With a new and young season just started in the AHL, I will be giving my 3 stars of the week based on each players performance. Along with the 3 stars I will be giving my ‘honorable mentions’ to 2 or 3 players. This first opening week the dogs went 2-1, winning their season opener in a pretty dominate affair against the Grand Rapid Griffins, then winning their home opener against the rivals Toronto Marlies. Their lost came in the second game of the back-to-back set against the Marlies on the road.
Here are my 3 stars of the week,
1st Star Of The Week: Aaron Palushaj
Palushaj is my 1st star of the week for many reasons. For one he is leading the team in shots, powerplay goals and points through 3 games. Palushaj had a great effort in the season opener scoring 1 goal and amassing 7 shots, he also created space for himself and drove to the net to create opportunities. He also displayed great speed in his second game against the Marlies and put up 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist). Despite losing In last nights game Aaron put up 3 shots and had at least one decent scoring opportunity. Totals (2 goals, 1 assist 15 shots)
2nd Star Of The Week: Frederic St-Denis
Freddy St-Denis is my 2nd star of the week for his excellent defensive play. St-Denis was by far the most controlled and composed player in the first week of play. He displayed many instances of NHL like poise and veteran leadership on the ice by calming down the play at the right times and making the right pass out of the defensive zone. He was the best player in the season opener from both teams and again was a solid player on Saturday against the Marlies at home, both wins. Although he was a -3 rating on Sunday night, he still had a half decent game taking into consideration that the whole team played very poorly. (0 points, +1, 4 shots)
3rd Star Of The Week: Patrick Holland
Holland, one of the many rookies playing in his first year pro really impressed me. He had a good pro debut creating many chances and making some good passes to his line mates, Palushaj, Geoffrion and Bournival. His good efforts payed off in the home opener on Saturday scoring the game winner and adding an assist in a 4-1 win. I also noticed Holland had a knack for passing off certain chances instead of shooting even though he has a great accurate shot that we saw 5 times. Totals (1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots)
Honorable Mentions got out to Louis Leblanc, despite scoring 2 goals in his second game I still think he had a less than spectacular showing in the first game and a poor performance in a 5-0 blowout. Robert Mayer also played great in his first two games stopping 52 of 56 shots in the two appearances, but broke down in the Sunday night game allowing 3 goals on 6 shots.