MONTREAL – Staying healthy was a top priority for Brandon Prust in 2014-15. He accomplished that objective, and a lot more.
In his first two seasons in a Canadiens uniform, Prust spent his fair share of time on the sidelines due to injury, suiting up for just 90 out of a possible 164 regular season games. Then, in 2014-15, the London, ON native played every single regular season contest for just the third time in his eight-year NHL career. That afforded him the opportunity to amass 18 points, the second-highest point-haul of his career, and his best tally since joining the Canadiens in 2012-13.
Lining up primarily on right-wing alongside Lars Eller and Jiri Sekac prior to the young Czech forward’s departure for Anaheim, Prust registered four goals and 14 assists this past season, which proved to be his most productive year since 2010-11 when he put up 29 points with the New York Rangers. Not only did he chip in offensively between October and early April, but Prust also proved to be a force in that department come playoff time, too, collecting one goal and four points in 12 games. That tied the 31-year-old for sixth on the team with the likes of Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec.
If Prust did everything possible to avoid the Canadiens’ sick bay, you simply can’t say the same about his desire to stay out of the penalty box. He was the most penalized player on his team for a fourth straight year, claiming the title back in 2011-12 in New York before keeping that streak alive over the last three seasons in La Belle Province. Prust boasted 134 penalty minutes in 2014-15, the bulk of which came as a result of his penchant to drop the gloves in order to stand up for his teammates.
In 2014-15, Prust fought 16 times, which ranked him third in the NHL in that category behind only Cody McLeod of the Colorado Avalanche and Derek Dorsett of the Vancouver Canucks. In the playoffs, Prust fought again, going toe-to-toe with Braydon Coburn of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With one year remaining on his contract, fans can expect to see an even more combattive and hungrier Brandon Prust in 2015-16. Those who’ve seen him ply his trade in Montreal in recent years will surely be pleased with that.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.
New format, same enjoyment
Road to the NHL: Dustin Tokarski
Canadiens agree to terms on a six-year contract with Jeff Petry