An impactful return for the Rocket
On Monday, the Rocket had great news to share. The 22-year-old forward, Joël Teasdale, had received the green light and has been officially cleared to play with Laval. Teasdale missed the start of the season because of a knee injury that he sustained late last year.
It’s an injury to the same knee that had forced Teasdale to miss his first professional season with the Rocket. Therefore, it’s a welcomed sight to see him back in the lineup of the team after going through another challenging rehab.
“I’m very excited” summarized Teasdale. “I don’t have any fear at all. We saw it after my first injury when I came back. My style of play has not changed at all. I’m not afraid to go in the corners, go in the battles, fight in front of the net. That’s what I intend to do again.”
More than just an inspiring story of perseverance, Teasdale is also going to contribute to Laval’s forward group. In only 26 AHL games last year, the new number 24 showed without a doubt that he can contribute to the team success at this level.
“It’s good, it creates internal competition and internal competition is great for any team” answered Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle when asked about this return from injury. “Guys know that any given night, if the effort is not there, somebody else will take your spot. When you have a team like that, it keeps everybody honest and it brings the level of competition a little higher.”
At the beginning of the month in which he eventually injured himself last year, Teasdale was tied for fourth place in the points column among all rookie players in the AHL.
In the whole league at that point, he was in sixth place when it came to primary points (goals and first assist) at even strength. That statistic is important because it maintains well in the future and it indicates that the pace of the production can be kept on a long period of time. Unfortunately for Teasdale and the Rocket, that immediate future on the ice was cut short with that second knee injury.
He even scored in the game during which he got injured. It was a second straight game with a goal for him. Therefore, we can safely assume that once the rust comes off, the new #24 could be putting up points on the board pretty soon.
That being said, it’s important to note that he is not only an offensive player. If you look at Rocket forwards who are still with the team this year, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard is the only one who maintained a better scoring chances differential at 5 on 5 (+52) than Joël Teasdale (+41) during the 2021 campaign.
The player who was wearing #14 at the time had developed a nice chemistry with Ryan Poehling, who has since made his place in the NHL. To give you an idea, Poehling was on the ice for 13 Rocket goals at 5 on 5 last season. Teasdale was there with him for 11 of them.
“When you see him play or practice, he is a big guy who seems to be a very good hockey player. I think he will be able to help our team” admitted Jean-François Houle. “We will take our time and if we see that he can give us more, we will be able to bring him up in the lineup or even possibly putting him on the power play.”
With the trade deadline getting closer and closer, the hockey world will talk a lot about player movement. A player coming back like Joël Teasdale (plus captain Xavier Ouellet), and even Josh Brook eventually, won’t be named in those conversations but it doesn’t change the fact that it is a major add for the Laval Rocket, who will try to make the most of it and continue on their good run.