A look at the Montreal Canadiens top 10 prospects heading into the 2015-16 season.
In the past, both the Habs NHL roster and prospect pipeline were full of undersized players. Help is on the way with some big bodied prospects coming down the pipe.
At the same time the Habs are not sacrificing too much in terms of talent and skill. Despite the current trend in the NHL leaning towards skill and speed, there will always be a need for size throughout an NHL roster.
1. Nikita Scherbak: Right Wing – 6’1” / 175 lbs
Drafted: 26th overall in the first round of the 2014 draft by Montreal.
Scherbak is a highly-skilled two-way forward who is capable of handling physical rigors despite a thin frame. He has outstanding puck skills and is willing to compete in hard areas. His skating speed, quick release. – Hockeys Future
2. Michael McCarron: Centre – 6’5” / 237 lbs
Drafted: 25th overall in the first round of the 2013 draft by Montreal.
Good, smooth skater for his size – moves well laterally .. a north-south threat as he attains very good top speed .. not overly quick off the mark though – needs to add quickness to startup .. decent puckhandler aided by a huge reach .. steadily improving physical consistency – learning to exploit his size .. must keep getting stronger and bulking up a mammoth frame .. a future third-line power pivot. – McKeens Hockey
3. Zach Fucale: Goalie – 6’1” / 178 lbs
Drafted: 36th overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by Montreal.
A focused and timely goaltender most nights – even backing a powerhouse squad .. main strengths include a positional-based butterfly and overall calm demeanor .. brings structure and efficiency on low plays, including post coverage, wraparounds, and jam plays .. does a good job absorbing shots off the chest, stomach, or low-waist area .. plays an effortless style and excels at letting plays and pucks come to him .. reads plays well and understands how to manage depth in the crease depending on the situation .. showcases an economy of movement and stays patient on his edges, waiting for shooters to make the first move .. rebound control is excellent. – McKeens Hockey
4. Noah Juulsen: Defence – 6’2” / 174 lbs
Drafted: 26th overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by Montreal.
Noah Juulsen is a strong skater, with a smooth and fluid stride. While he’s not an absolute speedster, he does have good speed and acceleration. Its in his edgework and agility though that he really shines. Juulsen pivots quickly and this allows him to cover large areas of the ice. – Last Word On Sports
5. Charles Hudon: Left Wing – 5’10” / 178 lbs
Drafted: 122nd overall in the fifth round of the 2012 draft by Montreal.
Hudon is mainly known for his offensive skills but can also play defensively as seen by his solid plus/minus differential. The talented winger is blessed with superior hockey sense, a great vision and quick hands which allow him to control the play in the offensive zone and create scoring opportunities for him and his line-mates. He has maturity beyond his age while providing leadership, character and a strong work ethic for his teammates. The smallish forward will need to add more muscle mass to withstand the physical play along the boards at the pro level while working on his skating edge control and his four-step acceleration. – Hockeys Future
6. Martin Reway: Left Wing – 5’8” / 170 lbs
Drafted: 116th overall in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by Montreal.
Reway had a particularly impressive performance at the past World Juniors for Slovakia and there is no denying that he has the skill set, most notably his game breaking speed, to be an NHL player someday. – Hockey Prospectus
7. Greg Pateryn: Defence – 6’2” / 222 lbs
Drafted 128th overall by Toronto in the 2008 draft.
Acquired: Trade with Toronto in 2008.
Pateryn spent some time with the Habs last season, including seven playoff games and proved he can be effective when keeping things simple and knowing his limitations. Hockey Prospectus
8. Sven Andrighetto: Right Wing – 5-9 / 183 lbs
Drafted: 86th overall in the third round of the 2013 draft by Montreal.
Andrighetto has an excellent slapshot, especially on one timers. It is hard and extremely accurate. He also has a very good wrist shot and an excellent release. Not just a one trick pony though, Andrighetto is as good a playmaker as he is a sniper, with very good vision and passing skills. Despite his size Andrighetto tries to play a gritty game and get involved in the corners, and he’s more successful than many would expect. – Last Word On Sports
9. Daniel Carr: Left Wing – 6’0” / 194 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2014.
For the most part, Carr is a simple player. He possesses well above-average work ethic, hockey sense, and shooting ability, but he is by no means a flashy or physical player. While technically-sound, Carr doesn’t own breakaway speed or an explosive first few steps. Instead, he relies on solid edge work, deceptive speed, and smart decisions. One-on-one he will rarely wow, instead opting to push the puck where he wants to go and win the ensuing foot race. As a playmaker, he doesn’t particularly impress, as he tends to elect for shorter, safer passes or beginning the cycle. – All About the Habs
10. Darren Dietz: Defence – 6’1” / 204 lbs
Drafted: 138th overall in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by Montreal.
Dietz is a right-handed shot defenseman who is not afraid to support the offense. He makes a smart first pass and keeps active on the ice, willingly engaging the opposition with physical play. He has the prototypical size for an NHL back liner and is willing to mix things up when the situation warrants. He make things difficult for opposing forwards. Dietz possesses the overall game to play a role on both specialty team units. – Hockeys Future
Recent Roster Graduations: Michael Bournival, Jacob de la Rose, Jarred Tinordi
Honorable Mentions: Christian Thomas, Artturi Lehkonen, Mike Condon, Brett Lernout, Jeremy Gregoire, Mark MacMillan, Jeremiah Addison, Tim Bozon.
Players under 25 years old and with less than 25 career NHL games played qualify as a prospect for purpose of this list.
Written by Peter Harling, who can be found on twitter @pharling