Charles Hudon (Photo by Amy Johnson | © Rocket Sports Media) Mandatory Credit Required

Charles Hudon, Left Wing/Centre
2012 NHL Entry Draft | 5th round (122nd overall)
June 23, 1994 | Alma, QC, Canada
5-10, 195 lbs. | Shoots Left
2016-’17: 56 GP, 27 G, 22 A, 49 PTS | St. John’s IceCaps (AHL)

by Rick Stephens, Editor-in-Chief, All Habs Hockey Magazine

With training camp around the corner, speculation is ripe on how the Canadiens opening day roster will shake out. But there seems to be universal agreement that Charles Hudon is a lock to be wearing the CH to start the season. Some fans contend that Hudon should have more than six games of NHL experience under his belt.

But are there reasons that Hudon has primarily remained in the AHL when others have received the call?

Charles Hudon is a pure offensive talent. He has quick hands and a heavy, accurate shot. Hudon is the type of player who likes the puck on his stick in the offensive zone.

Hudon does not have the size nor elite skating ability to separate himself from defenders. He is not going to win all of his puck battles. But Hudon does have the offensive sense and vision to find the seams and skills to exploit those opportunities.

Questions begin with Hudon’s size and skating but also extend to his play without the puck, particularly in the defensive zone. Consistency issues and injury concerns also enter the conversation.

Last season, the biggest offensive threat for the St. John’s IceCaps was Chris Terry, by far.  Jacob De La Rose was the most complete player who could play in all situations. If asked to name a goal-scorer who combined grit and effort, it would be Daniel Carr. As far as leadership and work ethic, hands down, it was Max Friberg. And the most skilled player on the team was Nikita Scherbak.

So, if Hudon can be overshadowed, at times, on an AHL roster, is he ready to make a significant impact at the NHL level for a team who desperately needs offense while being defensively responsible?

One thing is for certain: the Rocket Sports Media team has the best group of hockey writers and analysts to answer that question. Since turning pro, no one has seen more of Hudon’s 217 games and countless practices, most in person, than our contributors from All Habs Hockey Magazine and AHL Report

Three of our talented staff members have offered to share their thoughts below. Enjoy and share.

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(Photo by Douglas Browne | Rocket Sports Media) Mandatory Credit Required

by Matt Smith, Staff Writer/Social Media Specialist, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Since becoming pro in 2014-2015, Charles Hudon has only raised his prospect value. He has scored 75 goals, and added 87 assists for 162 points in 207 career AHL games playing for the Hamilton Bulldogs and St. John’s IceCaps.

Hudon has completed three seasons at the professional level finishing second in team scoring each year. Some fans have been left wondering why Hudon hasn’t been called upon to join the Canadiens roster on a full time basis. With just six games of NHL experience playing in a limited role, the 23-year-old has four assists. 

  • 2014-15 – 75 GP, 19 Goals, 38 Assists, 57 Points (2nd in scoring behind T.J. Hensick)
  • 2015-16 – 67 GP, 28 Goals, 25 Assists, 53 Points (2nd in scoring behind Bud Holloway)
  • 2016-17 – 56 GP, 27 Goals, 22 Assists, 49 Points (2nd in scoring behind Chris Terry)

Simply put, Charles Hudon is one of the Canadiens best young offensive prospects. With depth scoring being as issue in Montreal, Hudon now has the opportunity to crack the Habs roster and provide much needed offensive talent, but making the NHL roster will not be a sure thing.

Hudon will be contending with Nikita Scherbak, Michael McCarron, Daniel Carr, Jacob De La Rose, Chris Terry, Byron Froese, Peter Holland and Andreas Martinsen for what seems to be the final position on the Habs fourth line. Not yet included to this competition are players that could be brought in on a professional try-out (PTO), or that are signed between now and the start of the regular season.

