May 12 — Canadiens Lottery History & the Old Rookie

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS: George McPhee will let you know once the season is over. McPhee, president of hockey operations for the Vegas Golden Knights, dropped the bomb that center Jack Eichel played the final six weeks with a broken thumb. Goalie Robin Lehner underwent shoulder surgery on May 4 and should be ready by the 2022-23 regular season. 

CALDER FINALISTS REVEALED: Yesterday, the league revealed its finalists for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the player most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. Michael Bunting (TOR), Moritz Seider (DET), and Trevor Zegras (ANA) are this year’s contenders, as selected by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. 

NURSE TO MISS GAME 6: This is big news for Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings fans. Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was given a one-game suspension for head-butting Kings forward Phillip Danault in Game 5. Los Angeles is up 3-2 in the series and can clinch the series on Thursday at Arena. 

SEE YOU ON FRIDAY!: The New York Rangers will live another day after rallying from two goals down to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on Wednesday night to force Game 6. In the case of the Pens, they might have lost more than just an opportunity to close out the series, as Sidney Crosby left Game 5 after a hit from Jacob Trouba and did not return. 

COMEBACK CATS: Florida rebounded from down three goals to beat the Washington Capitals 5-3 on Wednesday night, as the Panthers take a 3-2 series lead going into Game 6. Carter Verhaeghe led the comeback effort for the Panthers, contributing to every Florida score with two goals and three assists.

FLAMES RAGE IN THIRD: For the second game in a row, the Calgary Flames scored three goals in the third period to defeat the Dallas Stars 3-1 and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund reciprocated offensive opportunities, finishing with a goal and assist, while Jacob Markström made 20 saves for the victory.

Top Shelf Thursday – Top 2022 Playoff Goalies

It is safe to say that goaltending has been a hot topic thus far this postseason. We have seen third-string goaltenders steal the show while others seem to be turning back the hands of time. This morning we look at three goaltenders who have surprised us in the first round.

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick has seemingly found the fountain of youth because the 36-year-old has been playing like it’s 2012 against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. With the Edmonton Oilers favored by a large margin, most weren’t even giving the Los Angeles Kings a chance. However, now those same Oilers are on the brink of elimination, thanks to the show Quick put on in Game 4, as he was perfect in the crease stopping all 31 shots. Statistically, he may not be the top goaltender this postseason, but considering his opponent and his team’s chances of winning the first round, he deserves his moment in the sun. 

Jake Oettinger

The Dallas Stars barely squeaked into the postseason and were not expected to beat the Calgary Flames, who many considered a favorite for the Stanley Cup. This series has arguably had some of the best goaltending of the playoffs, and considering Jacob Markström is a Vezina Trophy finalist, it has been Jake Oettinger who has been the surprise. Oettinger recorded a shutout in Game 2 and has kept his team in the series as they entered last night’s contest tied at two games apiece. He made 29 saves on 31 shots while not giving up a goal until the third period, although the Stars eventually lost and are now on the brink of elimination. While the Stars may lose the series, the blame will not fall on the shoulders of the 23-year-old Oettinger. 

Louis Domingue

If Louis Domingue’s performance isn’t the storyline of the first round, then I do not know what is. We all know the story of the spicy pork and broccoli, but did you know this is his fourth NHL team since the 2019-20 season? He has played 142 regular-season games for six different franchises and only played in one postseason game before this impressive run with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s been exciting to watch him go up against Vezina Trophy finalist Igor Shesterkin, and fans can only hope this one goes to Game 7.

The Old Rookie

Following the announcement of the three nominees for the Calder Trophy, we now know that the NHL’s top rookie honors will go to one of three players. Detroit Red Wings foundational blueliner Moritz Seider, Anaheim Ducks dynamo Trevor Zegras, or some old dude in Toronto.

All joking aside, Michael Bunting fits the Calder criteria and deserves to be recognized for a 23-goal and 63-point season while exceeding all expectations as the Maple Leafs’ affordable replacement for Zach Hyman. However, the 26-year-old stands out for his, er, experienced rookie status, having played NHL games in two previous seasons. A likable player in an unusual award situation? Morning Skate’s got you covered!

Bunting and the Makarov Rule

If Bunting ultimately wins the league’s rookie award, he would become the oldest recipient since Sergei Makarov left the Soviet Union and joined the NHL as a 31-year-old, recording 86 points in 80 games. Makarov’s Calder win spurred the implementation of a rule that limited eligibility to those younger than 26 as of Sep. 15 in their rookie season. As fate would have it, Bunting turned 26 on Sep. 17.

Long Path to the NHL

It took eight long years for Bunting to reach his rookie season after being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Along the way, Bunting has navigated through the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), ECHL, and a lengthy stint in the AHL, going back and forth in recent years before earning what can only be assumed to be permanent employment with the Maple Leafs. Back in 2014, the Arizona Coyotes drafted him between Danton Heinen, now a veteran of nearly 350 NHL games, and Vezina favorite Igor Shesterkin!

