The Montreal Canadiens just might have hit a few home runs during the 2021 NHL Draft. It was a draft overshadowed by the fact they took a player who asked not to be drafted in the first round.
While Logan Mailloux looked like an exceptional prospect in his short audition last season, and the year previous, he isn’t the only future NHL player to be drafted by the Canadiens at last year’s annual event.
In the second round, the Habs grabbed Riley Kidney. The Enfield, Nova Scotia native then exploded for 30 goals and 100 points in 66 games for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan this season. He led the QMJHL in assists with 70, and played a terrific two-way game all season.
In the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Draft, the Habs selected Joshua Roy. The highly skilled player put everything together in the 2021-22 season for the Sherbrooke Phoenix and led the QMJHL in points. He had 51 goals, 68 assists and 119 points in 66 games, and was even better in the playoffs, scoring 23 points in 11 games before losing in the Eastern Conference Final.
Both Kidney and Roy have been called up to the Laval Rocket, and signed professional tryouts for the remainder of this season. They watched as the Rocket advanced to the AHL’s conference final, and continue to watch as the Rocket lost Game 1 last night 2-1 in overtime.
While Laval is on a great playoff run at the moment, they really aren’t filling the opposing net with pucks. A lot of depth, commitment to defence, and terrific goaltending from Cayden Primeau have been the reasons for the Rocket’s success.
After nine playoff games, the Rocket have one player with more than seven points. The Rocket have a fairly veteran-laden lineup, most of whom are players who aren’t piling up much offence. Would it really hurt the Rocket’s chances if they took Peter Abbandonato and Lucas Condotta out of the lineup and added Kidney and Roy?
Abbandonato had a great QMJHL season himself in 2018-19. He scored 111 points in 68 games, but he was an overaged player that season and is now 24 years old. Kidney and Roy both just finished their 18 year old season. At that age, Abbandonato scored 56 points in 64 QMJHL games. Fine production, but a little more than half of Kidney’s current season and less than half of Roy’s at the same age.
There is an old debate about the AHL and whether it is more important to emphasize winning or development of young players. Playing Roy and Kidney would certainly help develop the young players, but adding a pair of 100 point QMJHL guys would likely help the Rocket win as well.
If they could just find a little more scoring, the Rocket would be a real threat to win the Calder Cup. They have two great, young, offensive players sitting in the press box soaking up the experience.
They would get the best experience from being on the ice. Plus, they just might put the Rocket over the top and into the Calder Cup Final with their exceptional play.
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