Each week we take an in-depth look at young members of the organization while providing an overview of Habs prospects playing at the junior (OHL, WHL) and collegiate (NCAA) level.
Allan McShane picked up nine points over seven games in the last two weeks, continuing his productive stretch of the past few months where he has started to show his skills with more regularity.
The Habs forward prospect, acting centreman for the Oshawa Generals, is a shifty and agile stickhandler who can make plays in tight spaces. He doesn’t need the perfect feed to create scoring opportunities, as the puck sent in his general direction is often enough to have him take control of it and create offensively.
McShane can receive and pass with his backhand or forehand just as effectively, and even if the puck arrives behind him, he can one-touch it up to his stick with deft touches or his skates.
In the above clips, McShane makes the most out of bad passes, turning those into scoring chances and goals. He manipulates the opposition to get their sticks out of passing lanes, using stick-lifts while shuffling the puck, or baiting defenders into lunging for it, only to slide the puck to a teammate.
The prospect is a quick thinker. His stickhandling abilities along with his ability to process the game at high speed turns into impressive playmaking sequences. For other assists in the past two weeks, he also showed that he can freeze the defence and locate teammates in the corner of his eye, then thread the puck to them through traffic.
McShane shows the same technical abilities and opportunistic mentality in his shots. He isn’t a top sniper in Junior hockey right now, but has emerged as a dual-threat player this season. He is now both a goal-scorer and a playmaker, with 27 goals already — seven more than last year — to go along with his 28 assists.
His goal against the Peterborough Petes was a good example of how he can be lethal with his release. Coming into the offensive zone as a trailing option, he didn’t have a lot of time to receive a pass and fire the puck, but still managed to elevate it above the goalie’s shoulder in the small window the defence gave him.
He picked up the puck on his forehand, placed it in a shooting position and shifted his weight in the same motion, this way applying down pressure to his stick to fire. The puck was on and off his stick in a fraction of a second.
Perhaps, the most important part of that release, and what made it so fast, was McShane keeping his bottom hand in front of his top hand during the whole movement. He didn’t use a long dragged out motion, but instead derived power from the flex of the stick. It did most of the work as the puck was launched toward the net.
He has also shown an ability to one-time pucks this season with slapshots, like he did on his overtime-winner against the Erie Otters, and release in stride while skating to the net.
He is a diverse shooter, and most of all has been less hesitant to use that weapon this season, probably why he has increased his goal total.
He is now up to 3.18 shots per game from his 2.46 last season. Since coming back from the Christmas break, he is almost getting a full shot per game more than last year’s average.
The Oshawa Generals have identified this season and the next as their Cup window. But looking at their moves at the trade deadline, it’s probable that their hopes for a win in the post-season are for next season more than this current one.
Still, they just clinched a playoff spot, and with the performance of their current number-one line, pivoted by McShane, they have remained a threat to teams around the OHL these past few weeks. It will be interesting to see how they match up in the post-season.
Jarret Tyszka, LD, Seattle Thunderbirds
Tyszka was on a pretty big drought in the past couple of weeks, with only one point in seven games. He snapped it with three points in the same number of games this weekend. He also scored his sixth of the season with a slapshot from the point.
Consistency has never really been a strength of the defender, and coming back from injury this season, it probably won’t be the year where he truly finds it.
He remains an effective top-pairing defender for the Seattle Thunderbirds, able to orchestrate the attack and close on opponents to eliminate the offensive threat that they pose.
Tyszka has grown more and more physical with each passing season. At 6’3”, he is unafraid to use his body to seal opponents from the blue paint and pin them against the boards to separate them from the puck.
If he is given a contract by the Montreal Canadiens at the end of this season, he shouldn’t have as much problem adapting to the professional game as other defencemen his age when it comes to strength and board play.
He might not contribute to the offence immediately — Tyszka isn’t touted as an offensive defenceman anyway despite his good shot — or be mistake free, but he should have an ability to contain the opposition in tight spaces.
Samuel Houde, C, Saguenéens Chicoutimi
It continues to be an up-and-down season for Samuel Houde. Right now, he is getting back up after failing to record a point in six straight games.
His goal against the Shawinigan Cataractes was a reminder of what he can do. He attacked with speed on the power play, and much like he did against the Remparts a few weeks ago, picked his spot and beat the goalie cleanly with a powerful release.
Houde also added an assist the following night.
Few players have the tools that Houde possesses. It’s why he was drafted by the Habs. Once again, it remains of question of if he can put them together to find ways to produce consistently. As Chicoutimi clinched a playoff spot, he will be called upon to make a difference for the middle-of-the-pack team in the post-season.
Follow David (@RinksideView) on Twitter for daily prospect updates.
CHL weekly stats
|Cole Fonstad||2018||LW||WHL||Prince Albert||2||0||1||1|
|Josh Brook||2017||RD||WHL||Moose Jaw||3||1||3||4|
CHL season to date
|Joël Teasdale||FA||LW||QMJHL||BLB / ROU||66||43||37||80|
|Nick Suzuki||2017||C/RW||OHL||OS / GUE||59||34||60||94|
|Cole Fonstad||2018||LW||WHL||Prince Albert||67||29||44||73|
|Josh Brook||2017||RD||WHL||Moose Jaw||59||16||59||75|
NCAA weekly stats
|Jack Gorniak||2018||LW||Big Ten||Wisconsin||End of season|
|Ryan Poehling||2017||C||NCHC||St. Cloud State||2||1||0||1|
|Nikolas Koberstein||2014||RD||WCHA||Alaska-Fairbanks||End of season|
|Jordan Harris||2018||LD||Hockey East||Northeastern||2||0||0||0|
NCAA season to date
|Jack Gorniak||2018||LW||Big Ten||Wisconsin||37||4||11||15|
|Ryan Poehling||2017||C||NCHC||St. Cloud State||32||7||23||30|
|Jordan Harris||2018||LD||Hockey East||Northeastern||34||1||11||12|
Cayden Primeau’s weekly stats
Cayden Primeau’s season to date