How Old is This Guy?

There aren’t many contexts in which 26 is old, but for an NHL rookie? Bunting is already older than his superstar linemates, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, who have played for six seasons. Heck, the league has even announced two younger finalists for other awards, namely Shesterkin (Vezina) and Cale Makar (Norris). To top it off, Bunting’s a mere 16 days younger than Nathan Mackinnon, the 2014 Calder winner!

Montreal’s History at No. 1

The annual NHL Draft Lottery took place on Tuesday night, with the Montreal Canadiens, who finished with the worst record in the league this season, being awarded the first-overall pick. It will be the sixth time in franchise history that the Canadiens will have the top selection, with the latest coming in 1980. Many expect Montreal to pick Ontario Hockey League (OHL) center Shane Wright, joining these other five players as first-overall draft picks by the Canadiens.

Garry Monahan (1963)

Then known as the NHL Amateur Draft, the first-ever draft took place in Montreal in 1963. It featured 21 total picks (four rounds) between the six NHL teams, and the hometown Canadiens had the first one. They selected the 16-year-old Monahan, an Ontario minor hockey forward who played with the Peterborough Petes in the OHL’s predecessor, the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA). Monahan arrived in Montreal in 1967, appearing in 14 games for the Canadiens over the next two seasons before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Pete Mahovlich in June 1969.

Garry Monahan (THW Archives)

Monahan was dealt two more times in the next year, finally settling in Toronto, where he was a consistent presence until 1974. He played with the Vancouver Canucks from 1974 to 78, then returned to Toronto to play one final season with the Maple Leafs. After playing for three years in Japan, Monahan retired from hockey in 1982. He played 748 games in the NHL from 1967 to 79, registering 285 points (116 goals, 169 assists).

Michel Plasse (1968)

The Canadiens, fresh off a Stanley Cup championship, had the top three picks in the 12-team 1968 NHL Draft. They selected the 20-year-old Plasse with that first pick, a Quebec Junior Hockey League (QJHL) goaltender. He was the first goalie taken first overall and one of only two in NHL history who were No. 1 overall draft picks (Marc-André Fleury, 2003).

Michel Plasse, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bob Olsen/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Montreal loaned Plasse to St. Louis, where he played one game for the Blues during the 1970-71 season before being loaned back. He played 27 total games for the Canadiens, winning the Stanley Cup in 1973 before the Kansas City Scouts selected him in the 1974 Expansion Draft. However, the Mavericks traded him after only 23 games. Plasse spent most of his career with the Colorado Rockies from 1976 to 80. He retired in 1982, having posted a 92-136-53 record, 3.79 goals-against average (GAA), and .881 save percentage (SV%) in 298 career NHL games (283 starts).

Réjean Houle (1969)

After winning a second straight Stanley Cup in 1969, the Canadiens again had the first overall pick. This time, they picked Houle, a 19-year-old OHA forward. Unlike their first two No. 1 draft picks, he spent his entire NHL career with the Canadiens. He reached Montreal in 1970 and played with the Canadiens until 1974, signing with the World Hockey Association (WHA) for two years to play for the Quebec Nordiques.

Réjean Houle in 2009 (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Houle came back to Montreal in 1976, playing with the Canadiens until his retirement in 1983. He appeared in 634 career NHL games, all with Montreal, totaling 408 points (161 goals, 247 assists) and winning the Stanley Cup five times. Houle also had 257 points (118 goals, 139 assists) in 214 games in the WHA.

Guy Lafleur (1971)

Undoubtedly the Canadiens’ best No. 1 draft pick. Montreal selected the 19-year-old forward from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the first pick in the 1971 draft, and the rest is history (but we’ll go over it anyway). Lafleur immediately played for the big league club, posting 64 points (29 goals, 35 assists) in 73 games.

Guy Lafleur (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Overall, Lafleur tallied 1,353 points (560 goals, 793 assists) in 1,126 career games in the NHL. He also won five Stanley Cup titles and several individual awards, including the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP in back-to-back seasons (1976-77, 1977-78) and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in 1977, before being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

Doug Wickenheiser (1980)

Montreal’s most recent first-overall pick came in 1980, four years before the draft lottery was instituted, and selected Wickenheiser, a 19-year-old forward from the Western Hockey League (WHL). He played in 41 games for the Canadiens during the 1980-81 season and 202 total games before being traded to St. Louis during the 1983-84 season.

Doug Wickenheiser and Brent Sutter (By New York Rangers / NHL –

Wickenheiser played for the Blues until 1987, spent one season with the Canucks, dressed in one game with the New York Rangers, then landed with the Washington Capitals. His final NHL game came in 1990 before retiring from hockey in 1994. Wickenheiser played 556 games in the NHL, totaling 277 points (111 goals, 116 assists).

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule