The Montreal Canadiens made a minor league trade when they acquired Laurent Dauphin for Michael McCarron. Could this minor league trade have an impact on the Habs NHL roster?
The Montreal Canadiens made several trades this season. As a seller at the trade deadline with little chance of qualifying for the playoffs, they moved out several veterans. The Habs waved goodbye to Ilya Kovalchuk, Marco Scandella, Nate Thompson, Matthew Peca and Nick Cousins in the hours leading up to the trade deadline.
They brought in several draft picks in those trades, including a second round pick for Scandella and a third round pick for Kovalchuk. They also added later picks in the other trades, including fourth, fifth and seventh round picks.
Those draft picks give the Habs an opportunity to add young players who could have an impact on the roster in the future. However, another minor deal they pulled off weeks before the deadline could have the biggest impact in the future.
On January 7th, Habs general manager Marc Bergevin traded 2013 first round pick Michael McCarron to the Nashville Predators for Laurent Dauphin. Though the draft picks the Habs recently added could have an impact in the long run, but Dauphin was showing he could have an impact very soon before the sporting world went on hiatus last week.
Dauphin was originally drafted in the second round by the Arizona Coyotes in 2013. He was taken 39th overall, 14 picks after McCarron was taken late in the first round by the Canadiens. In between, the Habs also picked Jacob de la Rose and Zach Fucale, so the Habs passed on Dauphin three times for players that haven’t really panned out, but they decided to give the 24 year old an opportunity earlier this season.
When Dauphin arrived, he was sent to the Laval Rocket and they were actually pretty deep in centers at the time. Ryan Poehling, Jake Evans and Phil Varone were there and Jesperi Kotkaniemi was sent down a few weeks later to join them. This pushed Dauphin to the wing and he got off to a. bit of a slow start with Laval.
In his first 17 games in a Laval sweater, the Repentigny, Quebec native had just two goals and two assists. However, in that time, Varone was traded, Evan was recalled to the Canadiens and Poehling and Kotkaniemi were injured.
The Rocket needed a centre to step up and take on a bigger role. They were falling just out of the playoff picture and desperately needed to string some wins together. When the time came for someone to fill that role, Dauphin started to play his best hockey.
In his last eight games, Dauphin scored five goals and 11 points, while playing more special teams and taking on the added responsibility of being a centre instead of a winger. The Rocket won seven of those eight games and remained in the mix for the final playoff spot in the North Division.
Unfortunately for Dauphin, the rest of the schedule appears to have been wiped out. The American Hockey League hasn’t formally announced that it is done, but its schedule will, at the very least, be forced into a lengthy hiatus. It seems unlikely that the regular season will be finished, which means the Rocket season could be over.
If it is, Dauphin made a nice impression at the end of the year. He played a solid, two-way game and scored well over a point per game `while playing a top six centre role. If he can play like that at next year’s training camp, he could win a fourth line centre role for the Habs.