Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Charles Hudon Autographed Card

I didn't post last weekend because I was on what was probably my last road trip of the hockey season, with two Hamilton Bulldogs games (Rochester and Toronto) and an OHL game as well (in Oshawa). I'll have more to report on that later, but first, I wanted to share a belated signed card from earlier this season, that I wanted to feature when he made the AHL's All-Star Game, but for some reason I passed on it.

Obviously, I'm talking about Charles Hudon, who I featured last year. He stands at 15 goals, 38 assists and 53 points in 68 games (with 62 penalty minutes) in his rookie season at the professional level, where he showed he could stand the rigors and toughness of pro play and perhaps just needs to work on his endurance to withstand the grind an 80-game schedule with consistency.

He was a point-per-game player up until the previously mentioned All-Star Game, and also was in Juniors, not just during the regular season, but also during the LHJMQ playoffs over four seasons. His effort level and determination reminds me a lot of Brendan Gallagher, although he probably isn't as quick; on the other hand, even though he's a few years younger than the Montréal Canadiens' trouble-maker, his defensive play and hockey sense might even be a tad superior.

Should the 5'10'' center and winger fail to develop into a second-line offensive threat at the NHL level (though his adaptation to the AHL suggests he'll be fine), his place on a third line is just about guaranteed.

Five years down the line, the Habs might have a very promising team, with Alex Galchenyuk on the first line, 40-goal man Max Pacioretty still in his prime, Nikita Scherbak another scoring threat, Hudon, Jacob De La Rose as a checking center, Gallagher and perhaps even Tomas Plekanec still around providing effort and leadership, perhaps Daniel Carr also making the team, and maybe grinders like Gabriel Dumont (I still believe) and Michaël Bournival to round out the bottom-six, and a defense comprised of P.K. Subban on the verge of turning 30, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and maybe even Greg Pateryn still on the team, and Zach Fucale manning the pipes. I mean, they're contenders now, and only a major meltdown will stop them from still being so even if the valuable warriors Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, Mike Weaver, Dale Weise and Brandon Prust retire with the team and fetch nothing in return (an honor I wish for Markov, Plekanec, Prust and Weise, at least).

I'd also like Devante Smith-Pelly and Eric Tangradi find their game again and enter the five-year plan.

As you can see, I very much see Hudon as an essential part of the Habs' future.

Which is why I was happy to have him sign this card in black sharpie:
It shows him wearing the Chicoutimi Saguenéens' classic white (home) uniform, from In The Game's 2011-12 Heroes And Prospects set (it's card #44 in the collection). ITG no longer has the rights to produce AHL cards, so if I want one of him with the Bulldogs, I'll have to acquire some of Upper Deck's AHL cards (because having the monopoly on NHL cards wasn't enough). I used to love that aspect of H&P cards, the fact that Juniors and minor pro players were part of the same set.

Oh well, times change.

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