Potential forward lines to start the 2017-2018 season:

Pacioretty – Danault – Gallagher
Drouin – Galchenyuk – Lehkonen
Byron – Plekanec – Shaw
(Vacant) – Mitchell – Hemsky
(13th Forward)

Hudon has the scoring ability and offensive skills to be considered one of, if not the best value player on the roster, counting towards just $650,000 against the Habs cap. He would be added to a forward list that at this time includes Artturi Lehkonen ($839,000), Phillip Danault ($912,500), and Paul Byron ($1.16 million.)

It is worth mentioning that Hudon is no longer waivers exempt, and I genuinely believe that if he were to be placed on waivers by the Canadiens, we’d be seeing the last of him in Montreal. However, if he does start the season with the Laval Rocket, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the first forward called up if an injury occurs at the NHL level.

~~~

Charles Hudon (Photo by Amy Johnson | © Rocket Sports Media) Mandatory Credit Required

by Blain Potvin, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

When off-season training is focused on improving weaknesses, players can enter training camp more prepared and confident. This is exactly what is expected of young Charles Hudon.

Fresh off three complete seasons developing his game in the AHL and earning a two-year contract extension, the 23-year-old is a prime candidate who can make an immediate impact on the Canadiens roster.

The timing for his arrival is excellent. There are bottom-six roster positions wide open for competition. These positions will be key to providing the Habs much needed depth scoring. It is the kind of role that was filled quite ably by then-rookie, Artturi Lehkonen last season. While those may seem like big shoes to fill, Hudon has the offensive potential to do just that.

The opportunity is laid out at Hudon’s feet. Nothing at the NHL level is guaranteed, yet, head coach Claude Julien made his feelings clear when he stated that Hudon will have every opportunity to make the roster. 

Hudon does not have ideal size for the NHL, which is one reason why he fell to the fifth round in his draft year. He is not a player who initiates physical play and has issues against larger opponents during board battles.

What he does have are sublime puck handling skills, with playmaking abilities and an NHL-caliber shot. He has also worked to improve on his skating, and now skates extremely well with good speed and edge work.

Unfortunately for Hudon, he has run into some injury troubles in his short professional career. This is something that may continue at the NHL level due to his size and the speed of the game. These injuries have somewhat slowed his progression as each return to play required an adjustment to rediscover his timing and rhythm.

Other issues have been his lack of consistency and questions about his defensive game at times at the pro level. When he is at his peak, Hudon can be a dogged puck pursuer. He has the ability to play his position well and to adjust in support of his teammates. This level of commitment wasn’t consistent from game to game until the IceCaps entered their post All-Star game stretch run for the playoffs, where he played a key role before the Ice Caps fell to the Syracuse Crunch in a hard fought first round match up.

Another large hurdle is the depth at left wing (LW) for the Canadiens. This has played against him in the past. This season will be no different as Hudon will be in direct competition with Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen for top nine ice time.

Two other wild cards for this position will be Daniel Carr, who is in the last year of his contract, and Jacob De La Rose, who is also no longer waiver exempt. While De La Rose is more mature defensively, he lacks Hudon’s offensive abilities.

The roster decisions in the end will fall to the head coach, and Claude Julien has a reputation of relying on veteran players due to their more mature defensive game. Despite any perceived offensive advantages that Hudon may hold, it will be his defensive game that will win him his roster spot.

Coach Julien’s thoughts on Alex Galchenyuk’s play provides a window on his expectations of not just his centers, but of every player that dresses.

“A centre has to play a 200-foot game and there are defensive responsibilities which go with the job. It’s no good if (his line) scores two goals, but they give up three and we’re minus as a team.”

Hudon recently signed a two-year extension and must now clear waivers before he can be returned to the Laval Rocket. A two-way deal does not mean he is exempt from waivers, it only means he will have two different pay rates. In my estimation, if Hudon were to hit the waiver wire, it is a safe bet that one of the 30 other teams would stake a claim.

If Hudon can earn a roster spot, he will likely start in a fourth line role. This role may place Hudon in a favorable position. Four of his six points in six NHL games were scored in a fourth line role. There he can exploit lesser talented opposition players while easing into his defensive apprenticeship.

Once Hudon can find a consistent level of defensive responsibility and earn Julien’s trust, it would be quite possible he could wrestle away a third line role from Byron or Ales Hemsky, and provide another offensive weapon to be used on the second wave of the power play. Points-wise, a reasonable expectation for Hudon is 20 points but if everything goes his way, it’s possible for him to reach the 15 goal mark and as many as 15 assists. 

Hudon’s chances to make the Canadiens roster out of camp will rely on his ability to balance his offensive skills with defensively responsible play. 

