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Catching the Torch: Daniel Audette heating up in time for the playoffs

Updating you on the progress of the Canadiens junior prospects.

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

The Juniors Report

The Montreal Canadiens organization currently features 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 from March 14-20:

Weekly stats
Player League GP G A PTS PIM
Daniel Audette (C) QMJHL 3 3 0 3 4
Jeremiah Addison (RW) OHL 3 1 1 2 4
Simon Bourque (D) QMJHL 2 0 2 2 0
Matt Bradley (C) WHL 1 0 1 1 0
Noah Juulsen (D) WHL 3 0 0 0
0
Jake Evans (C) NCAA 0 0 0 0 0
Nikolas Koberstein (D) NCAA 0
0 0 0 0
Goalie League GP W L OTL GAA Save % SO
Hayden Hawkey NCAA 0 0 0 0 - -
0
Michael McNiven OHL 2 1 1 0 4.50 .847 0

Jeremiah Addison: It was another decent performance for the Ottawa 67's forward as he rounded out his regular season in the OHL. He opened by scoring a goal in a 5-3 win over the Barrie Colts, then picked up an assist in a 5-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs before being held without a point in his final game, a 4-2 win over the Oshawa Generals. The Niagara IceDogs will serve as Ottawa's opponent when the OHL Playoffs begin.

Addison finished with 27 goals and 29 assists in 66 games, setting new career highs in both offensive categories while posting a 0.89 points per game average, moving up from his 0.75 average of his draft season. Given the expected scoring levels of even defensive players to make the NHL, another significant improvement will be expected next season.

Daniel Audette: Just in time for the playoffs, the Sherbrooke Phoenix forward is showing signs of a scoring streak. He scored a goal in each of his three games, all 5-2 losses: to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Shawinigan Cataractes, and Victoriaville Tigres. Audette's team will now face off against the Cataractes in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs.

Audette's injury-shortened season saw him collect 22 goals and 37 assists in 59 games, calculating to a notably disappointing 1.13 points per game average, which trails the 1.22 average he put up in his previous season. There is of course the possibility he goes on a notable playoff run, but the progression one expects from a player in their fourth major junior season was not seen on the scoresheet.

Simon Bourque: The Rimouski Oceanic captain had a productive final week of the QMJHL regular season. He marked an assist in both a 4-2 loss and a 5-1 victory in a home-and-away series with the Quebec Remparts. Rimouski will battle the Charlottetown Islanders in a first-round playoff matchup.

Bourque's 12 goals and 34 assists during the season were both personal bests, and place him ninth overall in defensive scoring in the QMJHL. He had 10 goals and 28 assists in his draft year last season. That offensive gain is more impressive when you discover that his team scored 71 fewer goals this year versus last.

Matt Bradley: The Medicine Hat Tigers forward played just one game, marking an assist in a 9-3 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. His team will need to play a wild-card single-elimination game versus the Edmonton Oil Kings to determine which club will become the eighth seed of the WHL's Eastern Conference. If successful, the Tigers will then go into the first round of the playoffs versus the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Bradley made gains on his previous season's work, with 23 goals and 28 assists with a growth to a .75 points per game average versus the previous season average of .56. An expectation of a point-per-game pace in the junior ranks from even defensive prospects to show NHL viability means Bradley has much more work to do.

Noah Juulsen: Juulsen's final week of the WHL went the way much of his season did, with little to no mention on the scoresheet. He went without a point in all three of his games: a 3-2 overtime loss to the Spokane Chiefs, a 4-2 loss to the Victoria Royals, and a 4-1 loss in a rematch versus the Royals.

Juulsen's Everett Silvertips will open the WHL Playoffs with a series versus the Portland Winterhawks.

The last first-round pick in the Canadiens organization finishes the season with seven goals and 21 assists in 63 games for a 0.44 points per game average, which is a rather dramatic drop versus his previous season rate of 0.76.

It should be noted that Everett had an extreme drop in their scoring versus last season, scoring 60 fewer goals, but his rank of third-highest producer among defencemen on his own team (after being first on the team last year) is arguably a real point of concern.

Jake Evans: Evans waited to see if his NCAA season was over, but he enjoyed good news as the University of Notre Dame was selected to play in the primary NCAA Hockey Tournament. The single-elimination tournament will begin next week with Notre Dame's first opponent being the University of Michigan.

Nikolas Koberstein: The rookie season of Koberstein with the University of Alaska Fairbanks is over and it was a forgettable campaign. He scored one goal and one assist in 23 games this season and was scratched 12 times. Barring sudden great leaps in his progress, his likelihood to forge a pro hockey career is extremely low.

Hayden Hawkey: While it has been a season of bench-warming for the Providence College netminder, the potential continues to live on that he will play with Providence having been selected for the main NCAA Hockey Tournament, as the possibility always remains he will fill in if things go off the rails in the single-elimination tournament. Their first opponent in the tournament will be the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Michael McNiven: It was something of an inglorious end of McNiven's regular season with the Owen Sound Attack. He started off well enough, stopping 19 of 21 shots in a 5-2 win over the Guelph Storm. His final game did not go nearly as well and featured a questionable decision to leave him in net for the entire game as Owen Sound was routed 7-3 by the Kitchener Rangers. The Attack will have a tough first-round matchup in the OHL playoffs, drawing the powerhouse London Knights.

McNiven finishes the season with a .902 save percentage, a significant drop versus his previous season level of .914. While he did play in 53 games this past season versus 24 the previous year, the drop can be labeled as concerning. McNiven's save percentage ranked 14th among OHL goaltenders.

Season Stats to Date:

Player League GP G A PTS PIM
Daniel Audette (C) QMJHL 52 22 37 59 53
Simon Bourque (D) QMJHL 66 12 34 46 50
Jeremiah Addison (RW) OHL 65 27 29 56 72
Matt Bradley (C) WHL 68 23 28 51 35
Noah Juulsen (D) WHL 63 7 21 28 37
Jake Evans (C) NCAA 36 8 25 33 29
Nikolas Koberstein (D) NCAA 23 1 1 2 8
Goalie League GP W L OTL GAA Save % SO
Hayden Hawkey NCAA 4 2 0 0 1.98 .932 1
Michael McNiven OHL 53 21 18 10 2.94 .902 3