The Calder Cup won’t end up in the hands of a Montreal Canadiens player this year, but the team has offered many rookies valuable lessons on the ice in 2022-23.
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In fact, prior to Thursday’s NHL games, no fewer than eight Bleu-Blanc-Rouge players were among the top 50 in-ring scorers among first-year skaters.
Although he missed several weeks of activities due to an injury sustained at the end of December, defender Kayden Jull leads his team in that column with 17 points, which moved them to 20th in the league. The other goalkeeper, Jordan Harris, ranks 26th among juniors, with 15 points, just ahead of teammate Rafael Harvey Benard, who scored eight goals and made five assists for 13 points in just 24 games.
Then there’s Arber Xhekaj (31), Jonathan Kovacevic (34) and Justin Barron (35), three other guys playing on the blue line who scored 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively. Juraj Slavkovsky is ranked 38th overall in the most recent amateur draft pick. He had four goals and six assists in 39 games before his campaign was ruined by a lower-body injury in mid-January. Jesse Ylonen leads the 37th-ranked Slovakian with 11 points, including four goals in 27 matches.
This absolute presence of the Canadian in the scorer standings in the first season, which is dominated by Matty Benners (48 points), from the Seattle Kraken, is the opposite of the hierarchy of the most productive players in the NHL. The team’s best representative was Nick Suzuki, who finished 94th with 51 points in 68 games.
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