~~~

Charles Hudon (Photo by Rick Stephens | Rocket Sports Media) Mandatory Credit Required

by Amy Johnson, Lead Correspondent, AHL Report

This is going to be quite an interesting training camp for the Montreal Canadiens in terms of filling that much-coveted empty fourth line roster spot. A lot of talented athletes will be in direct competition to make the cut, but I’ll disagree with Matt and Blain here on whether Charles Hudon will start the season at the Bell Centre.
 
Let me start by saying this: YES, Hudon is very talented. YES, Hudon has put up tremendous numbers over the past three seasons. YES, Hudon is quick, has good hockey IQ, and a sniper’s shot. I do not deny his skill, abilities, or upside.  I like Charles Hudon as a player and enjoy watching him play. I simply don’t believe he’s quite ready for the NHL yet.
 
Why? I’ve watched every single game Hudon has played in the past two seasons, and about 60% of those were in person. I’ve observed him in countless team practices.  Here’s my assessment:
 
While he garnered much attention for his 49 points in the AHL season, tallying 27 goals and 22 assists, Hudon was eclipsed at almost every turn by Chris Terry.  Terry was first in goals (30), assists (38), points (68), power play goals (19), points-per-game (1.17), and shots (190).  That’s not to say that I think Chris Terry will win a roster spot over Charles Hudon, but it does indicate that Hudon has competition on the team.
 
In terms of physicality and defensive play, Hudon tends to lose out in puck battles along the boards against bigger opponents. He can also be inconsistent in his play; he’s not always the standout forward he becomes in high-profile situations.  Turnovers are something Hudon struggles with at times, and in many cases he needs a good set-up man. He can certainly blast a puck past any goaltender if someone sets up a beautiful shot for him, but I wouldn’t classify Hudon as a standalone playmaker.
 
Hudon will make a good case for himself at this camp. He’s got a ton of talent, and he’ll make sure it’s showcased for the coaches and management.  However, I believe he’ll likely start the season in Laval, garnering one more year to develop his game and mature on the defensive side of the ice.
 
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What do you think about Charles Hudon’s chances of making the Canadiens opening-night roster? Leave your comments below.
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Amy is the manager and lead contributor of the Habs Tweetup website. She is a professional voice actor and is the vocal talent behind All Habs OUT LOUD.

We try to overlook her fascination with the Orange & Black and take solace that she is almost equally passionate about the Canadiens. Her favourite NHL player is Martin Biron.

When she’s not watching hockey or traveling to a Habs Tweetup, Amy can be found watching other sports like football, baseball, and tennis. She also enjoys reading, watching movies, gardening, and performing as a bellydancer.

  • Jack Suzuki

    Amy–just by curiosity—do you suppose you could have chosen a better picture of Hudon than the one with his tongue hanging out….shaking my head at that choice….
    Kind of ridiculous that you would choose that one yet have a good one of you, possibly “photoshopped”…. Does that mean we’ll have a nice one of MAX PAC spitting next time?

    • Amy

      Jack, I questioned even dignifying your comment with a response, but I won’t allow insults to be flung.

      First of all, while I did photograph Hudon on many occasions, I did not select which photographs would be used in this article.

      Secondly, what exactly are you suggesting in insinuating that my avatar photo is doctored? (It’s not, by the way.)

      Before you cast judgment and insults on someone simply because you don’t like their opinions, you might want to get your facts straight first.

      Now let’s see if you’re as quick to apologize for your rudeness and ignorance as you were to try to bully me.

