HALIFAX, NS. — Charles Hudon was the Canadiens fifth round selection of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, 122nd overall. Hudon slid down the draft board to the fifth round mostly due to questions about his health and size. His defensive game was a big question mark as well.
Hudon made his pro hockey debut with the Canadiens AHL affiliate in April 2013 for the last few games of the Hamilton Bulldogs season. This followed a strong season in the QMJHL, his third, where Hudon notched 71 points in 56 games for Chicoutimi.
In the off-season, Hudon signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens. He returned to the Saguenéens for 33 games of the 2013-14 season finishing the season with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar after a mid-season trade.
Hudon was able to transition mostly seamlessly from the QMJHL to the AHL in his first pro season in 2014-’15. He finished as the team’s second leading scorer. His effort earned him a nod to the AHL All-Rookie team and an AHL All-Star nomination.
He spent the off-season adding some muscle onto his 5-foot-10-inch frame, bulking up to 195 pounds (from the 180 pounds the season before) yet he is still undersized. But as we continually see with Brendan Gallagher, a tape measure cannot measure a player’s determination. While Hudon is not a willing physical competitor, and is inconsistent in his effort from shift to shift, he demonstrates the same determination and hunger to be involved in the play and to score.
In his second AHL season, Hudon continued to contribute offensively earning a two-game call-up in December 2015. He picked up an assist in 8:14 of ice time in his NHL debut on December 10th against the Detroit Red Wings. Hudon would add one more assist before being returned to St. John’s continuing the rest of the season as the IceCaps team’s top goal scorer.
Hudon was recalled once more on an emergency basis playing one more game filling a third line role. His brief time in the NHL showed that he didn’t look out of place as an offensive player but his defensive game is still a work in progress.
— AHL Report (@TheAHLReport) April 10, 2016
At this stage in his development, Hudon could be a top nine option paired with two speedy, aggressive puck attacking players such as Daniel Carr, Lars Eller or Phillip Danault. Each player could benefit from Hudon’s strong possession game and slick passing.
At this time, Hudon is not the answer to adding top six scoring to the Canadiens’ roster. However, in my opinion, he could add 15 goals and 15 assists in a third line role with second wave power-play icetime to provide supplementary scoring. On the other hand, Hudon could be a valuable trade chip as Marc Bergevin tries to land that elusive top-six forward solution for the Habs.