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Catching the Torch: Jeremiah Addison finding his groove

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A weekly update on the progress of the Canadiens’ prospects.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Each week we will take an in-depth look at one young member of the organization, while providing an overview on performances over the last seven days of players below the NHL level. This includes players at the junior (CHL, USHL, etc.) and collegiate (NCAA) levels, as well as professional (AHL, ECHL) ranks.

Prospect Spotlight: Jeremiah Addison, LW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2015, Jeremiah Addison has shown far better promise than his draft spot would indicate in every Montreal Canadiens’ camp he has attended. This year, as a just-turned-20-year-old, the hard-working two-way winger is putting up the points to reinforce his potential.

Lining up for the Windsor Spitfires together with 2016 first-rounder Logan Brown and top 2017 prospect Gabriel Vilardi, Addison began the season on a line looking poised to dominate the OHL. The three were on fire out of the gates, and Addison collected nine points over his first four games.

Unfortunately, the dominance didn’t last, and as the club hit a rough patch, head coach Rocky Thompson split the trio up. This week, Addison began to find chemistry with his new linemates — Julius Nättinen (Anaheim 2015 second-rounder), brother of former Hab Joonas, and Cole Carter (undrafted 18-year old) — resulting in a goal Thursday (empty netter) and two more on Saturday night.

Associate coach Trevor Letowski commented on the change after Saturday’s game, telling the Windsor Star that the team had “relied way too much on our skill, but our overall game was lacking.” The new balanced units give the Memorial Cup hosts, who will soon also be bolstered by the return of defenceman Mikhail Sergachev, a formidable offence that won’t be shut down be a single top pairing.

Addison didn’t see the move to the second line as a demotion, telling the Star on Thursday that, “everyone’s good on this team. We just have to continue to work on chemistry. I thought we were able to get some secondary scoring, which we haven’t had a lot of.”

While he has shown flashes of skills, it is his willingness to get his nose dirty that gives the 6’0” winger an edge over fellow big-league aspirants. He compares in many ways to fellow Hab prospect Daniel Carr, consistently hounding pucks and going to the tough areas of the ice where good things tend to happen.

At 20, Addison should be expected to produce big numbers in the OHL, so while his 13 points in 9 games to date are a nice improvement over last season’s clip, they aren’t totally unexpected, especially on such a strong Spitfires team. What his production should do, however, is ensure the Canadiens sign him to an entry-level deal at year’s end, setting him up to play in the AHL next year. If his development curve continues as it has, two AHL seasons may be enough to put him in serious conversation for a job on a third or fourth line with the big club.

Performances from October 24-30, 2016

CHL

Simon Bourque remains a consistent producer on a talented Rimouski squad, despite the team going just 1-2-0 this week. Bourque got his side on the board Thursday night after they had fallen behind 3-0 to Chicoutimi. His powerplay tally seemed to give some life to the Oceanic in the middle stanza, but a strong third period from the Sags closed the game out, with a 5-2 final score. Friday’s game had a similar story, with Rimouski falling behind early, a powerplay point (assist) from Bourque breaking their goose egg, but once again ultimately they were downed with an identical 5-2 outcome.

Determined not to make it three in a row, the Oceanic got off to a better start Sunday, and it was again Bourque on the powerplay contributing to his team’s first marker, credited with the primary assist on Antoine Dufort-Plante’s goal. The Remparts gave the Oceanique a scare in this one, erasing a 3-1 third period deficit, but Rimouski prevailed in overtime to secure their only win of the week.

Also this week, Bourque became the fifth Habs prospect to be named to the Canadian side as part of team QMJHL for the Canada-Russia Super Series.

Noah Juulsen scored his fifth goal of the season, putting him more than halfway to his career high of nine reached two seasons ago, and this in only eleven games. Down 1-0 in the second period Saturday night, the Silvertips had an extra skater out due to a delayed penalty call which helped Juulsen sneak his way into an open lane and take a backdoor pass from Patrick Bajkov. Juulsen beat goaltender Griffen Outhouse (unfortunate family name) to tie the game, but the Victoria Royals’ netminder got the upper hand on the Everett captain in the game’s final minute, when Juulsen nearly prevented overtime with a one-timer attempt. The Silvertips did end up winning 2-1 thanks to a Connor Dewar tally in the extra frame.

In addition to his goal, Juulsen - who will be in a battle to earn a spot on Canada’s back end for the World Juniors - was also honoured to be named the captain of Team WHL for the Canada-Russia super series. He currently ranks third in points on the Everett roster.

