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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Hudon is one case where I am taking his AHL production into account. His 1-1-2 totals through 15 NHL games would certainly not warrant him a C+, but his 27 AHL goals hugely helped Laval out and showed that, while he might need that extra split second of time that is simply not available in the NHL, he can score when not in a checking role. I think that if given the chance to play in the top-9, he may be a rather useful player for the Canadiens.. . . CHARLES HUDON. C+

B -. It was a tale of two Byrons this season, pre and post-injury. Unlike most such scenarios, pre-injury Byron was ineffective, slow – by his standards – and seemed rather lost out there; whereas post-injury Byron was a man on a mission, scoring three goals and three assists in ten games, while his season totals of 4-6-10 through 29 contests is rather unimpressive. Due to recency bias, I am giving Byron a higher grade than his stats would deem fair. Upon his return from injury, Byron also lifted Domi’s game to the dominant level it can reach. Byron’s speed gave Domi more space to operate with and allowed him to more effectively use his skillset.. . . PAUL BYRON

B+. Jonathan Drouin started off the season playing some good hockey, some really, really good hockey; so good in fact, his play prompted me to purchase my first hockey jersey in years… with number 92 on the back. He dictated the pace of the game and rushed up the ice with a decisive stride; he was quite often not only the most talented player on the ice but the best. He was exactly what Habs fans had hoped he would one day become. But this stretch of 19 games came to an abrupt end in Washington, with the combination of a huge Alex Ovechkin hit and a subsequent wrist injury. His departure was immediately followed by an 8-game losing streak. He returned on February 8th and played eight games before being sidelined one final time. He seemed to not have been fully recovered and struggled with the pace of the play. I am grading him on the optimistic – and perhaps naive – assumption that the real Drouin was the one we saw through the first 19 games and not the one from last season.. . . JONATHAN DROUIN

. ARTTURI LEHKONEN. B. Lehkonen is unfortunately not the sniper fans had envisioned following his debut season, but he is a player that excels at just about every aspect of the game apart from point-production. He can protect the puck, forecheck, backcheck, play on the penalty-kill, transition the play from defence to offence and he can apply pressure to keep the puck in the opposing zone. This makes him an excellent bottom-6 player; and if he does end up finding that scoring touch, he will become a shoo-in for top-6 minutes..

. . TOMAS TATAR. A+. Remember when I stated that Nick Suzuki was “almost the only A+ of the season”? To the surprise of very few, everyone’s favourite Tuna is the other deserving recipient of this prestigious award. Tatar – who started off the season overshadowing his production with unnecessary penalties – finished the year with 22 goals and 61 points in 68 games, leading the second-best point-producer (Danault) by 14 points. Just like Gallagher and Danault, Tatar’s CF% percentage is ridiculously good, at 61.2. For the record, this stat measures the number of shots taken by one’s team when the player in question is on the ice compared to the total number of shots taken when the player is on the ice. Tatar, Danault and Gallagher are the league’s three leaders in this specific stat among players having participated in more than 30 games; the fourth-best is Max Pacioretty. While this is definitely down to the fact that Claude Julien’s system has our top line just rifling pucks at the net, it is also telling that the line can hold off the attack of the league’s top lines in terms of shot generation. Back to Tatar, he was tied for the 32nd top scorer in the league with obscure names such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Matthew Tkachuk, Andrei Svechnikov, Ryan O’Reilly and Travis Konecny; not half bad for a player considered to be a cap dump a year and a half ago.