Rabid Habs

The Forum: What’s The Deal With Charles Hudon?

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Once again this season Montreal Canadiens prospect Charles Hudon has been something of a force in the AHL, putting up 23 goals and 17 assists for 40 points in 46 games for the St. John’s IceCaps. Last season, the 22-year-old Alma, Quebec-native put up similar numbers, scoring 28 goals while adding 25 assists for 53 points in 67 games. And yet he’s only been given a sniff with the Habs, playing six games in the NHL over the past two seasons (3 in each), with 4 points – all assists – in those six games. So this week we ask our contributors, why aren’t the Montreal Canadiens giving Charles Hudon more of a look in the NHL?

 

Robert Brown (@TheStandardBob) – For whatever reason, Montreal values grit over pure skill. Look at Michael McCarron, Jacob de la Rose and Bobby Farnham, the three respected players exemplify grit and have played more NHL games than Charles Hudon. With the lack of goal production in our current lineup, I can’t understand why Marc Bergevin is so hesitant to call him up. I really don’t know why, I wish I had answers.

Kyle Roussel (@kyleroussel) – This is one of the year’s oddest and most frustrating story lines, and it’s going to be hard to make sense of it because *none* of it makes any sense from our vantage point. The Habs have a desperate need for talented potential top-6 player like Hudon. Hudon has put up the numbers to merit a real shot in Montreal, yet he can’t get a fair shake.

Some *possible* explanations are that the Habs brass don’t like his size, which is silly and strikes me as unlikely given the size-challenged players they’ve deployed over the years. Maybe they don’t think he fits in with the DNA of the team as currently constituted. Again, that seems weird, especially if you haven’t given him a proper audition. Is it about his attitude? Are Bergevin/Lefebvre trying to teach him a tough-love lesson? Do we know if Hudon walks around with a sense of entitlement? Is he a bad teammate? I have no idea.

However, if it is about his comportment on or off the ice, then the Habs are being a little bit ridiculous at this point. They’re spiting themselves. I fully endorse trying to teach a prospect about being a pro and earning their spot. But if Hudon deserves to be in Montreal, then bring him up. If you need him (and you do), then use him. Figure out what he can do because that expansion draft is coming and you can’t let a potentially productive NHL player walk for nothing. If you call him up and he walks around like a brat, I have no doubt that guys like Price, Weber, Pacioretty and Gallagher will straighten him out right quick. If they don’t, (or can’t) then send Hudon back to the AHL in the trunk of a 1992 Toyota Tercel, and let the clock run out on his time in the organization. If he’s got a fatally bad attitude with the Habs, he’s going to love Sin City.

Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – This one really stumps me, especially because Marc Bergevin failed to land any offensive talent at the trade deadline. I always thought that if Bergevin struck out on guys like Vrbata and Vanek that Hudon would be the next best thing. Hudon could add some playmaking to a team starved for goals and it wouldn’t have cost the Habs a thing (other than a roster spot).

Could size be an issue? Hudon is only 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, but Montreal had no problem putting David Desharnais in a top line role for several years, and Desharnais is only 5-foot-7, 177 pounds.

Does Bergevin think he can hide Hudon from Vegas by burying him in the minors? I’d like to think that’s not the case. There’s also some confusion as to whether or not Hudon is even eligible to be selected by Vegas. I don’t think that’s it.

The point of this rambling is that Montreal doesn’t really seem to have a plan when it comes to Hudon. If the Habs’ brass don’t see a need for a player like Hudon now, when will they? You have the ability to add crucial playoff scoring for pennies on the cap dollar, and you won’t do it? I hate to play this card, but there has to be something we don’t know about Hudon.

At least, there better be something we don’t know. Otherwise, the omission of Hudon makes no sense, and it could get worse. He is an upcoming RFA, and the apparent lack of confidence in Hudon may make for a messy contract negotiation this summer. Sure, Hudon is an RFA and will only go elsewhere if Montreal decides he is, but you don’t want to alienate a potential offensive component of your team’s future.

Robert Brown (@TheStandardBob) – Charles Hudon has earned limited ice time on the big stage, however, that didn’t stop him from posting respectable numbers, as he compiled 4 assists in 6 games. That further proves the point that Charles Hudon deserves to be in the Habs lineup.

A comparable to Charles Hudon can most definitely be Corey Locke, a 2003 4th round pick. After doing some research is seems he had numbers similar to that of Hudon. In 2005-06 he recorded ‎59 points, 55 points in 2006-07 and 72 points in 2007-08. He saw multiple players such as Kyle Chipchura, Ryan White, Andrei Kostitsyn pass him. Unfortunately for Locke, he only played 1 game with the Habs. We should also note that Corey Locke was labeled as a small player at 5’9.

That being said, I hope Hudon gets a proper look by the Habs brass.

Will Harte (@WillHarte) – When the Habs sent Sven Andrighetto (he of 5 goals and 2 assists in the last 9 games) to Colorado for Andreas Martinsen, GM Marc Bergevin said he was expendable because Montreal had Charles Hudon and Chris Terry in St. John’s to call upon if necessary. At the same time, MB argued that he wouldn’t bring Hudon up to the NHL just to have him sit on the bench (or was it in the stands?). Either way, the Habs are healthy now and don’t need him. As much as many fans (and, I think, Bergevin) would love to see him play at the Bell Centre this spring, it just isn’t going to happen. You have think, though, that it will either be there or Vegas come next fall.

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