Victor Mete’s explosive start to the season cooled off a little this week, following his nomination to Team OHL for one half of the Ontario portion of the upcoming Canada-Russia Super Series. Mete was held scoreless while his team picked up three of a possible four points, finishing with a total of three shots and a +3 rating.

Matt Bradley added a couple of helpers to his point total, both coming on Max Gerlach powerplay tallies in a pair of Medicine Hat wins. Bradley’s undrafted 18-year old teammate now has nine goals in fifteen games, as many teams may be regretting passing on the 5’9” forward, as the pair have helped lead the Tigers to the top spot in the WHL’s Central Division in the early-going. Bradley’s 16 points on the year have him tied for third on the club.

Will Bitten had a slower week offensively after being named to Team OHL as part of the upcoming Canada-Russia Super Series, held pointless in a 5-4 loss and 4-2 win. Bitten hovers at just below 50% on the face-off dot for the season, but had a tough time there in Sunday’s victory, going 4-for-17. Bitten could be in contention as a long-shot wild card for a fourth-line energy role with Team Canada at the World Juniors, but he’ll need to produce more consistently to earn that opportunity,

Michael Pezzetta isn’t off to the start he might have hoped for, with his early season disrupted as the result of a suspension, and his offensive contributions have been streaky at best. He was another prospect held scoreless this week, that in a Sudbury 3-1 loss and 4-1 win.

NCAA

Nikolas Koberstein and Alaska Fairbanks earned a split with Lake Superior State, now 3-5-0 on the season. Koberstein didn’t register any points, but was a combined +1, with two penalty minutes and a shot on goal.

Casey Staum had a tough weekend in a pair of Dubuque losses. Friday night, with the Fighting Saints already down 2-1, Staum was assessed a four minute double minor for head contact, putting his team in a tough situation. Waterloo wouldn’t take advantage of it, however, taking two penalties of their own, but managing to deliver a deathblow nonetheless with a shorthanded goal as the insurance marker. In the rematch on Saturday, Staum was on the ice for three goals against (one on the powerplay), finishing a -2 in a 5-4 shootout defeat.

Colin Sullivan spent another week on a blue-line rotation with Miami, sitting out in a 2-1 overtime win on Friday, and finishing a -1 with no points in a 4-1 loss on Saturday.

Jake Evans enjoyed another productive week as Notre Dame split games with the University of Connecticut. On Thursday, Evans pulled his side back within one in the third period, while leading the Irish with nine shots on goal. Still, they came up on the wrong end of a 4-2 final. They’d get their revenge the following evening, with Evans assisting on a Cam Morrison (Colorado 2016 second round) second period goal that staked Notre Dame a 2-0 lead, on route to a 6-2 win.

AHL/ECHL

After a strong camp with the Canadiens, Daniel Audette was slow to get going in his pro rookie season. But he broke out this weekend, collecting an assist as second-line centre in Friday’s win, and then scoring his first AHL goal on Saturday playing on the third line.

Winger Nikita Scherbak had a tally in each of this weekend’s games, flanking Audette in one game and alternating between Audette and Mike McCarron in the other. His goal Friday came late in the first period with Rochester ahead 2-0, starting a comeback in what would ultimately be a 5-3 IceCaps victory.

Charles Hudon and Sven Andrighetto - while both dangerous - had quieter weeks, with the former held scoreless and the latter picking up a lone goal. Daniel Carr, meanwhile, was pointless in his AHL debut for the season.

For more on the IceCaps play this weekend, check out the EOTP AHL Hub.

Goaltenders

Charlie Lindgren remained perfect for his AHL career, backstopping the IceCaps to a comeback win Friday. For his 32 stops on 35 shots, Lindgren was named the game’s third star in the home opener, as the local fans were treated to the baby Habs erasing 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to triumph 5-3.

Michael McNiven sandwiched a weaker performance between two strong ones this week, with his only off-night a 3-1 loss to Guelph on Friday, in a game where Owen Sound held a 42-29 shot advantage. In a 5-2 win on Wednesday, McNiven was named second star thanks to his 30 stops, and the netminder ended the week as third star in a 2-1 overtime win over Niagara Saturday.

As predicted, Zachary Fucale was assigned to the Brampton Beast of the ECHL so he could get more playing time instead of sitting behind Lindgren and Yann Danis. In his only game, Fucale collected his first ECHL win 4-3 in a shootout with 31 saves, giving Brampton their first home victory of the season.

Hayden Hawkey registered his first shutout of the season, making 21 saves in a 6-0 victory over Brown on Sunday. In his other outing, Hawkey turned in a respectable performance with 27 stops on 30 shots, but was outduelled by Toronto Maple Leafs 2016 third-rounder Joseph Woll, resulting in a 3-1 loss.