The Habs had a relatively successful month of October, playing well enough to find themselves in a playoff spot with a handful of players getting off to good starts. Not surprisingly, the fan vote for our three stars was pretty close. Here are the results.
1st Star: Cole Caufield
The general consensus seems to be that Caufield is off to a quiet start to his year. However, he finished up October as Montreal’s leading scorer and the only player on the roster averaging more than a point per game. He also had both overtime winners in the month. If this is a quiet start, I suspect the Habs would be quite content with his entire season being this quiet. It has been quite a while since Montreal had a higher-end scoring threat but as long as he stays healthy, Caufield should be that player.
Stats: 9 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, +4 rating, 4 PIMS, 37 shots, 19:25 ATOI
2nd Star: Jake Allen
Interestingly enough, he had the most first-place votes from our readers but also didn’t appear on over 30% of the ballots which was the difference-maker. The veteran started slowly against Toronto but followed that up with three particularly strong starts, all victories, helping him earn the Molson Cup for the month. On the other hand, he didn’t play in more than half the games so it’s understandable that there was a split among our readers. While it’s unrealistic to think Allen can maintain this level of play over a full season, he could make a push to be the 1A option in Montreal’s current goalie trio.
Stats: 4 GP, 3-1-0 record, 2.63 GAA, .930 SV%, 0 SO
3rd Star: Sean Monahan
He was gone for so long last season that I think a lot of people forgot just how much of an impact he had over the first two months of 2022-23. Monahan more or less picked up where he left off last season as a legitimate scoring threat beyond the top line; he has helped the ‘veteran’ line become a reliable second scoring line for the Canadiens. If he can maintain this (and stay healthy), GM Kent Hughes is going to have an interesting decision to make in a few months. Is he worth trading for what should be a good future asset or is he worth keeping around as a veteran who could realistically be part of the future plans for this club?
Stats: 9 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, +5 rating, 6 PIMS, 22 shots, 19:00 ATOI, 60.5% faceoffs
Honourable Mention: Nick Suzuki
The captain has also gotten off to what some feel is a slow start although he still finished third on the team in scoring for the month and was just a couple of points off of his October performance from a year ago. While he only scored twice which is certainly less than many would have been hoping for, one encouraging sign is that he was a bit above average at the faceoff dot. That’s an area that has been a weakness for him throughout his NHL career so if that can be maintained, it will make him even more useful in those close late-game situations while also taking some pressure off Monahan at the dot.
Stats: 9 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, -1 rating, 4 PIMS, 23 shots, 20:59 ATOI, 52.1% faceoffs