With Torrey Mitchell placed on the Injured Reserve list, the Montreal Canadiens decided to call-up Sven Andrighetto from the St. John's IceCaps on Friday evening.
Whether he sees ice time or not, this is a great opportunity for Andrighetto to further prove his worth to the organization and to learn from the veterans on the team.
Andrighetto played 12 games with the Canadiens last season while Lars Eller was out with an injury. During that stint, Andrighetto saw some decent ice time and managed to score his first NHL goal alongside Tomas Plekanec. The youngster netted another goal and had an assist to give him three points in those 12 games. How has he been looking so far this season in St. John's? Pretty damn good.
As we can see from the table above, Andrighetto has had two solid seasons in the AHL, averaging 0.71 points per game. Despite a small sample size so far this season, Andrighetto shows no sign of slowing down and is averaging 0.88 points per game, with six goals in 17 games.
Andrighetto is an exceptional skater and has a very sneaky and accurate shot. As was noted last season, Andrighetto needed to work on his defensive ability and was moved to a 'safer' line with Plekanec for this reason. I would argue that calling up Andrighetto was the best move for the Canadiens to make in this particular situation.
For a younger athlete looking to secure a spot with a main club, a call-up means a few things:
- The athlete's performance has impressed management at a higher level.
- It gives the athlete an opportunity to work closely with veteran NHL players.
Obviously any athlete wants to perform well and impress his coaching staff. But when an AHL athlete impresses management at level higher than the one he's currently competed at, the benefits can be endless. Perhaps most important, it shows the athlete that he is on upper management's radar — in a good way. This can help motivate a player to maintain his current level of athletic performance, creating a positive cycle; the better the performance, the higher likelihood of call-ups when required, leading the athlete to feel motivation to maintain said performance.
When an AHL athlete has the opportunity to work closely with a veteran NHL player, he can learn what is required at an elite level. Andrighetto was fortunate enough to play 12 games with the club last season and spent some time alongside Plekanec. While I argue that Andrighetto is certainly no stranger to the requirements of the NHL, getting another chance to work with some of the Montreal veterans will only encourage that higher level of play. In addition, call-ups help reinforce a relationship between the call-up athlete and the rest of the club.
A player with clear offensive talent, Andrighetto fills a void caused by Mitchell's injury. Whether he sees ice time or not, a call-up from the main club is a huge opportunity for any athlete. This is a chance for Andrighetto to further prove his worth and help solidify himself as a front runner for a roster spot in the future. Where do you think he slots in, if at all?