HabsWorld.net -- 

The month of March saw plenty of Montreal’s prospects finish their regular seasons and get off to a strong start in the playoffs, earning them a spot in our monthly three stars.


1st Star: Jakub Dobes – What a difference a few months can make.  In the first couple of months of the season, Dobes struggled mightily, resulting in Laval losing some games where they were the better team.  Now, the opposite is happening and he’s stealing games that the Rocket had no business getting two points out.  More or less, that helped wipe out some of the bad early losses.  From a development standpoint for Dobes, this has been great as he is now more comfortable at the AHL level while getting exposed to some high-pressure games.  More often than not, the results have been encouraging.

Stats: 11 GP, 6-4-1 record, 2.50 GAA, .916 SV%

2nd Star: Brandon Gignac – On merit, he should have been back up with the Habs at some point last month but the presence of Colin White on the roster allowed him to play an impact role with the Rocket.  Gignac has emerged as a legitimate two-way threat, one that makes him one of Laval’s most valuable players when he’s fully healthy.  Of course, now he’s not fully healthy and they’re certainly missing him for the stretch run.

Stats: 14 GP, 5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points, +5 rating, 10 PIMS, 33 shots

3rd Star: Lias Andersson – It was a tale of two separate parts to the month for Andersson.  In the early going, he was arguably Laval’s best player.  But over the final third, he was largely invisible, being held without a point in the final four games while having a one-game suspension along the way.  That type of inconsistency likely played a role in him not getting a look with the Habs.  I wouldn’t be shocked if he winds up being one and done with the organization as a result, even as a potential restricted free agent.

Stats: 13 GP, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, +2 rating, 23 PIMS, 33 shots

Honourable Mention: Logan Mailloux – I think it would be fair to suggest that Mailloux has started to slow down over these final few weeks.  Of course, that’s also entirely understandable for how much time he missed in junior and is now in his first year in the pros.  The good outweighs the bad and while he was a bit quieter offensively than he has been at times, the defensive play continues to get better.  Merit-wise, he certainly earned the one-game look with Montreal.

Stats: 14 GP, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, -2 rating, 14 PIMS, 22 shots

Other Prospects

1st Star: Owen Beck (Saginaw, OHL) – I know the Spirit loaded up at the trade deadline and being on a stacked roster plays a part but Beck looks like a different player than he was in Peterborough.  He’s more assertive offensively after it felt like he was told to be the two-way player with the Petes.  That probably is still his role in the pros but it’s certainly nice to see that there is some higher-level offence in him amongst his peer group.

Stats: Season: 11 GP, 5 goals, 13 assists, 18 points, +16 rating, 4 PIMS, 34 shots
Playoffs: 2 GP, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 6 shots

2nd Star: Florian Xhekaj (Brantford, OHL) – Suffice it to say, the younger of the Xhekaj brothers finished up the regular season with a bang, notching five points in his last game to pass the point-per-game mark.  I have to admit, I didn’t think he had that type of offence in him, even being one of the bigger and stronger players on the ice.  That translated to a good start to his playoffs before the month ended.  Now, he’s getting a brief look with the Rocket after earning an entry-level deal.  That’s a pretty good outcome for someone who went undrafted the first time around.

Stats: Season: 9 GP, 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points, +2 rating, 17 PIMS, 28 shots
Playoffs: 2 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -1 rating, 7 PIMS, 4 shots

3rd Star: Oliver Kapanen (KalPa, Liiga) – During the regular season, Kapanen was solid but unspectacular when it came to his offensive output.  He played as a second liner and put up numbers commensurate with that type of ice time.  In the playoffs, however, he started off as the top scorer in the league.  Not too shabby.  It seems like he might play in Sweden next season instead of Laval but he might be putting pen to paper on his entry-level deal first, at least.

Stats: Season: 6 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, even rating, 6 PIMS
Playoffs: 7 GP, 5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points, +4 rating, 0 PIMS

Honourable Mention: Lane Hutson (Boston University, NCAA) – While they came up short in the Frozen Four this month, Hutson, as expected, played a big role in getting them to that point.  I’ve run out of ways to say that he has done all he can offensively at that level so it’s a good thing he won’t be at that level anymore having signed with the Habs late in the year.

Stats: 7 GP, 3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points, +8 rating, 2 PIMS