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Canadiens Prospect Report: Riley Kidney’s Playmaking Shines



Canadiens Prospect Riley Kidney 2

Montreal Canadiens prospect Riley Kidney is up to his old tricks.

And in Kidney’s case, that means he’s one of the most productive playmakers in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

By now you’ve surely heard about Kidney’s offensive surge following a trade that sent him from the lowly Acadie-Bathurst Titan to the powerhouse Gatineau Olympiques, but just in case you missed out on the ridiculous increase in production, it’s worth re-iterating.

Kidney, 20, scored a respectable 14 goals and 31 assists in 31 games for the Titan, which comes out to 1.45 points per game. Once he arrived in Gatineau he turned it up a notch or twelve, scoring 14 goals and 51 assists in just 29 games, good for 2.25 points per game.

Consequently, Kidney finished tied for 4th in league scoring, not to mention second in points per game (1.83). But despite his excellent production, analysts have shied away from praising Kidney, at least relative to his scoring rate.

It’s somewhat concerning, especially since Kidney is on the cusp of making his professional hockey debut, though given he will still be 20 by the time the next season rolls around, he does qualify for another year of CHL eligibility.

The question becomes, can his skillset transition in an effective manner to the professional ranks?

Playoff Performance

With four goals and 13 assists in nine games, Kidney is currently tied for third in QMJHL playoff scoring, as well as tied for fifth overall in the entire Canadian Hockey League (current to Wed., April 19th).

You’ll also note fellow Canadiens prospect Joshua Roy is on the list, trailing only Kidney’s teammate, Zachary Dean, in points.

MUST READ: Joshua Roy Is Dominant In QMJHL Playoffs

Riley Kidney Canadiens prospect

As has been the case in the last four years, the bulk of his production has come in the form of assists, though it’s worth noting the vast majority of his assists are of the primary variety.

We’ve seen Kidney (No.19) set up his teammates with easy goals time and again throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The Olympiques’ power play, which is currently running at over 30 percent efficiency, definitely helps when it comes to padding stats, but when evaluating Kidney’s powerplay prowess, it’s clear he’s the player who is the most comfortable holding the puck, doing a fantastic job drawing in defenders as he opens up passing lanes for his teammates.

5v5 goals have been hard to come by for the Canadiens prospect, and when he has found the back of the net, it has been due to questionable defensive work by his opponents, but when Kidney is given ample time and space, which usually only occurs on the power play, he does have the ability to score from a distance.

Brass Tacks

I’m a little more bullish on Kidney’s professional aspirations than most, though I’m still hesitant to say he has the type of style of play that will lead him to success in the AHL, let alone the NHL.

His shot simply isn’t good enough, although it should be noted Kidney does generate a fair amount of second-chance opportunities via rebounds, which is an excellent way of scoring at any level of hockey, including the NHL.

The main point of contention is whether he will receive the same type of power play usage once he makes the jump to professional hockey. It’s possible, but doubtful.

He will have to focus on his defensive prowess, as well as his elusiveness because time and space will be much more difficult once he makes it to the AHL.

However, his legitimately fantastic playmaking is probably too good to ignore, and there’s little doubt the Canadiens will eventually give him an extended audition in the AHL.

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How does he compare to Marner at the same stage of their careers? When I read about Kidney it sounds an awful lot like a young Mitch Marner to me.


Is he too old for the Canadian Jrs this year.

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