Canadiens: Former Rocket Farmhand Alex Kile Making Good in the ECHL

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While Kile would’ve fit right in alongside the likes of Willie Corrin, Jackson Leef, Luc-Olivier Blain and Nikita Korostelev, he was still under contract with the Buffalo Sabres AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, seeing 13 games of AHL action over two seasons. While he showed a decent scoring touch as a rookie with the Cincinnati Cyclones, Kile would spend most of the 2018-19 season bouncing between the ECHL and AHL before landing with the Rocket in the latter half of the campaign. The 2018-19 season did see a marked improvement for Laval from the season prior, but considering that the campaign ended with a 12-game losing streak it wasn’t exactly a difficult task.

After long-time head coach Sylvain Lefebvre was finally fired after leading the IceCaps and Bulldogs to just one playoff appearance in five seasons, long-time QMJHL bench boss Joel Bouchard was brought in to try and shake up what was an admittedly dire situation, and in spite of a similar lack of support from the Canadiens as the season prior (Thanks, Marc Bergevin) Bouchard still managed to keep Laval in the playoff hunt for a good chunk of the season even with a lack of any-true star players or AHL regulars for that matter. The main storyline from that season was of course the tale of Alex Belzile, a long-time ECHL regular who had just come off his first full AHL season with the San Antonio Rampage after leading the Colorado Eagles to their first Kelly Cup title while leading the ECHL in playoff scoring.

Hailing from the extremely small town of Riviere-Du-De-Loup, Quebec, Belzile had a career path unlike any other, seeing setbacks, demotions and healthy scratches at basically every single level he played at whether it be Midget Triple AAA, the QMJHL, the ECHL, the AHL, or the NHL. Being signed to a one-year AHL deal as an expected depth contributor, Belzile shocked pretty much everyone by leading the Rocket in scoring with remarkable 19-35-54 totals over 74 games, sticking around the Canadiens organizations for the next five seasons before remarkably making the team full-time at the end of last season, earning a two-year, one-way deal with the New York Rangers this past Summer.