The Montreal Canadiens may have a glut of veterans hogging roster spots at the moment, but that shouldn’t stop them from giving some players on the Laval Rocket their due.
As it stands right now, the cumulative efforts of Evgenii Dadonov, Joel Armia, Jonathan Drouin, Jake Evans, Micheal Pezzetta, and Rem Pitlick have resulted in a grand total of four goals so far this season.
That kind of production from six of your seven most recent bottom-six forwards is simply unacceptable and has been a major reason the Canadiens generally play miserable games Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield don’t dominate.
For context, rookies Juraj Slafkovsky and Arber Xhekaj have as many goals as the aforementioned bunch, with Slafkovsky having less ice time than every player on the team not named Pezzetta or Pitlick.
With the Canadiens looking to promote development and meritocracy, there is a duo of players currently dominating with the Laval Rocket that has more than earned a call-up at this point.
Knocking On The Door
A standout at Montreal Canadiens training camp, Anthony Richard might not be your typical prospect at 25 years of age, but he’s certainly seen a sharp developmental curve over the last couple of years.
The speedy winger currently leads the entire AHL in goals and trails only Darren Raddysh for most points in the AHL with 18 goals and 13 assists for 31 points in just 26 games.
The two players that trailed Richard in the goal-scoring race, Matthew Philips (Calgary) and Lane Pederson (Vancouver) have both been called up to the NHL this month and Richard is equally deserving of the honour.
Justin Barron gets his first goal as a Rocket!
Anthony Richard with a massive assist on the play to give Laval a 3-1 lead! pic.twitter.com/tgX38DjA9q
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 29, 2022
Despite being 5’11 and 186lbs, Richard also doesn’t shy away from playing a physical game along the boards or in open ice, and fights for every inch on the ice. His energy and impressive motor make him an ideal player to have on your bottom six and play in every situation.
The Canadiens will need to send down Rem Pitlick soon, as he is fast approaching his 10-game limit before having to be re-submitted to waivers, at which time Richard should have earned himself a cup of coffee in the NHL.
Also, he’s a very big fan of the Teddy Toss.
Anthony Richard fait voler les ours en peluche à Laval! 🧸
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) December 10, 2022
Long Time Coming
Jesse Ylönen got some time with the Canadiens last season due to the ridiculous amount of injuries and covid infections they had to deal with, and he didn’t look out of place.
In fact, Ylönen looked to be on the cusp of being a bonafide NHL player, but simply didn’t show enough at training camp this fall to make more of a fuss about it.
After starting the season off slow, with just two points in his first six games, Ylönen has taken off with 20 points in his last 21 games.
Un boulet de Ylönen pour son premier but dans la LNH! 🚀
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 15, 2021
He uses his impressive footspeed and solid shooting tools to cause havoc in the offensive zone and plays a puck-possession style that General Manager Kent Hughes wants to emulate in Montreal.
Furthermore, he’s dynamite on the powerplay with four of his seven goals coming on the man advantage. His ability to not only complete a high percentage of zone entries, but also be a trigger-man from the left circle, offers the Canadiens a possible solution to help bolster the second wave of their ineffective power play.
With the Montreal Canadiens looking to infuse some much-needed speed and skill in their lineup, Ylönen is just that. The extra year in the AHL has done wonders for his progress, and he will likely give Hughes and co. no choice but to call him up sooner than later.
— Chris G (@ChrisHabs360) December 17, 2022