The Canadian Hockey League playoffs get underway this weekend, with eight Montreal Canadiens prospects taking part on their respective Junior teams.
One of those prospects is Martin Reway, who will suit up for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league when they take on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Reway was a fourth round pick of the Canadiens in the 2013 NHL Draft, after recording 50 points in his 47 game rookie season with the Olympiques.
Reway stepped it up a notch with Gatineau this season, scoring 20 goals and 42 assists for 62 points in just 43 games. The slick Slovakian scorer finished second on the Olympiques in points, trailing only Calgary Flames first round pick Emile Poirier.
Gatineau boasts a deep offensive attack, with Vincent Dunn, Taylor Burke, Vaclav Karabacek and Simon Tardif-Richard all averaging nearly a point per game, to go along with Reway and Poirier who are two of the top scorers in the QMJHL.
Gatineau finished 8th in the QMJHL standings with 86 points, and will face a tough Cape Breton Screaming Eagles team that finished 9th with 78 points. Cape Breton sold off some veterans at the trade deadline but finished the season strong, winning 7 of their last 10 games.
Gatineau have a strong netminder in overage Junior Robert Steeves, and also have a backup with strong family ties in the goaltending world.
Anthony Brodeur, yes the son of legendary NHL goalie Martin, is in his first QMJHL season with the Olympiques. Steeves received the bulk of playing time, especially down the stretch of the regular season, but Gatineau is quite comfortable with either goaltender in this series.
These two teams only met twice during the regular season, with both taking care of business on home ice. The Olympiques shut out the Eagles in Gatineau on February 7th, and Cape Breton returned the favor at Center 200 in Sydney a week later with a 5-4 victory. Reway scored one goal in each contest again the Eagles.
There is not much separating these two teams who are ranked 8th and 9th in the QMJHL standings. Gatineau finished ahead by eight points, but the Eagles responded well after dealing away veterans William Carrier and Loic Leduc in January, finishing the season 16-7-1 in their last 24 games.
The Screaming Eagles, much like Gatineau, have two lines that can score at a furious pace. Cameron Darcy, Charles-Eric Legare and Kyle Farrell each scored 34 goals, and youngsters Julien Pelletier, Maxim Lazarev and Clark Bishop provide a great deal of secondary scoring.
Gatineau and Cape Breton each have identical 23-11-0 records as the home team this season, and I think in the end, home ice advantage will play to the Olympiques favor and they will take an extremely close series.
My prediction: Gatineau wins the series in 7, and Reway dominates scoring 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points.
Tags: Montreal Canadiens