Milroy sparkles in playoffs

By Chris Boucher
Duncan Milroy has used this playoff season to assert himself as a big-game performer. His success has allowed him to shine during the most pressure-packed portion of any season, in any league. He currently leads the entire WHL in playoff scoring, and is the third highest playoff scorer in the entire CHL; behind the Erie Otters’ duo of Cory Pecker and Brad Boyes.

The MontrĂ©al Canadiens drafted Milroy in the second round (37th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He entered the draft as the seventh-ranked skater in North America. The fact that the offensively gifted right winger was still available can only be described as a gift to the Habs’ organization and scouts.

Heading into last year’s draft Milroy had enjoyed a career-season. He increased his point-per-game average by nearly 1 point-per-game; from 0.44 PPG in 99-00 to 1.35 PPG in 00-01. In addition, he more than doubled his goal total, while almost quadrupling his assist contribution.

The 6’0″, 185-lbs forward also enjoyed a strong playoff season last year. He ended the 00-01 playoffs as the 5th ranked scorer, as he managed 21 points (9-12-21) through 19 games.

Milroy didn’t start the 01-02 season as well as expected. In fact, he was significantly short of his 00-01 PPG average well into this season. As late as Christmas he was only on pace for a 70 point campaign. The dip in production was the likely product of trade rumours involving his eventual trade to the Kootenay Ice. He was shutout during his last 3 games with Swift Current, and produced only 4 points through his first 6 games with the Ice. Those 6 games included a 4-game pointless streak.

The new calendar year seemed to produce a new player in Milroy. To the point where the entire season could be divided into two separate half-seasons with incredibly different results. Through the season’s first 32 games he scored 35 points (21-14-35), but through the final 32 games of the season Milroy produced 52 points (24-28-52); an impressive average of 1.62 PPG.

He was the poster boy for consistency as the year progressed. From January 1st onward his longest pointless drought was only 2 games. He scored at least one point in 18 of the season’s last 20 games. During the entire season he enjoyed two 7-game point-scoring streaks, one 6-game point-scoring streak, and two streaks where he scored at least one point in 5 straight games.

The playoffs provided Milroy the opportunity to continue his strong play. He’s been held off the score sheet in only 4 of 18 playoff games to date. His 32 points (14-18-32) break down to a 1.78 PPG average, and lead the league by an incredible 11 points. He has ten multi-point games in the playoffs, including two 4-point games and three 3-point nights. He’s become a huge part of Kootenay’s playoff success. The team is currently fighting for the WHL championship. They have a 13-5 record, but are 1-3 when Milroy is shutout.

He’s leading the WHL in goals; 3 ahead of his nearest rival. And is tops in assists; with a 6-assist cushion over any other player. The 19-year-old was the WHL’s player of the month in January, and earned player of the week honours on two different occasions; April 1st, and April 21st.

Milroy’s stock is increasing at an incredible rate. The playoffs are the toughest part of any season. They produce a failing environment for some players, while allowing others to shine. Racking up as many points as Milroy is at this point in the year is a significant step in his development. He’s shooting up the Habs’ prospect list, and is setting himself up for a significant role on Canada’s 2003 World Junior team.

**Click on the Canadiens’ logo at the top left of the page to see a listing of the Habs’ top prospects. Including biographical information and updated 2001-02 stats.

Feel free to E-MAIL me with any questions or comments (in English or French). Just click on my name at the top of this page to contact me. I am a former goaltender with writing, scouting, and coaching experience.