The Montreal Canadiens may not have a shot at making the playoffs this year, but you wouldn’t know that if you looked at their effort last night. A particularly noteworthy effort was provided by one Charles Hudon. The Laval Rocket standout made a pretty compelling case to stay in the Habs’ top-six for the remainder of this year.
In his time with the big club this year, Hudon has mostly been relegated to fourth line duties. He did play most of his minutes with Jake Evans and Dale Weise last night, but once Tomas Tatar left the game with an injury, he got to spend some time in the top-six as well.
Evans, Weise, and Hudon, as a trio, managed only 33.33% corsi-for at five-on-five, so it was a rough night for that line. Hudon’s individual mark, however, improved to 57.14% on the night thanks to his time away from the fourth line. He flourished when given any opportunity to play with more skilled linemates.
If there is a place that a scoring forward like Hudon belongs, well, it would be easy to argue for anything but the fourth line.
He showed off some serious skill late in the first to make it 3-0 for his team. Pouncing on a turnover in the offensive zone, he let loose a ridiculously quick shot that went bar-down, and ultimately chased Thomas Greiss from the game heading into the second.
And though this was quite the gorgeous goal, his efforts went beyond that. The Canadiens have had some well-documented trouble holding on to leads this season, and Hudon played as if he was protecting a lead in the cup finals. He was sacrificing his body to make stellar plays, and he made a big difference in the team’s ability to hold on to this one.
On several occasions, he took the puck into the offensive corner, and held it there against several defenders. One one of those occasions, he actually ended up freezing the puck, as the refs had to blow the play dead due to the defence’s inability to move him off the puck. It was quite impressive for a diminutive forward.
There may be no playoff hockey in Montreal this year, but this could be an extended audition for Hudon. If he can build on last night’s game, and keep impressing with the time he has left, he could set himself up for a more permanent roster spot next year in Montreal. That being said, Laval may have playoff hockey they’d need him for, and he has been that team’s best player all year.
But when you look at his production with the Rocket, and his effort last night, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve a real chance at the NHL.