On the right track
Not only did the Habs’ farm team record the second-highest points total in franchise history but they did so by deciding all but four games in regulation. They also rebounded well from losses, never enduring a losing streak of more than three games all year long, and closed out the regular portion of the campaign on a season-high five-game winning streak.
Individually, four players reached or surpassed the 20-goal mark while two others were knocking at the door. All but one regular (minimum 25 games played) completed the campaign on the positive side of the plus-minus differential, including 11 players in double digits in that category.
Here’s a look at some of the notables from the Bulldogs’ season:
David Desharnais: The diminutive center had a solid first year in the AHL, amassing 58 points in 77 games. That total earned him a second-place tie in team scoring with teammate and fellow freshman Ben Maxwell and also saw the pair sit together in third among all league rookies. He also efficient with the puck, with 24 of his 97 shots finding the back of the net, a success rate of nearly 25% that led all Bulldogs.
Ben Maxwell: Hampered by injuries in the seasons preceding his professional debut, Maxwell was just hoping for a healthy campaign. He got that and more, impressing the Canadiens’ brass enough to earn a call-up in December as the big club battled with injuries.
Shawn Belle: Acquired over the summer from the Minnesota Wild, Belle proved to be a reliable addition to the Bulldogs’ blue line, posting a defense-best plus-19 while chipping in with 13 points in 60 games.
Mathieu Carle: Yannick Weber got the brunt of the attention among Hamilton’s offensive rearguards but Carle enjoyed a five-point increase on the scoresheet in his sophomore season, despite appearing in five less games. He also upped his defensive abilities, with a plus-10 rating.
Cedrick Desjardins: Coming into the season, he knew he’d play second fiddle to free agent acquisition Marc Denis. Despite his backup role, Desjardins came through when called upon, going 16-12-0 in 30 appearances – including an 8-2 run in his final 10 outings - while recording four shutouts.
Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com
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