Hudon the most impressive of Habs prospects
With just 30 players left on the roster and the Montreal Canadiens looking to trim it down over their last two preseason games, the forward who’s done the most to make things interesting has easily been Charles Hudon.
With essentially every roster spot already spoken for by players with one-way contracts, and the Canadiens’ insistence on playing Hudon at centre, it’s almost impossible that he makes the team out of camp. It wouldn’t hurt Hudon to play a year as the IceCaps’ top line centre in the AHL, but all things being equal, Hudon could improve the NHL roster right away.
Fans have been disappointed by the lack of production from prospects during preseason, but it’s important to remember that the Canadiens have only scored 10 goals in five games, one of them on an empty net. It’s tough to judge and player on a sample that small, so you have to go a bit deeper to find Hudon’s impact.
There were undeniably some areas where Hudon struggled his first three games, he entered the offensive zone less often than average, and his wasn’t getting passes into the slot at a very good rate, despite that being one of his best assets offensively. With that said, Hudon was among the best of all Habs forwards in recovering loose pucks in the offensive zone, removing possession from the opponent with his stick, and making successful passes in his own zone.
Raw pro-rated stats don’t tell us everything though, so let’s take a look at success rates.
Overall, Hudon was less successful with passes than his teammates, however he was the single-most successful passer in the defensive zone, along with one of the most successful stick checkers on the team. Hudon’s defensive chops are already showing, but the offensive skills he’s so known for are a bit less evident so far.
It could be a matter of getting used to the level of competition, it could be that the quality of linemates he’s played with hasn’t been so great, but thus far, there’s a ways to go there still.
Despite that, Hudon’s clinical play in the defensive zone does address a weakness in transitional play. While the boxcar stats don’t look like much, Hudon’s preseason play has been very strong, and if he can find the same execution level offensively as he’s displayed defensively, the Habs have a heck of a player on their hands.
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