Canadiens rookie review 2003-04

By Dan Linn





Many questions were raised when new general manager Bob Gainey took over<br />if any of the Canadiens prospects would get roster sp

Many
questions were raised when new general manager Bob Gainey took over if any of
the Canadiens prospects would get roster spots with team. Having one of the
deepest groups of prospects in the entire NHL, fans were waiting to see a few
of them in action, especially after the signing of two first round picks, Alex
Perezhogin
and Chris Higgins. The success of some of the standouts
from the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs like Jason Ward, Mike Komisarek, Michael
Ryder and Matthieu Garon
, only made the competition that much tougher to
secure a roster spot. Several players were able to see limited ice time with
the Canadiens this year, and only one was able to keep a full time position
with the team.

 

Michael
Ryder, RW —
Taken in the 1998 entry draft in the eighth round 216th
overall, Ryder was often overlooked and underappreciated until last year’s
impressive season with Hamilton and his offensive production in the AHL
playoffs. Having his former junior coach and AHL coach now with the Canadiens
had to have had an impact on Ryder, as Coach Julien knew just how to use the
24-year-old Newfoundland native. Not many would have expected the kind of
stellar season Ryder had this year. He was the top rookie scorer in the NHL,
and was second on the Habs in goals, an impressive feat for a player who never
played an NHL game before this season and had twice spent time in the ECHL. He
is one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy.  While the playoffs weren’t as productive for him, Ryder was able
to get a feel for what it’s like to play at the highest level and what it takes
to win on a consistent basis.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMs

+/-

TOI

81

25

38

63

26

10

16:00

 11 playoffs

1

2

3

4

-5

16:52

 

Mike
Komisarek, D —
Taken in the first round of the 2001 entry draft,
seventh overall, Komisarek was not able to crack the lineup of the Canadiens
coming out of camp this year, and was sent to in Hamilton of the AHL where he
was on the top defensive pairing. Komisarek was recalled to Montreal on
November 25, where he would play third pairing minutes. He was effective in his
first ever NHL playoff series as the 22-year-old got some experience at a
higher level.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMs

+/-

TOI

46

0

4

4

34

4

12:00

7 playoffs

0

0

0

8

1

14:08





Ron
Hainsey, D —
Taken in the first round of the 2000 entry draft 13th
overall, Hainsey was able to make the team right out of camp after having an
impressive showing in the preseason. It didn’t take long for the former product
of U Mass Lowell to record his first ever NHL goal, as the gifted offensive
defensemen was able to pinch in on the rush often and his shot from the point
was also effective as well. But some defensive lapses and a lack of physical
play in front of the net forced the Canadiens to send the 23-year-old to work
on his game in the AHL on November 25.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMs

+/-

TOI

11

1

1

2

4

3

13:15

 

Chris
Higgins, C/LW
— Taken in the first round of the 2002 entry draft, 14th
overall, Higgins was signed over the summer after two successful seasons in the
NCAA where he led the Yale Bulldogs in scoring. An impressive showing in camp
earned Higgins a two-game stay in the NHL, where he saw some limited ice time
on the fourth line. In an effort to get him more ice time, the 20-year-old
Higgins was sent down to Hamilton to play on one of the top lines to further
his development.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMs

+/-

TOI

2

0

0

0

0

0

6:18

 

Tomas
Plekanec, C
— Taken in the third round of the 2001 entry draft, 71st
overall, Plekanec was able to earn himself a promotion for his impressive play
this season in Hamilton. He was recalled to Montreal on January 1. While he was
only able to dress for two games in limited ice time, Plekanec was able to get
an idea of what it’s like to play in the top league in the world. After being
sent back down to Hamilton two weeks later, Plekanec went on to lead the
Hamilton Bulldogs in scoring, enjoying a very successful sophomore season.

 Games

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMs

+/-

TOI

2

0

0

0

0

0

9:01