The month of March featured the start of the playoffs for some leagues while others were well into their stretch runs. The Habs had several prospects saving their best performances for last at those levels.
1st Star: Pierrick Dube – Technically, Dube isn’t even a Montreal prospect as he’s on an AHL-only contract but he has found a way to make a big impact in crunch time for the season. Injuries and recalls necessitated a move up the depth chart and the end result is that Dube is much more aggressive offensively as he led the Rocket in shots in March which helped pave the way for him to be their top point-getter. If he isn’t on the Habs’ radar yet for an NHL deal, he should be.
Stats: 14 GP, 7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points, +8 rating, 8 PIMS, 57 shots
2nd Star: Mitchell Stephens – It took him long enough (too long) to become an impact offensive player for Laval but better late than never, I suppose. Stephens has been a checker in recent seasons but showed that there was a scoring touch in the past. That’s what helped earn him a shot to be Laval’s top centre early in the year but he didn’t take advantage. He’s providing that level of play now as he has teamed up well with Dube to help carry the attack while still bringing some defensive reliability.
Stats: 14 GP, 9 goals, 2 assists, 11 points, even rating, 4 PIMS, 47 shots
3rd Star: Cayden Primeau – It hasn’t been the best of seasons statistically for him but Primeau deserves some credit for helping to keep Laval in the race. Let’s face it, this is not a particularly deep team offensively and goal support has been inconsistent at best which has resulted in a so-so win/loss record. However, Primeau’s performance last month was up there with the top goalies in the AHL which, frankly, is where he should be at this stage of his career.
Stats: 12 GP, 6-5-1 record, 2.43 GAA, .920 SV%, 1 SO
Honourable Mention: Nicolas Beaudin – For a lot of his time in Laval, Beaudin has been utilized in a limited role, including a short-lived stint as a winger on the third line. But now, he has shown he’s worthy of a more prominent spot on the depth chart and has managed to avoid being part of the rotation on the back end. The production has been a bit spotty – his point totals below are all over five games – but Beaudin is finishing things up on a high note.
Stats: 11 GP, 0 goals, 9 assists, 9 points, +8 rating, 19 PIMS, 14 shots
1st Star: Joshua Roy (Sherbrooke, QMJHL) – What’s a good way to finish off your final regular season in junior? There’s no precise answer to that question but I’m pretty sure averaging nearly 2.5 points per game qualifies. Roy was nothing short of dominant on a team that can also be described the same way. Is playing on a stacked team the best for development? Not necessarily but when you’re in that situation, you better produce. Roy clearly produced.
Stats (including playoffs): 12 GP, 14 goals, 14 assists, 28 points, +17 rating, 0 PIMS, 66 shots
2nd Star: Lane Hutson (Boston University, NCAA) – Hutson has logged heavy minutes in playoff/tournament action, logging more than 30 minutes multiple times. He doesn’t seem to be bothered with the extra ice time and it’s not affecting his play which is quite a compliment. Offensively, Hutson continues to be an elite performer and he has clearly earned the trust of the coaches to play in all situations. He’s not ready to turn pro yet but he’s ending his year on an impressive note.
Stats: 7 GP, 5 goals, 4 assists, 9 points, +13 rating, 0 PIMS
3rd Star: Riley Kidney (Gatineau, QMJHL) – Kidney has piled up the points since being acquired prior to the trade deadline. Again, he’s on a team that is much better than most so that’s to be expected but putting up close to two points per game is called doing your job. I’d like to have seen more goal production from Kidney but that’s about the only thing I can nitpick. He’s finishing up his QMJHL career quite strong as well.
Stats (including playoffs): 12 GP, 2 goals, 18 assists, 20 points, +6 rating, 8 PIMS, 37 shots
Honourable Mention: Emmett Croteau (Waterloo, USHL) – Let’s go off the board for this pick and look at Croteau, Montreal’s seemingly annual late-draft dart throw for a goaltender from 2022. His final full month at the USHL level was a strong one, posting numbers that were comparable to the top netminders league-wide. His lowest single-game save percentage in March was .911. His save percentage heading into the start of the month? .899. That’s finishing his time at this level with a bang; Croteau will go to Clarkson University next season.
Stats: 7 GP, 5-2-0 record, 2.00 GAA, .942 SV%, 0 SO