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Last month saw some different Laval players make a good case to be recalled to the Habs while several others made strong impressions in their respective stretch runs, earning a spot in our monthly three stars.


1st Star: Jakub Dobes – At the beginning of the season, Dobes looked overmatched.  While that was a bit disappointing, it also wasn’t entirely surprising as it was his first taste of the pros.  Now, he looks a lot more comfortable and was a big factor in Laval having a bounce-back month.  Only two of his games had a save percentage below .923 in the month.  He’s still a little too active for my liking which can get him into trouble but that’s never not going to be part of his game.  But now, Dobes looks like a legitimate starter for the Rocket, quite the turnaround in a pretty short stretch.  That’s an impressive jump in his first year.

Stats: 9 GP, 4-3-1 record, 2.21 GAA, .926 SV%, 1 SO

2nd Star: Philippe Maillet – Laval’s top scorer for the second straight month, Maillet continued to perform like the top centre he was brought back from the KHL to be.  While I know he’s not exactly the type of player who’d fit on a fourth line (over someone like Brandon Gignac, for example), I’m still a bit surprised he wasn’t given an opportunity, even if just for a couple of games.  Maillet will certainly be counted on for the stretch run if the Rocket can get back into the playoff picture.

Stats: 11 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, -5 rating, 26 shots, 0 PIMS

3rd Star: Lias Andersson – Another player that I’m surprised hasn’t at least had a brief stint with the big club, Andersson had a decent month offensively to land him here.  I’d have liked to see him be a bit more assertive offensively, even from a middle-six role but that’s about the only thing I can quibble about.  As a point producer who is serviceable in his own end, Andersson has been as advertised lately.

Stats: 10 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, -2 rating, 17 shots, 2 PIMS

Honourable Mention: Xavier Simoneau – I found him more noticeable than Andersson most nights and the offensive numbers are pretty much the same.  But the reason he’s not higher is the penalties.  I know he plays with an edge but he needs to learn to rein in the temper at times so he’s not putting the team shorthanded as often.  That’s part of the development process and there’s a lot to like otherwise but the penalties are a big problem.  Unfortunately, he won’t get a chance to work on that the rest of the way as he’s now out for the season.

Stats: 11 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, -4 rating, 16 shots, 22 PIMS

Other Prospects

1st Star: Florian Xhekaj (Brantford, OHL) – Full credit to Xhekaj, he has gotten steadily better as the season has gone along.  He’s gotten more comfortable in a scoring role and while his recent shooting percentage is unsustainable, the fact he’s becoming a real threat over just being a physical player is a promising sign.  I’m also intrigued by his improvements at the faceoff dot which could be useful down the road.

Stats: 12 GP, 11 goals, 4 assists, 15 points, +3 rating, 43 shots, 21 PIMS, 53.7% faceoffs

2nd Star: Owen Beck (Saginaw, OHL) – It turns out that the change of scenery was exactly what Beck needed to get going offensively as he has been averaging over 1.5 points per game since being moved after the World Juniors.  Part of that is being on a more talented team but he deserves a lot of credit as well.  The Spirit appear to be poised for a long playoff run heading into the Memorial Cup and Beck should be a big part of their run.

Stats: 11 GP, 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points, 6+ rating, 46 shots, 4 PIMS, 51.5% faceoffs

3rd Star: Yevgeni Volokhin (Mamonty Yugry, MHL) – It’s always difficult to evaluate players in lower-level leagues and Russia’s junior league qualifies as that.  However, Volokhin has consistently been one of the top netminders in the league all season and saved his best regular season month for last.  It’s unfortunate that he has basically platooned for the bulk of the season but Volokhin has shown that he is a very intriguing goalie prospect for the Canadiens.

Stats: 6 GP, 5-1-0 record, 1.19 GAA, .951 SV%, 2 SO

Honourable Mention: Filip Eriksson (Nybro, Allsvenskan) – The decision to send Eriksson down from the SHL midseason had to have been disappointing for him but from a development standpoint, it might have been the best thing for him.  In recent weeks, he has had a chance to showcase his offensive game compared to just playing limited defensive minutes and the results were impressive.  An under-the-radar prospect, Eriksson’s stock is also on the rise.

Stats: 10 GP, 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points, even rating, 2 PIMS