NHL Player of the Month: Artturi Lehkonen
The month of November wasn’t a good one for the Montreal Canadiens. They played 14 games and won just four of them, never stringing two victories together. The story was punctuated by the firing of the general manager and the resignation of his assistant, with the search for a new man to handle transactions now the top priority.
Through it all, Artturi Lehkonen brought a steady effort and consistent production, and earned a promotion to Nick Suzuki’s line.
He is the type of player able to make an impact on the ice even when he’s not recording points, which has been often in a career that hasn’t hit the offensive promise he once showed. When he’s on the ice the puck is usually on the perimeter of his own zone or deep within the opponent’s, so he’s typically around an even goal differential despite his offensive struggles, and November was no exception despite his team being outscored 51-36 overall.
With just a minute of power-play time all month long, the majority of his work was on the penalty kill (the most-used forward at 19:46), and at five-on-five. All of his nine points came with both teams playing at full strength, three better than the player behind him. He also exits the month on a hot streak, with three goals in his last five games played.
Honourable mention: Josh Anderson
The player Lehkonen finished ahead of in five-on-five points was Anderson, who happened to lead the team with five goals in November, two of them empty-netters in the same game. Even so, Anderson was one of the more noticeable players for the team, and took a leading role in trying to turn the team around, backing up comments about veterans needing to step up with his best play of the year. He’s nearly impossible to deal with when he’s on top of his game, and now the challenge will be to carry that forward.
Player to watch: Ryan Poehling
Poehling was the AHL player to watch when we wrote this article last month, and that momentum earned him a call-up to the NHL after he wasn’t able to earn that spot in training camp. He played mostly in a fourth-line role in his 10 games in the big leagues, but that didn’t deter him from playing offensively, racking up four goals in just over 100 minutes played. As focus shifts to the future, he should get more opportunities to show what he has to offer.
AHL Player of the Month: Laurent Dauphin
The Laval Rocket have had veterans and prospects out of the lineup on a near-regular basis through the first two months, and are having a very up-and-down season because of it. One of the few consistent pieces throughout has been Laurent Dauphin, who has been a model of solid play since he was acquired for Michael McCarron a few seasons ago.
In the month of November, he tallied four more goals and added two assists to continue his strong season for the Rocket. His 10 goals on the season rank second in the entire AHL, just one behind the league leader. It’s an impressive feat considering he’s not getting a boost from the Rocket’s woeful power play.
When the Rocket have found themselves in crucial situations, it’s been Dauphin getting out there and making amazing things happen. Against Bridgeport, Dauphin set up the game-tying goal from Xavier Ouellet, and then won the game in overtime with an incredible solo effort.
Larry Dolphins ladies and gentlemen...What an effort for the OT winner. pic.twitter.com/FCNZnAWlrY— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) November 13, 2021
When it comes to discussing who should get a look in Montreal in the near-future, Dauphin has to be at the top of the list. The effort is there, and the Rocket are leaning heavily on him while some of the other veteran names have struggled. Given the change in the front office in Montreal, it’s not out of the question to think the new regime might be interested in what Dauphin can do in the NHL soon.
European Prospect of the Month: Frederik Dichow
‘The Gnome’ has been outstanding in the net for a team that many thought would struggle at the bottom of the table. Playing most of his games in front of the partisan and fanatic home crowd seems to have elevated his game. It seems to give the goalie an added focus, and he thrives off the crowd.
Over the games in November, Dichow had four wins and no losses as well as one game with no decision that he came into in relief. His save percentage is .959 and he has 1.20 goals-against average. His best performance was helping to beat the top club, both financially and talent wise, HV71, with an outstanding 34 saves and a .971 save percentage performance.
He is one of the big reasons why Kristianstad is residing at the sixth spot in the table, and earns his second nomination this season as the organizational player of the month with ease. It’s entirely possible he will be able to sweep the player rankings this season, because at the moment none of the other European prospects can come close to challenging him for the position.
North American Prospect of the Month: Jan Mysak
Mysak’s game in November has drastically improved compared to his previous month, as the prospect has netted 11 goals and added seven assists in his last 10 games. This brings his season total up to a team-leading 28 points in 19 matchups, and his 15 goals in that span are the highest total on the Bulldogs by a margin of five. The winger scored two goals in five of those games, regularly finding the back of the net due to his smart off-puck routes, his give-and-go playmaking skills, and his ability to fire the puck quickly off either leg.
The main concern with Mysak is his consistency, which was definitely lacking in October. He was held pointless in five of his first 10 games of the season, managing only nine points in that span. If Mysak can manage to take his production rate from November and run with it, he’ll show up a lot more often on this list.