Montreal Canadiens 2019-20 Season Report Card Grades

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 11: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 11: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Leskinen played one handful of games with the Habs this season and gave the impression of being an unpolished rookie, which Joel Bouchard will continue to work on changing next season. The newly-turned 23-year-old Finn has the potential of becoming an NHL regular and has displayed his playmaking ability in the AHL, registering 20 assists in 52 games. As for this NHL season though, he is simply one of the myriads of left-handed defensemen to play a few games in the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge.. . . OTTO LESKINEN. C -

D+. Having had 56 games of NHL experience and being 25-years of age, my expectations for Olofsson were a tad bit higher than they were for Leskinen and I am less forgiving in my evaluation as a result. Yes, Olofsson played just 3 games with the Habs, but he seemed weak and rather ineffective in any of the three zones. While I doubt it, I hope he will be able to forge himself an NHL career, as he has fought through countless injuries and seems to be a rather personable individual. Better luck next year, Gus, and stay healthy!. . . GUSTAV OLOFSSON

. XAVIER OUELLET. B -. The Frenchman played 12 games with the Habs this season after the trading-away of Marco Scandella, recording two assists. The Laval captain actually looked pretty good in the small sample of NHL games he played in this season, keeping the puck out of his net. He sported a +/- of 0, which is surprisingly good for a third-pairing guy, especially considering the team had a record of 4-7-1 in the games he played. His possession metrics were also very good (54.4 CF%). More importantly, though, he seemed to be a consistently solid defenseman, doing exactly what was expected of him, and doing it well. Let us see if he lands a roster spot next season, I for one would not be averse to it at all..

C -. Poor Karl Alzner. On the one hand, it’s hard not to feel bad for the proclaimed nicest guy in hockey and his failure to adapt his game to the league’s progression toward a faster game. On the other, he still is pocketing multiple millions of dollars for playing some pretty poor hockey, mainly in the AHL, and mentoring the young up-and-coming defensemen in the organization’s pipeline. He played just 4 NHL games this season, and looked kind of flat-footed; his play actually closely resembled that of Christian Folin, so make of that what you will. Alzner may very well be bought out this summer, but whether he is or isn’t, I doubt he hits the milestone of 800 career NHL games in his career (he currently sits at 686).. . . KARL ALZNER

When Brett Kulak played alongside Cale Fleury, he resembled any of the previously talked-about AHL defensemen. However, when paired with Jeff Petry, he returned to the strong level of play he displayed last season. How much of the credit for his play he truly deserves is anyone’s guess, as Jeff Petry is an excellent defenseman; but I have decided to give Kulak the benefit of the doubt. While he failed to score a goal this season – unlike the next defenseman we will cover – and he registered just 7 assists in 56 games, he was reliable defensively and managed to transition the play into the offensive zone with more ease than he did last season.. . . BRETT KULAK. B -

B -. I was lucky enough to witness Victor Mete’s (and Nick Suzuki’s) first NHL tally in person, which came in a game against the Minnesota Wild. Following that game, Mete lit the lamp on an additional 3 occasions. He added these to this 7 assists, bringing his point total up to 11 in 51 games. Mete really flourished alongside Jeff Petry (as everyone seems to do) but had his season derailed by injuries. The first one saw him miss 10 games in November and December, which resulted in his demotion to third-pairing minutes for the remainder of the season. The second, an ankle injury, ended his season. While Mete failed to regain his form or his minutes from the opening 26 games, he displayed a new sense of confidence with the puck and in the offensive zone following his first NHL goal, which he will hopefully retain next season.. . . VICTOR METE

A -. Ben Chiarot has proven to have been an excellent offseason acquisition for the Canadiens. He played most of the season on the team’s first defensive pairing alongside Shea Weber and was solid defensively and surprisingly threatening on the attack. He averaged a monstrous 23:08 of ice time per game, way up from his career average of 17:27. Topping his career highs in both goals and points, 9 and 21 respectively, Chiarot was not the player most had expected upon his arrival in Montreal. He also shared the team-lead in game-winning goals, with 3. While being given many tough defensive assignments, he also managed a CF% of 54.4; pretty good for a guy most had envisioned to be a career third-pairing player. While he would be a second-pairing player on most competitive teams, he did surprisingly well with the heavy workload of top-pairing minutes!. . . BEN CHIAROT