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The 2023 World Championship has come to an end.  The Habs had seven players taking part, playing various roles from being key contributors to fringe roster players.  Here is an evaluation of how each one performed.

Samuel Montembeault (Canada) – A: He went into the tournament with the expectation of being Canada’s number one goaltender and he did nothing to lose that status.  He only allowed more than two goals once (his lone loss to pool-winning Switzerland) and was among the tournament leaders statistically, finishing second in GAA and third in SV% among goalies that played at least 40% of the minutes.  Some of the opponents weren’t the strongest but that’s not his fault.  He just made the key stops to help lead Canada to the gold.  It’s hard to ask for more than that.

Stats: 7 GP, 6-1-0 record, 1.42 GAA, .939 SV%, 1 SO

Lane Hutson (USA) – A-: I didn’t have high expectations for him going into this tournament and based on his early usage, neither did head coach David Quinn.  While the second-rounder spent more than half the event listed as the seventh defenceman, his usage suggested otherwise.  Offensively, he found a way to make an impact with a pair of impressive goals while setting up several others.  Unfortunately, his poor defensive coverage in transition helped contribute to Germany’s upset in the semi-finals (Casey DeSmith should have had the shot too) but while the memories from that one will certainly linger (as will being on the ice for Latvia’s OT winner the next day), Hutson definitely had a strong tournament overall.

Stats: 9 GP, 2-4-6, +7 rating, 2 PIMS, 12 shots, 14:49 ATOI

Frederik Dichow (Denmark) – B+ While Denmark didn’t reach the quarterfinals, it wasn’t Dichow’s fault as the team won three of his four full games played before sliding after that when the netminder was injured.  The game-to-game performances were a bit spottier than I’d have liked but that’s not uncommon for young prospects.  Did Dichow do well enough to earn a contract from the Habs before Thursday?  I’m not sure about that but he certainly didn’t hurt his chances either.

Stats: 5 GP, 3-1-0 record, 2.30 GAA, .911 SV%, 0 SO

Justin Barron (Canada) – C+: Barron was the seventh blueliner for almost the entire event, aside from the last two and that was only due to injury.  However, after hardly seeing the ice early on, he did well enough to slowly earn more ice time as the tournament progressed.  Barron didn’t stand out by any stretch but he moved the puck well and jumped into the rush several times, elements that helped him secure a regular role with the Habs in the second half.  Of course, I’d have liked to see him play more but for the role he was brought in to play, Barron did his job.

Stats: 10 GP, 0-3-3, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 12 shots, 10:11 ATOI

Luke Tuch (USA) – C: This may seem high for someone who rarely played but I grade relative to expectations.  He went into this tournament as the obvious extra forward so he didn’t play very often.  He managed a goal in limited action and didn’t look out of place.  That’s alright from a 14th forward in this tournament.

Stats: 3 GP, 1-0-1, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 1 shot, 7:31 ATOI*

*-Tuch dressed for a fourth game but didn’t play in it.  In the official stats, that counts as a game played but I’ve backed that out of the ATOI calculations.

Joel Armia (Finland) – C-: In a tournament that Finland was hosting, they didn’t get a great buy-in from their NHL players which put Armia into a scoring role.  If you’ve followed the Canadiens in recent years, you know by now that doing so rarely ends well.  That was the case here.  Armia looked disengaged at times which isn’t a good sign.  I’m not sure if that’s due to the illness that kept him out late in the year and if it is, that doesn’t bode well for Montreal.  If it’s not that and he just went through the motions on some shifts, that’s even worse.  Either way, they needed a lot more from Armia than they got.

Stats: 8 GP, 2-1-3, -5 rating, 4 PIMS, 11 shots, 15:34 ATOI

Sean Farrell (USA) – D: I had high expectations for Farrell coming into this event.  He had a strong year in college and didn’t look out of place with the Habs down the stretch.  Add that to him playing well internationally last year and things were looking up.  Instead, he failed to make much of an impact and saw his ice time steadily drop to the point where he barely played in the bronze medal game.  In an event where several NCAA players stood out, Farrell definitely didn’t follow suit.

Stats: 10 GP, 1-1-2, even rating, 2 PIMS, 7 shots, 10:57 ATOI