late December disastrous performances for the team. He brings speed and energy to the bottom of the lineup and had some great chances as he surprised opposing defences with his speed. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets another chance in the second half of the season.

Stats: 7 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 6 shots, 9:59 ATOI

Juraj Slafkovsky: Fan Vote Average 4.8, Writer Vote Average 4.8

Slafkovsky continued to play mostly third or fourth line roles prior to his injury. I truly want him to work out but he had been a fish out of water. Getting outmuscled constantly, poor decision-making, turnovers. I feel bad for Slafkovsky right now being put in the position he’s in. He was giving 100% effort but he’s just not ready for the NHL. Makes me wonder what Habs management knows that everyone else doesn’t (in choosing to keep him in the NHL).

Stats: 20 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, -8 rating, 8 PIMS, 17 shots, 13:00 ATOI

Michael Pezzetta: Fan Vote Average 4.7, Writer Vote Average 5.0

Pezzetta continues to bring the energy and enthusiasm to the team in a fourth line role. He got caught a few too many times taking bad penalties which is something the entire team needs to cut down on. Aside from that, he’s delivering on expectations.

Stats: 16 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, -5 rating, 16 PIMS, 3 shots, 7:39 ATOI

Joel Armia: Fan Vote Average 4.3, Writer Vote Average 2.8

Armia came to life (a little) in the second quarter after being comatose in the early season. Still an underwhelming performance but there’s a heartbeat. The Habs need more – a lot more – from Armia when he returns from injury.

Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, -4 rating, 12 PIMS, 33 shots, 14:46 ATOI

Mike Hoffman: Fan Vote Average 3.9, Writer Vote Average 3.8

Hoffman has been injured off and on all year and only played 13 games in the second quarter. He’s seen more time on the power play (second unit), and that group has generally been more dangerous than the supposed first power play trio.  Recognizing it is tough coming back from injury, Hoffman was expected to provide more secondary scoring for the Habs. His play thus far is not meeting expectations.

Stats: 13 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -7 rating, 6 PIMS, 28 shots, 14:27 ATOI

Evgenii Dadonov: Fan Vote Average 3.4, Writer Vote Average 2.8

Dadonov is the rare Hab who actually had a better second quarter. It’s only because it was impossible to have a worse performance, but still, it is a step in the right direction. He was using his speed and skills much more so on the ice and at times was the dynamic player fans have watched over the years. Dadonov still has more to give and hopefully can string together some better games before the trade deadline.

Stats: 15 GP, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points, -1 rating, 11 PIMS, 21 shots, 14:28 ATOI

Rem Pitlick: Fan Vote Average 3.4, Writer Vote Average 1.6

Pitlick is struggling this year to an extent that I don’t think anyone saw coming. Everyone knew he was hitting well above average last year so a regression was likely but Pitlick was struggling to just stay in the lineup. He needs to get back to basics and bring the hustle and speed that caused numerous turnovers last year. He’ll get a chance now with all the injuries they’re dealing with.

Stats: 7 GP, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, -2 rating, 2 PIMS, 8 shots, 7:49 ATOI

Jonathan Drouin: Fan Vote Average 3.3, Writer Vote Average 3.0

Injuries struck again for Drouin as he missed seven games. He only had four assists this quarter, the worst +/- amongst forwards while providing completely uninspiring play throughout. For both the Habs and Drouin a change of scenery is desperately needed.

Stats: 13 GP, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, -10 rating, 2 PIMS, 17 shots, 13:59 ATOI

2nd Quarter Grades – Goalies and Defencemen