Player of the Week: Jeremy Gregoire
It was a short but brilliant week for the captain of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar as Gregoire continues to lead his team through the QMJHL playoffs. His first game was one of note as he scored the opening goal of the game for his team and followed up by assisting on the game-winning goal in double overtime to give his team a 1-0 series lead over the Val d'Or Foreurs.
His next game saw him match his own career high for points in a playoff game as he recorded his second career playoff hat trick, along with two assists to lead a 9-1 rout of Val d'Or in the following game. Baie-Comeau leads Val d'Or two games to none in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs. Gregoire leads his team in scoring with seven goals and eight assists in seven games. His 15 points have him ranked 2nd in the QMJHL in playoff scoring.
The Juniors Report
The Canadiens currently feature prospects playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the Western Hockey League (WHL), the USHL (United States Hockey League) and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). These leagues can be considered the primary conduit towards professional hockey in North America.
Here's how the players in the aforementioned leagues performed last week:
|Daniel Audette (C)||QMJHL||1||0||2||2||0|
|Jeremy Grégoire (RW)||QMJHL||2||4||3||7||2|
|Michael McCarron (RW)||OHL||2||2||1||3||4|
|Tim Bozon (LW)||WHL||1||0||0||0||0|
|Brett Lernout (D)||WHL||0||0||0||0||0|
|Nikita Scherbak (RW)||WHL||2||2||0||2||2|
|Nikolas Koberstein (D)||USHL||2||0||0||0||10|
|Josiah Didier (D)||NCAA||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jake Evans (C)||NCAA||0||0||0||0||0|
|Mark MacMillan (C)||NCAA||0||0||0||0||0|
Daniel Audette: It was a tough ending for Daniel Audette and the Sherbrooke Phoenix, it was both his first year in the playoffs as well as his organization's. In his only game of the week, Audette scored two assists in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Charlottetown Islanders as Sherbrooke fell four games to two in the opening round of the playoffs. Audette marked two goals and four assists in six playoff games, ranking him third on his team in playoff scoring. His regular season saw him post 29 goals and 44 assists in 60 games, which is noteworthy for his improvement from a .31 to a .48 goals per game average versus the previous season where he scored 21 goals in 68 games.
Michael McCarron: McCarron had a productive week with the Oshawa Generals as they entered the second round of the OHL playoffs versus the Niagara IceDogs. He scored a goal in his first game, a 5-3 win over Niagara. He scored a goal and assist in his second game, a 6-1 win over Niagara. Oshawa leads the playoff series two games to none. McCarron has scored four goals and two assists in seven playoff games.
Tim Bozon: Tim Bozon unfortunately played the final game of his WHL career this past week with the Kootenay Ice. In his only game of the week, Bozon went without a point in a 6-2 loss to the Calgary Hitmen as Kootenay fell in the first round of the playoffs in a Game 7 loss. Bozon finished the playoffs fourth on his team in scoring with three goals and six assists. His regular season saw him post 35 goals and 28 assists in 57 games, making him the goal leader for Kootenay in the regular season. Bozon has since been called up to the Hamilton Bulldogs to play out the remainder of the AHL season.
Brett Lernout: Lernout's WHL season with the Swift Current Broncos has concluded following a first-round playoff series loss to the Regina Pats. Lernout's regular season saw him notably improve over his previous season, with 14 goals and 28 assists compared to the eight goals and 14 assists the previous year. He also reduced his penalty minutes, with only 68 versus the 103 he'd accumulated in 2013-14. For further news this season on Lernout, check out the Bulldogs Report tomorrow as he has joined them for the remainder of their season.
Nikita Scherbak: Scoring has been an elusive matter for Scherbak in the WHL playoffs so far but he made progress with the Everett Silvertips this past week. He went scoreless in his first game a 4-3 triple overtime win over the Spokane Chiefs as Everett took the series four games to two. He went scoreless in his next game, a 5-3 win over the Portland Winterhawks. He scored two goals in the next game, a 4-3 double overtime loss to Portland. Everett is tied 1-1 in their playoff series with Portland. Scherbak has three goals and two assists in eight playoff games.
Nikolas Koberstein: It remains a lackluster season for Koberstein in his rookie USHL campaign. He went without a point in both of his games this past week, a 4-0 over win over the Des Moines Buccaneers and a 3-1 win over the Green Bay Gamblers. He has just four goals and eight assists in 61 games this season.
