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After years of setbacks, Joël Teasdale has found his form

On pace for a career year in Laval, can Joël Teasdale become the next Rocket success story?

Club de Hockey Canadien

Twelve seconds into Monday afternoon’s contest against the Belleville Senators, Joël Teasdale buried his 18th goal of the year. He had crashed in hard on the forecheck, stealing the puck off a Belleville Senators player before neatly tucking it home.

Teasdale finding the back of the net isn’t a surprising sight for fans of the Rocket these days, as the stout winger has become an unstoppable force for Laval since the turn of the year. It is a welcome relief for Teasdale who has dealt with a pair of serious knee injuries that have robbed him of many prime development years. It’s also a relief for head coach J.-F. Houle, who is operating without a number of his key players thanks to the Montreal Canadiens’ injury crisis.

When he’s been healthy, Teasdale has provided secondary offence, pacing at below a point per game, but not by much. However, whenever he seemed to be finding his call-up form, injuries, COVID, or something else prevented him from earning that first NHL game.

This year, everything feels different for Teasdale and his NHL hopes. The Canadiens will lose bodies around the trade deadline, (or to more injuries), and given the success of recent AHL call-ups like Alex Belzile and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, there is nothing for the Canadiens to lose by giving Teasdale the same opportunity.

A significant part of this rebuild is for Kent Hughes, Jeff Gorton, and Martin St-Louis is to fully examine every potential piece and how they might fit into future plans, while giving a chance for players to make their mark. Teasdale is second on the Rocket in goals, just five behind Anthony Richard for the lead, and doing everything for the minor-league club.

His style isn’t one of flash like Jesse Ylönen. Teasdale creates by getting to wherever the puck is, and his goal on Monday was no exception.

It’s not a snipe, it’s just hard work and tenacity, and that’s exactly the kind of effort the Canadiens want as they enter the stretch run of another lottery season. The timing hasn’t lined up in the past for Teasdale thanks to things outside of his control, but this year he’s forcing the Canadiens’ hand, and should soon have the opportunity to don the CH for the first time in his career.