Despite having two goals in his first five games, Charles Hudon was a healthy scratch for three contests earlier this month. The removal from the lineup came after a pre-season spent answering questions about his place within a revamped Montreal Canadiens team.
On Tuesday night, despite being deployed on the fourth line, Hudon was Montreal’s best player. He was everywhere in the offensive zone in a first period controlled by the Habs, even getting a healthy dose of power-play time.
He had a season-high four shots on net — three from the slot — and six scoring chances, but like everyone not named Brendan Gallagher was unable to turn on the red light.
His play was noticed by the coaching staff, who made sure to get him time on more offensive lines throughout the game. While he still played the majority of his 11:56 with Nicolas Deslauriers and Matthew Peca, he also saw shifts with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia. When Paul Byron was ruled out of action for the final period with a lower-body injury, Hudon was placed with Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin for a few presences as part of the necessary lineup shuffle.
Getting his first full season of NHL time last season, Hudon responded with a 10-goal campaign, and probably should have had at least double that total with a bit more luck and playmakers of the calibre the team now employs. Should he continue to play as he did last night, while also being used alongside players with the skill to complement his abilities, there’s plenty of offence to come off Hudon’s stick in 2018-19.