Josiah Didier: Didier's senior NCAA season has wrapped up, he scored three goals and eight assists in 40 games, which is a rather underwhelming level of production for a senior NCAA defender. With the conclusion of the season, he has signed a pro tryout contract with the Hamilton Bulldogs. See Scott Matla's Bulldogs report tomorrow for details on how his professional debut is going.
Jake Evans: Evans rookie season in the NCAA is over following Notre Dame's elimination from the Hockey East Playoffs and their failure to qualify for the National Tournament. Evans has seven goals and ten assists in 41 games this season, these numbers heavily suffered from a disappointing second half where he had five points in his final 22 games.
Mark MacMillan: MacMillan has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to an undisclosed lower-body injury that required surgery. He finished the season leading his team in goals with 16 and was named First All-Conference for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, along with being named the Best Defensive Forward in the Conference. As of yesterday, the Canadiens have announced the signing of MacMillan to a 2-year Entry-Level Contract.
Hayden Hawkey: Hawkey has unfortunately been ruled out for the remainder of the 2014-15 season due to suffering tears in his Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Medial Collateral Ligament on November 29.
Zach Fucale: It was something of a comeback for Fucale after regaining his spot as starting goalie for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL Playoffs. He allowed four goals on 38 shots in his first game, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. He stopped 21 of 24 shots in the following game, a 6-3 win over Cape Breton as Quebec won the series four games to three. He stopped 29 of 31 shots in the next game, a 7-2 win over the Charlottetown Islanders. He finished the week stopping 32 of 35 shots in a 4-3 overtime win over Charlottetown. Quebec leads Charlottetown two games to none in their series. Fucale's 0.896 save percentage ranks him 9th in playoff save percentage.
The European report:
The SHL is the top professional men's league in Sweden and is at a comparable level to the AHL. Strong play here can often give indications that the player is moving towards being capable of playing in the NHL.
The Extraliga is the top professional men's league in the Czech Republic. While it is not at the level of the SHL, it is still a competitive pro league where solid production would give credence to a player's NHL potential.
Here's how the European prospects performed last week:
|Artturi Lehkonen (LW/RW)||SHL||2||0||1||0||0|
|Joonas Nättinen (C/RW)||SHL||0||0||0||0||0|
|Martin Réway (C/LW)||Extraliga||0||0||0||0||0|
Artturi Lehkonen: Lehkonen's first season in the SHL with Frolunda HC came to an unfortunate end this past week, but not without note. In his first game of the week, Lehkonen set up the game-winning goal in a 1-0 shutout win over Vaxjo Lakers HC. His season unfortunately ended in the following game, a 4-1 loss to Vaxjo as Frolunda fell four games to two in the league semifinals. Lehkonen finished the playoffs with three goals and three assists in 13 games,
Joonas Nättinen: Nattinen ended his regular season with seven goals and 11 assists in 55 games, eighth overall on his team in scoring. Given his being 24 years old and his production at this stage of his pro career, he is very much in the fringe category of Canadiens prospect.
Martin Réway: Reway's season in the Extraliga came to a close this past week with HC Sparta Praha. HC Trinec eliminated Sparta 3-2, winning the playoff series four games to two. Reway was scratched from the game as he was in game five of the series. Reway scored a goal and six assists in eight playoff games and finished third on his team in playoff scoring. Reway's regular season statistics have him at nine goals and 28 assists in 34 games played and was third in scoring for Sparta Praha despite playing at least 12 fewer games than everyone in the top 10 of team scoring. His 1.03 points per game placed him above all players aged under 24 in the Extraliga, despite only turning 20 in January.
Year to date statistics
|Daniel Audette (C)||QMJHL||58||29||44||73||64|
|Jeremy Grégoire (RW)||QMJHL||32||20||21||41||59|
|Michael McCarron (RW)||OHL||56||28||40||68||128|
|Tim Bozon (LW)||WHL||57||35||28||63||19|
|Brett Lernout (D)||WHL||72||14||28||42||68|
|Nikita Scherbak (RW)||WHL||65||27||55||82||60|
|Nikolas Koberstein (D)||USHL||61||4||8||12||138|
|Josiah Didier (D)||NCAA||40||3||8||11||58|
|Jake Evans (C)||NCAA||41||7||10||17||22|
|Mark MacMillan (C)||NCAA||29||16||9||25||27|
|Artturi Lehkonen (LW/RW)||SHL||45||8||8||16||10|
|Joonas Nättinen (C/RW)||SHL||55||7||11||18||36|
|Martin Réway (C/LW)||Extraliga||34||9||28||37||54|