Artturi Lehkonen, Alex Galchenyuk (Robert Mayer / USA TODAY Sports)

by Mathieu Chagnon, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

This is the third part of the series on the Canadiens players points predictions. In this piece we will be evaluate: Alex Galchenyuk, Artturi Lehkonen, Paul Byron, Jeff Petry and Jordie Benn.

So far in this series we have looked at the number of points for the following players: Max Pacioretty, Thomas  Plekanec, Ales Hemsky, Karl Alzner, Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher, Andrew Shaw, Mark Streit and Torrey Mitchell.

If you missed them, you can read part one here and part two here.

Here’s how to read the charts below.

For each player, you will prominently see my points prediction that they will record in 2017-’18, their statistics for 2016-’17 and their SATSE score.

If, you aren’t familiar with SATSE, it is a new predictive metric that I developed. You can read about it in detail in this in this article.

SATSE FAR: Shot Attempts For Above Replacement
SATSE AAR: Shot Attempts Against Above Replacement

I welcome your own predictions in the comments section.

61

2016-17 GP G A SATSE FAR SATSE AAR
ALEX GALCHENYUK 61 17 27 60.7% 48.8%

 

After reaching the 30 goals level the season before, Alex Galchenyuk started 2016-’17 season with much confidence centering Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov. In his first 25 games of the season, Galchenyuk was on pace to be an elite centreman obtaining nine goals and 14 assists.

Then Galchenyuk sustained a knee injury that caused him to miss 18 games. Upon his return, Alex aggravated his injury that forced him to miss another four games. After this period, the young forward was not able to recapture the touch he had at the start of the season.

Galchenyuk had high and lows in his relationship with Michel Therrien. The former coach has been very prudent to not overexpose the talented young player in his role of centreman. This might have harmed the confidence of Galchenyuk over the time.

With a new contract and starting fresh with a new coach, it might be enough for Galchenyuk to silence the whispers surrounding him, and allow him to set aside a difficult season. It is quite possible that Galchenyuk will be given the chance to play with Jonathan Drouin this season. If so, we could expect Galchenyuk return to 30+ goals and 30 assists.

46

2016-17 GP G A SATSE FAR SATSE AAR
ARTTURI LEHKONEN 73 18 10 53.6% 53.1%

 

After completing his development in Europe, Artturi Lehkonen jumped right into the NHL and had to adapt to the faster pace of the league on a smaller rink. In his first 56 games, he had pace of .29 points per games, he then collected seven goals and five assists in the last 17 games, a pace of .71 points per games.

The 18 goals that he collected at 21-years of age ranked him 5th in the last 20 years among the rookies under 22 years old. Claude Julien said that Lehkonen reminded him of Loui Eriksson with a better offensive potential.

That’s good praise from the coach considering that Eriksson, who started at same age, was only able to get six goals, then became rapidly one of the best offensive threats in the NHL.

Many young players have a second season jinx, but it is not the kind of thing that should happen to the young Finn. His strong defensive play should maintain his confidence even if he experiences an offensive drought.

I expect that Lehkonen could reach 25 goals and around 45 points.

31

2016-17 GP G A SATSE FAR SATSE AAR
PAUL BYRON 81 22 21 57.1% 57.9%

 

Two years ago, Marc Bergevin surprised a lot of people when he claimed the Paul Byron off the waiver wire from Calgary. The Flames took a risk that the diminutive player would go under the radar. This move didn’t sit well with former Flames coach Bob Hartley. He knew it would be a steal for the team that claimed him if Byron could stay healthy.

Last season Byron was healthy, and filled in on the top two lines as an injury replacement. The speedy forward was a pleasant surprise. Of interest, the former player of the Gatineau Olympiques collected 38 of his 43 points at even strength.

It is hard to believe that he will be able to repeat these statistics with less ice time. Byron should return to his career average. I believe that we should see 15 goals and 20 assists.

25

2016-17 GP G A SATSE FAR SATSE AAR
JEFF PETRY 80 8 20 54.6% 51.4%

 

Since being acquired by the Edmonton Oilers, Jeff Petry has been steady in his production with the Canadiens maintaining a ratio of .34 points per game. Now at 30 years old, it is unlikely that he will surpass this rate. 

When Petry was asked about the changes to the Canadiens blueline, he replied “Walking in the locker room and get everything for the first time and not having those around faces it’s definitely gonna be different.”

On his role changing, Petry said, “If there’s anything I got to change is to be a little bit more assertive offensively but to let that affect my defense.”

With the departure of P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Nathan Beaulieu in the last two seasons, Petry is one of the few defensemen left who will be able to move the puck.

This season again he will sit on the right side of the second pairing likely joined by newcomer Karl Alzner. With some icetime on the second wave of the powerplay, Petry will add to his point total which primarily comes at even strength. At 92 assists, Petry is closing in on the 100 assist milestone.

17

2016-17 GP G A SATSE FAR SATSE AAR
JORDIE BENN 71 4 13 45.2% 41.3%

 

Jordie Benn was acquired last season in a transaction with Dallas for Greg Pateryn. Upon his arrival, Benn made a positive impact right away and stabilized the third defense pair.

Jamie Benn’s little brother hopes to play at least 300 to 400 games with the most decorated original six. With his simple game, doing very few mistakes and his hard-nosed type of play, he could reach this goal.

Benn’s contribution won’t come in goals and assists in a significant way. Last season Benn blocked 6.66 shots per 60 minutes (rank 14th.) Look for that to continue this year.