Connect with us

Montreal Canadiens

Habs Fans Vote: Results – Most Underrated Canadiens Players

Published

on

montreal canadiens xhekaj matheson slafkovsky

Montreal Canadiens fans have cast their votes as to which member of the team is the most underrated player.

Given the team is in the midst of a rebuild, there were several great candidates in play, but the winner of our first official Habs Fan Vote did not win by the skin of his teeth. More on that later.

Most Underrated Montreal Canadiens Players 6th To 10th

Several defencemen finished among the team’s most underrated players according to the fans, including David Savard (10th), Kaiden Guhle (8th), Jordan Harris (7th), and Mike Matheson (6th). Goaltender Samuel Montembeault rounds out the group, having received enough votes to finish 9th.

10. David Savard (47 votes – 3.5%)

9. Samuel Montembeault (54 votes – 4%)

8. Kaiden Guhle (68 votes – 5%)

7. Jordan Harris (70 votes -5.2%)

6. Mike Matheson (71 votes – 5.2%)

 

Most Underrated Montreal Canadiens Players 5th To 1st

5. Joel Armia (99 votes – 7.3%)

The fifth most underrated player happens to be a forward who started the season as one of the most oft-maligned players in the lineup: Joel Armia. The Finn started the year in the AHL with the Laval Rocket, but quickly reminded everyone he’s not quite done yet in the NHL by setting a career-high in NHL goals, with 17.

4. Alex Newhook (100 votes – 7.4%)

Newcomer Alex Newhook received exactly one more vote than Armia, securing the fourth-overall spot on our list. Despite dealing with injuries, the speedy forward finished with 15 goals and 19 assists in 55 games. That projects to a 22-goal pace over an 82-game pro-rated season. On a roster desperate for goals, Newhook was a breath of fresh air.

3. Johnathan Kovacevic (135 votes – 9.9%)

Johnathan Kovacevic was just a few votes off earning the second spot in our rankings. Canadiens fans rightfully identified him as one of the most underrated players in the organization. Kovacevic is the epitome of efficiency. He doesn’t have much flash to his game, and that’s perfectly fine. Considering he was acquired for free on waivers from the Winnipeg Jets, Kovacevic’s play in Montreal easily surpassed all reasonable expectations.

2. Arber Xhekaj (141 votes – 10.4%)

Unsurprisingly, defenceman Arber Xhekaj was one of only two players to receive more than 10 percent of the votes. Once again, I have to commend Habs fans for picking a truly underrated player. Xhekaj received a lot of attention during his rookie year, which led to a little too much hype in his case. But the script flipped in 2023-24, especially when Xhekaj was sent to the AHL despite having the best underlying numbers on the team.

MUST READ: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Xhekaj

Once he returned, many focused on penalties rather than his strong play, which was missing the forest for the trees. Xhekaj plays on the third pairing, and many hold that against him, but he produced significantly better numbers than any other player placed in the same situation throughout the last two seasons.

Simply put, Xhekaj’s overall game improved by leaps and bounds this season. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player in the Habs lineup who improved on all aspects of his game more than the 23-year-old defenceman.

The Most Underrated Montreal Canadiens Player According To The Fans

1. Jake Evans (305 votes – 22.4%)

There is very little difference between the players ranked second to 10th on our list. A few extra votes for any particular player would have led to a higher ranking.

But there was absolutely no doubt when it came to the player who received the most votes.

Canadiens fans have decided that Jake Evans is the team’s most underrated player, with over 300 people casting their votes for the 27-year-old centre.

Evans has one of the most difficult jobs in the lineup. He’s tasked with anchoring the fourth line alongside a constantly rotating lineup of wingers. He receives very few offensive zone starts, and most nights he’s tasked with shutting down players who make a lot more money than he does.

Some may scoff at the following statement, but Evans’ seven goals and 21 assists in 2023-24 was a very good production considering his usage. It’s incredibly difficult to play on the fourth line and produce.

I still remember interviewing Evans at the Laval Rocket training camp during his rookie season.

“What would you say is your greatest strength? What stands out about your game?” I asked.

“Nothing.” Evan quickly responded.

The answer took me by surprise, but in his follow-up, the Notre Dame alumnus explained that while he’s not flashy, he also has very few weaknesses. His greatest strength was his well-rounded game and his penchant for outworking his opponents.

We’ve seen ample examples of his high-end work ethic during his time with the Canadiens, enough to suggest that his interesting statement as an AHL rookie rang true.

6 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Billy739

Gallagher

He may be overpaid but he’s unsung 100%.
Dude finished the year with 10 pts in 10 games
His Center Newhook had a career high high 9pts in 9 games.

Sure it was the end of the season
BUT!!!!!!! We played teams trying to make it.
Our final game in the 3rd period was when DET was Eliminated.
We had NO EASY GAMES in the final stretch this year.

People Forget that unlike a Dvorak , Anderson or even Petry when we had him. Despite being overpaid Gallagher Actually Mentors Youth. He doesnt Prioritize his game over others like Petry was notorious for. He’ll come in Early and Leave Late to work with the young guns.

People all too often gloss over that like it means nothing.
Reality is without a guy like Gally guys like Newhook woulda continued to move up and down the line from wing to center with no consistency or growth in their play.

I feel like Gally’s 9 years as Assistant Captain isnt Accidental or by Proxy. He earns it ever minute he’s with the team. Would i prefer he got 4m with term all paid in signing bonuses rather then over pay him with cap? 100% and to a guy as banged up as Gally its guaranteed money whether he’s on IR ,LTIR or benched. It woulda made his buyout no different as the guaranteed money makes it trickier to buy him out and MTL woulda saved cap. Gally’s only been healthy enough to get 3-4m a year as is so big picture it woulda cost us nothing and burying it would have cost us 2.85m if he made 4m so he woulda got paid and we coulda lived with the cap hit.

BUT he was fresh off a SCF where in his 2nd straight playoff he left it all out on the ice including his blood. I mean the year before the SCF run he had his jaw broken by a Chara crosscheck to the face. Dude’s a Warrior and Cap should never define how Fans look at him after all he’s given for so many years including this one.

The first time i seen Gally comfortable with a Partner since Danault left was with Newhook at his Center. I think we’ll see more of this by Proxy with Dvo and Evans entering their last years and no chance we can sign either with Kapanen , Beck and Florian Xhekaj all turning Pro and showing up to Camp looking to steal their jobs(there’s many others too , just these 3 actually could.)

I just feel like as good as Armia’s he had 6 less points and 1 more goal then Gallagher who didnt have to get sent to the AHL to rebound. He started out slow and built his way up to a Point Per Game Finish

Demz

Armia rebounded by hiring a personal mental conditioning coach. Same with Primeau stepping up his game.

Mike

The question was who’s most UNDERRATED, not “unsung”.
Gally ended up having a nice season but for most of it, he was considered OVER rated!
I think there’s higher expectations for him. I voted for Evans!

Peter

Why would anyone vote for Kovacevic I cannot see him any future with the team as Mailloux, Reinbacher will be passing him on the depth chart. The only way I can see him making the team as the seventh defenceman is if Savard is traded.

Greg

Evans isn’t underrated. He’s overutilized, as evinced by his 6 goals while centering the 2nd or 3rd line for 95% of the season. You simply must get more than that to be a #2 or#3 center. I’d say calling him underrated overrates him.

Saint Datsyukian

Wow. Arber Xhekaj underrated?

Give me a break.