The 2015-16 season was a rough one for the Montreal Canadiens, as a strong start to the season led to a complete and total collapse in the second half. With starting goalie Carey Price falling with an injury, backup Mike Condon filled in admirably until fatigue caught up, and the team finished with an even 38-38-6 record.
More notable than that, however, is the fact that the team used 45 different players, with the lineup by the end of the year looking like a who’s who of random minor leaguers. Some went on to have success with other NHL teams, while others went overseas. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four notable players from that team and where they’re playing at the moment.
Most famously known as the son of former 400-goal scorer Steve Thomas, Christian was a second-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2010, spending three years with the organization before being traded to the Canadiens for infamous second-round bust Danny Kristo. A 50-goal scorer in the OHL with the Oshawa Generals, Thomas at first struggled to find his footing in the Canadiens organization, recording fewer than 30 points while playing over 50 AHL games in his first two seasons, having issues with work ethic.
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Despite this, the Habs gave him numerous opportunities to prove himself, even dressing him in 18 games in a division-clinching 2014-15 season.
However, just as he was finding his footing with 14 points in his first 18 games with the St. John’s IceCaps in 2015-16, Thomas was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Lucas Lessio (another notable 2015-16 call-up). After getting into one game with the ‘Yotes that year, Thomas spent the next two years with the AHL’s Hershey Bears and Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins as a depth scorer before heading overseas.
In this two-year span, Thomas has struggled, drifting across three different leagues, playing 67 games and recording 24 points. Mainly seeing bottom-six minutes, Thomas currently plays for Bern SC of the Swiss A league.
Signed by the Buffalo Sabres in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Maine, Brian Flynn spent three and a half years with the team mainly as a bottom-six winger. Landing with the Canadiens at the 2015 trade deadline in exchange for a fifth-round pick, Flynn had lightning speed but without the offensive awareness to compliment it at the NHL level. Being utilized mainly as an energy fourth-liner/infrequent healthy scratch for two seasons, he recorded 10 points each year while playing in more than 50 games.
After this, Flynn spent a year as a top-line player for the Texas Stars, playing a key role in their Calder Cup run, and the first half of the next with the San Antonio Rampage, before heading overseas. Continuing to demonstrate his offensive abilities at a lower level, Flynn currently plays for Ambri-Piotta of the Swiss A league, recording 33 points over 49 games this year.
The 29th overall pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2011, and son of former 1994 New York Rangers hero Stephane Matteau, Stefan struggled to find his offensive abilities at both the AHL and NHL levels in four and a half years with the Devils. Landing in Montreal at the 2016 trade deadline in exchange for Devante Smith-Pelly.
In a 12-game audition with the team that year, Matteau struggled, recording just one assist. After spending the next season with the playoff-clinching St. Johns Icecaps, Matteau signed with the Vegas Golden Knights as a free agent, spending two seasons with their AHL affiliate, earning an eight-game cup of coffee with the team.
With no NHL takers this year, Matteau signed an AHL contract with the Cleveland Monsters, recording 28 points over 50 games, enough to earn an NHL contract with their parent team, the injury-riddled Columbus Blue Jackets. In nine games with the team, Matteau played impressively well, recording three points and proving that there’s still a chance for him to produce at the NHL level, finally utilizing his large frame to his advantage.
George “Bud” Holloway
Most of you will probably be looking at this name thinking, who? And, well, that’s rightly justified. A third-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2006, Bud Holloway spent three years with the organization, split between the AHL and ECHL, before heading overseas to Sweden and eventually Switzerland. Entering free agency in 2015, Holloway opted to give the NHL another shot, signing a one-year contract with the Canadiens.
After a hot start with the IceCaps, the Canadiens opted to give Holloway a shot, dressing him for one game against the New Jersey Devils, where he played 7:19 with one shot on goal.
Continuing the rest of the year with St. Johns, Holloway finished as their leading scorer with an impressive 61 points over 70 games. Content with getting to play at least one game in the NHL, Holloway opted to return overseas after this, signing with CSKA Moscow of the KHL.
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However, after sustaining an injury after 12 games with the team, Holloway moved back to his former team in Sweden, Skelleftea AIK, where he would spend the next three years, going from top scorer to a more defensive role. After his contract expired there, Holloway signed with Salzburg EC of the Austrian league, where he currently plays.
I’m a writer, artist, and journalist from Montreal. I started out writing the blog 9 seconds into OT, and have been a fan of the game since I was young.