    • Apparently you have spent too much time shaking your head, Jack. You know little about hockey, nothing about photography and even less about manners. The feature photo is an action shot, not one that is posed. Over the past three years, our photographers have taken many shots of Charles Hudon. The majority of them show his tongue. And as hockey players go, Hudon is not unique in that regard. If seeing Hudon’s tongue offends, perhaps hockey is not the sport for you.

      It’s kind of ridiculous that you would comment on the photo of a talented, experienced journalist and photographer. More specifically, it is rude and ignorant, Jack. By obsessing on appearance in each case you have demonstrated that you have nothing of substance to contribute to a hockey discussion.

    • PieRates

      #1stworldproblems

  • Bay_Bye

    if Hudon or any of the players that are now no longer waiver exempt hit the waivers we will definitely lose them.this seems to be a big problem with Bergevin..we lost Condon that way and look what he did in Ottawa. we lost others last year.The problem is Levbreve can not develop players so their careers are impeded playing in the AHL. Martinsen should not have been re-signed as he is totally useless and had zero points in the games he played in Montreal last year. With MB signing all the old timers on their last legs he is sending the wrong message to the young guys and hurting their chances to play in the NHL.It is getting to the point the young players will not re-sign when their contracts expire and go somewhere else. Andrighetto had 13 points in 15 games with Colorado after another bad trade by MB..

    • Phil, I agree with you that Marc Bergevin has acquired too many castoffs that help to block the paths of the Canadiens young players. Michel Therrien played a large part in the lack of progress. As I see it, the Canadiens problem under Bergevin is their difficulty transitioning prospects from the AHL to the NHL rather than a lack of development on the farm. This is where you contradict yourself. If Lefebvre hadn’t done a good job developing prospects, then why would Andrighetto, Hudon and Condon be in demand?

    • PieRates

      all of them? or just one of them? What if the player waived is Martinsen, would he be claimed too? or just the ones you like?

      • Bay_Bye

        we are only talking about the young players as this is the first year they are not waiver exempt. Nobody in their right mind would claim Martinsen as he has the worse possession numbers in the NHL and is no offensive threat. players numbers decrease when he is on the ice…I am just saying that MB likes to play the sneak them back to the AHL but now that they have to go thru waivers we will lose them like we did Condon.I do not want to lose them just pointing out a scary situation that might/could happen

        • PieRates

          younger? what’s the cutoff age of the guaranteed claim? 24? And losing Condon was not an issue at all and only happened because Pittsburgh had 3 goalies out injured

          • Bay_Bye

            Condon for the situation he was put in performed extremely well and MB tried to sneak him back into the AHL but Like you said Pittsburg needed a goalie and are now sorry they traded him to Ottawa.He should of been the backup last year as he earned it. and you missed the boat on young players as I was talking about Hudon and Del La Rose who for the first time in their careers are not waiver exempt…

  • Jack Suzuki

    I might not have anything to contribute about photography, but your’re wrong about me not knowing hockey. I even read yours. I can’t be that stupid, and I even liked it.

    When it comes to pictures of HABS players being posted on internet articles, he’s the only that gets “tongued” by photographers. Why is that?

    Can you prove otherwise. Rick….thanks,

    • PieRates

      why does it matter?

    • Prove it, Jack? Shall I prove that some MLB players chew bubble gum? Or maybe you would like me to prove that some NFL players stick their mouthguards on the face mask of their helmets? But listen, if I spoon-fed you every well-known fact about sports, it would ruin your elementary self-discoveries.

      The proof is simply that I confirmed it to be true. For the past 10 years, All Habs Hockey Magazine has been the most trusted independent source covering the Montreal Canadiens.

      But let’s look at what you are inferring, Jack. You seem to think that Blain, one of the co-authors of the article and the one who chose the feature photo from our library, selected it because, to you, it is disparaging to Charles Hudon in some way. I will let Blain speak for himself, but if you have read his section of the article, you would know that Blain is a supporter. So your nonsensical concern falls flat.

      And let’s not lose sight of the real issue here, Jack. You were rude and tried to bully Amy, an Emmy-nominated reporter/producer. I respectfully suggest that any further comments from you in this thread better adequately address your ignorant behaviour.