Montreal Canadiens AHL Affiliate | Laval Rocket News: Week in Review, Josh Brook Sits, Michael McCarron Traded, Laurent Dauphin Acquired, Charles Hudon Is All-Star, Roster Updates
ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | LAVAL, QC. — The Rocket just completed a busy weekend playing three games on the road in three different cities in a period of 48 hours. They came out of the series with two of the available six points in the standings.
They started the stretch with an offensive game against Syracuse, winning 7-5 against the Crunch. “I think after the first period we settled in nicely, and started playing north and being aggressive,” said Joel Bouchard.
On Saturday, Laval wasn’t able to put any pucks in Lehigh Valley’s net and snapped their five-game winning streak with a 2-0 loss against the Phantoms. “I think we had an okay start. I thought we really picked it up, I thought we were for a long time the better team on the ice, we just didn’t score,” analyzed the coach after the game.
On Sunday afternoon, Bridgeport took an early lead scoring three goals in the first 9:37 of the game and went on to win 6-4. Cayden Primeau was pulled after allowing three goals on five shots. “For a coach it’s a frustrating game because I consider we were the better team on the ice, and we ended up with a deficit and no points,” Bouchard told 91.9 Sports after the game. “I don’t think they deserved that game at all, and if they think that they did, they have a lot to look at on video then,” added Phil Varone.
The four points in the standings lost against the two worst teams in the conference pushed Laval outside of the playoff picture as they currently sit in fifth place of the Atlantic Division. The Rocket are one point behind the Marlies, with Toronto having two games in hand.
The Rocket continue their five game road trip this weekend with a pair of games against the Manitoba Moose on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
With Christian Folin assigned to the AHL last week, it gave the coach eight healthy defenders on his roster for the weekend.
Many, including myself, were surprised to see Josh Brook be a healthy scratch for the first two games of the weekend. “He’s played all the games this year and we never had a chance to give him time to take a step back. I’m not dissatisfied of his play. We are playing three games in three days,” Bouchard explained his decision on Friday to 91.9 Sports.
The coach’s explanation gave me the impression that this could have been a strategy to spread out his players legs over the busy weekend. It ended up not being the case. Bouchard has mentioned several times that the AHL is a development league and not a performance league, and that he coaches accordingly.
This decision goes against that philosophy as players such as Curtis McEneny, who just signed an AHL contract, and veterans like Xavier Ouellet and Karl Alzner, that have a limited future with the organization, played all three games.
Last Tuesday, Michael McCarron was traded to Nashville in exchange for Laurent Dauphin. It was clear that the organization had thrown the towel on their 2013 first round pick.
McCarron played a total of 69 games in the NHL during his five seasons with the organization. He never turned out to be the big physical forward that they were looking for when they drafted him.
His last NHL game was on April 7th 2018 and his name never came up as a potential recall since then. There has been countless of other players that have entered the organization since that surpassed him on the depth chart.
McCarron had a good season with Laval last year, collecting 21 points in 32 games before suffering an injury that led to a season ending shoulder injury. He said that it was his best season since his first season in St. John’s.
“I think I’m an NHL player. I believe that one hundred percent. I want to play in Montreal. That’s my goal,” said McCarron at the end of last season when asked about his future.
The 2019-20 season started off with a groin injury that he suffered during training camp that forced him out of action until October 16th. In 29 games with Laval, he recorded five goals and added nine assists.
Dauphin was selected by the Coyotes in the second round of the 2013 draft, 14 picks after McCarron. This is Dauphin’s fourth organization since the start of his professional career, after having stints with the Coyotes, Blackhawks, and Predators.
The newest addition of the Rocket has some acquaintances in the organization. He was on the phone with Jonathan Drouin when David Poile informed him that he was headed to the Canadiens. Dauphin also played with Charles Hudon in the QMJHL for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
Similar to McCarron, Dauphin wanted a fresh start with another organization. “I wasn’t getting opportunities, even though I playing well this year,” he told 91.9 Sports. Dauphin has played a total of 35 games in the NHL, all with the Coyotes, scoring three goals and adding one assist. Twenty four of those games were in 2016-17, and has played three games since the end of that season.
“He’s got hockey sense, he’s a good player. Our job is to make sure that he feels good, he has fun. He had a few scoring chances in the first two games and they didn’t go in for him,” said the coach after the game against Lehigh Valley. Dauphin scored his first goal in his new organization in Bridgeport the following afternoon.
Hudon Selected to All Star Game
Charles Hudon was named the team’s representative to the All-Star game that will take place in Ontario, California on January 26th and 27th. It is a well-deserved selection for Hudon, who has scored 18 goals and added three assists in 29 games this season.
“I know I got a lot of goals but some guys put on my tape every single time,” Hudon sharing the credit with his teammates. “I made my way there and yeah I’m pretty happy about it.”
Andrew Sturtz was acquired from the Senators as part of the Canadiens trade of Mike Reilly. In Belleville, he was playing in a checking role and was regularly in and out of the lineup. He has played 14 games this season, scoring once and added one assist, and hasn’t played since November 30th due to injury.
Hayden Verbeek underwent surgery on his left hand thumb and is expected to miss up to 12 weeks. He suffered the injury on December 31st against the Senators. Verbeek has no points in six games, after getting recalled from the Adirondack Thunder in the ECHL.
Evan McEneny signed a one-year, one-way AHL contract on Friday. McEneny signed a professional tryout contract with the team on November 21st, but didn’t play his first game until December 13th due to injury. Bouchard has been using him on the power play and the penalty kill as of late.
Christian Folin was assigned to the team from the Habs and scored his first goal of the season in Syracuse on Friday. “I haven’t played for about a month. It also takes a little while to get back into it, but I felt good from the start,” evaluated the defender after the game.
Michael McNiven was assigned on Saturday to the Norfolk Admirals in the ECHL. This is his third team this season after spending time with Adirondack and Jacksonville.