Montreal Canadiens Organizational Players of April

NHL Player of the Month: Cole Caufield

Immediately after being named Rookie of the Month in March, Cole Caufield started April on a four-game streak. On Saturday night, he didn’t lead the team in goals, but added one more to complete his first NHL hat trick. In total, he has scored nine times in the 14 games played, which projects a pace of around 53 goals over a six-month regular season.

Just two and a half months ago, he hit the ice for the first time under Martin St. Louis with just one goal in his stat line. He finished the season with 23 goals, one behind rookie point guard Tanner Jeannot, who played 14 more games.

We could all wonder what this season could have been like for Caufield, but it’s a lot more fun to think about what’s still to come for a 21-year-old sniper who has just completed his first full professional campaign. He takes a lot of personal lessons from the season and probably direct instructions from the coaching and training staff on what he needs to improve. His new general manager also now knows what it takes to complement such prolific attacking talent. Caufield’s situation will be much more conducive to success to start next season, so doubling his goalscoring tally in 2022-23 is far from an unrealistic dream.

Honorable Mention: Christian Dvorak

The first half of the season also didn’t go as planned for Christian Dvorak, especially considering the cost to acquire him from the Arizona Coyotes. He played just 56 games after missing a month with a lower-body injury suffered in mid-December and all of February with a neck injury, but finished his year strong. He went scoreless three times in the last 12 games, finishing the season on a five-game point streak and leading the team with 13 points in April, 12 of which went five-for-five.

Introduced for his two-way play to help make up for the loss of Phillip Danault, it should come as no surprise that his best streak of the year came while playing with Brendan Gallagher, as the two players developed a mutually beneficial relationship similar to what Danault and Gallagher had before. That’s the chemistry Kent Hughes can now rely on as he tries to build a roster that can withstand more pressure next season.

AHL Player of the Month: Joel Teasdale

When the Laval Rocket needed a big performance in April to secure a playoff spot, they got it from a forgotten prospect. Joel Teasdale was a force that helped stabilize a Rocket team that was struggling to find consistency.

With 14 points in April, it was Teasdale who took over for some of the coolest Rocket stars, and he did it impressively. Although he wasn’t the biggest guy on the ice, he played a power forward style that saw him drive hard towards the net to make things happen. It wasn’t just about scoring timely goals either. He used his strong core to fend off defenders and give his teammates the puck to great effect.

It has been a difficult professional career for Teasdale who has missed much of the time due to knee injuries, including most of this season. However, with 28 points in 45 games, he has put together a solid case for the Habs’ new management to keep him in place heading into next year.

The next step now is for Teasdale and the Rocket to keep their momentum going as they head to the playoffs for the first time in club history.

North American prospect of the month: Joshua Roy

The Sherbrooke Phoenix forward takes home the pie yet again, as the prospect posted the highest points-per-game rate for the month of April among all Canadiens prospects, with 21 in 13 games. Roy narrowly edges out Acadie-Bathurst’s Riley Kidney (again), who scored 23 points in two other games.

Hope is two games away from ending the QMJHL season as the league’s leading scorer, with 115 points in 64 games so far. Although he’s currently tied with New York Islanders prospect William Dufour at the top of the scoreboard, Roy still has one game to play this season. With the pace of production and consistency the Canadiens’ fifth-round pick has managed all year, the scoring title is all but guaranteed.

As Roy prepares for the playoffs, he’ll have the opportunity to show off the second piece of competitive gear Kidney showed off last year. The ability to step up when the stakes are high is a sought-after trait for NHL teams, and the Habs could use some of that energy in the future. If he steps up, he should continue to be our North American Prospect Player of the Month by the end of May.

European prospect of the month: Mattias Norlinder

In the end, Mattias Norlinder gets a mention for the player of the month. His play in the short SHL playoffs for Frölunda lived up to what we expected of him. He was used on the power play and elevated his game overall throughout the playoffs.

Norlinder had six assists in nine playoff games and was used up and down the lineup. It was clear that his confidence was back and over the past two months it looked like he had been trying to play more of a North American style of play.

I still think he needs to work on his gap control, but that’s probably more noticeable on the bigger European ice and might not be as problematic on the smaller surface. However, there were big signs that should indicate he will be ready for the new season in North America.

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EOTP Player of the Month Archives

Aubrey L. Morgan