TORONTO, ON. — Development camp was a big shot for the youngsters looking to impress GM Marc Bergevin and staff in hopes of receiving a professional contract offer however it was also a big time to shine for the youngsters who are looking to make a lasting impression on management in hopes of cracking the Canadiens lineup to begin the 2015-16 season.
Here I will be counting down the Montreal Canadiens top 10 prospects:
10. Martin Reway – LW (4th round, 116th overall in 2013)
Martin Reway had a breakout year with Sparta Praha of the Czech league, he had nine goals along with 28 assists for 37 points in 34 games in his first professional season playing against men as a 20-year-old. Reway’s strong skating ability along with his creativity with the puck are his best assets, Reway excels at quarterbacking the power-play as he showed while captaining the Slovak world junior team. In addition to Reway’s excellent 2014-15 campaign he was recognized by the Czech league as the rookie of the year and the Czech league most points as a junior, at the international level the IIHF recognized Reway as a top-3 player on his team alongside with his nations bronze medal finish.
- Career Czech league point per game average – 1.09PPG
9. Daniel Audette – C (5th round, 147th overall in 2014)
Daniel Audette put up good numbers for the third straight season in the QMJHL, he had 29 goals and 44 assists for 73 points in 60 games with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Audette’s smaller stature is not something to frown at, he plays bigger than his size, he also possesses immense talent with and without the puck, Audette is still a few years away from making an impact however his success at the professional level will be contingent on making space for himself and utilizing his wicked speed to exploit the defense.
- Career QMJHL point per game average – 0.98PPG
Defensive defenseman Jarred Tinordi will be entering his fourth professional season in 2015-16, Tinordi has spent the past few seasons between the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Canadiens, Tinordi has yet to take the next step in his career, his development took a bit of a hit in the 2014-15 season due to injuries. Tinordi has shown flashes of brilliance offensively however it is limited, Tinordi thrives defensively due to his skating ability and size, he can effectively separate the puck carrier from the puck with his long reach or by using his body, he can lead offensive rushes if he has the space to do so. Sometimes hulking prospects like Tinordi take a bit longer to develop, all he needs is the opportunity at the NHL level to show he can stay in the top-6 and he will prove that is where he belongs.
- Career AHL point per game average – 0.18PPG
7. Sven Andrighetto – RW/C (3rd round, 86th overall in 2013)
Passed over in two NHL drafts the Canadiens decided to take a chance on diminutive winger Sven Andrighetto, Andrighetto so far in two professional seasons has proved it to be a worthwhile shot, Andrighetto spent his first professional season in the AHL then split some time with the Canadiens during the 2014-15 season where he notched his first career NHL goal and three points in his first three career games, Andrighetto sees the ice very well, he’s always played a fast paced skill game, he has a lethal shot and likes to dangle, Andrighetto is decent defensively, the only knock on him is his size however he doesn’t let that stop him.
- Career AHL point per game average – 0.70PPG
6. Noah Juulsen – RD (1st round, 26th overall in 2015)
Right handed rearguard Noah Juulsen soared up the draft ranking boards during the 2014-15 season, Montreal management had a lot of time to watch Juulsen play while they were in Everett watching Nikita Scherbak (2014 1st round pick) playing. Juulsen’s a fantastic skater, he makes space for himself quite well, he has a good shot, he can play the physical game which the Canadiens defense core can use in some time, Juulsen is a project pick at this point but a safe one, his game rises to the occasion.
- Career WHL point per game average – 0.48PPG
5. Daniel Carr – LW (Undrafted free-agent signing on April 24th 2014)
Daniel Carr burst onto the professional scene with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the 2014-15 season, he did nothing but impress. Carr was fairly unknown among the Canadiens fanbase when the signing was announced however with his hard work and stellar play, he started to make a name for himself as someone who could potentially add a bit of size and scoring touch to the Canadiens lineup if need be. Carr scored 24 goals in his rookie AHL season which won him the AHL most goals by a rookie award. Carr has a legitimate shot at cracking the Canadiens lineup at the start of the 2015-16 season if he impresses management at training camp in September.
- Career AHL point per game average – 0.51PPG
4. Brett Lernout – RD (3rd round, 73rd overall in 2014)
Brett Lernout was seen as a bit of a curious selection when the Canadiens called his name 73rd overall in 2014 however the hulking rearguard responded with a fantastic 2014-15 season, he took some big steps forward last season both offensively and defensively. Something very noticeable in his game now is how he forces the puck carrier to the outside and likes to play the physical game. Lernout has a quick first step however his decision making with the puck at times is somewhat suspect, he has many positives to his game, as like any young hulking rearguard he also has some faults but all the tools are there as he heads into his first full professional season.
- Career WHL point per game average – 0.32PPG
3. Charles Hudon – C (5th round, 122nd overall in 2012)
Charles Hudon had a standout rookie season in the AHL notching three awards in the process including the AHL’s all-rookie team. Hudon uses his blazing speed and lethal shot to beat his opponents. He likes to play a possession, skilled game which is his biggest asset. Hudon was used as the quarterback – point man on the Bulldogs powerplay this past season. Hudon really rounded out his game quite well in Hamilton, he’s solid and reliable in his own end and likes to rush the puck up the ice to create plays using his excellent vision and playmaking abilities. He is excelling at the AHL level and will be one of the top prospects getting a big shot at training camp to make the offense-starved Montreal Canadiens.
- Career AHL point per game average – 0.71PPG
2. Michael McCarron – C/RW (1st round, 25th overall in 2013)
Gigantic forward Michael McCarron took huge steps forward in all aspects of his game this past season while splitting time with the London Knights and the Memorial Cup winning Oshawa Generals, McCarron was switched to center during the year, he excelled playing center. McCarron likes to drive the middle of the ice which opens up space for his teammates to create plays, he isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and likes to play a physical game, he also has shown what soft hands he has for a big guy, he can make the pretty play one shift then go back to physically dominating the opponent the next shift. McCarron is a versatile forward who is solid defensively with very good offensive instincts, he was named to the Memorial Cup all-star team, he was a big part of the Generals winning, he keeps the opponents honest and will play professional next season.
- Career OHL point per game average – 0.84PPG
1. Nikita Scherbak – RW (1st round, 26th overall in 2014)
Nikita Scherbak undoubtedly is the most talented forward out of the group, from his lightning quick speed to his incredible dangling ability, Scherbak has it all. He’s a kid who likes to skate the puck from his own zone to try and create something special. He’s a confident player with and without the puck. Scherbak has all the tools to become a superstar in the NHL, he needs some seasoning however he played under Kevin Constantine last season, a coach that likes to balance his lines and make sure they are good defensively, Scherbak has a lethal shot, blazing speed and quick hands, he needs to improve on his defensive play and his consistency however that will come in time as he adjusts to the professional level. Scherbak plays a very similar game to current Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk, they skate the same way, both extremely talented and can create something from nothing, Canadiens fans saw this first hand last pre-season when they played together alongside Brendan Gallagher. Scherbak is the Canadiens top organizational prospect who may be able to make the jump to the NHL this season if he can impress management in training camp, if he does, it wouldn’t hurt to have a potential game breaking offensive oriented player in the lineup.
- Career WHL point per game average – 1.23PPG
When these prospects start pushing for a lineup spot either now or in the future, they will have to be given a bit of rope to play a style that fits them, the Canadiens need diversity in their lineup, a mix of skill, speed, toughness and to be solid defensively, if management looks at their prospect pool and decides to open thing up, a lot of their prospects may end up making a splash in the organization.
The Canadiens have a few scoring holes to fill before the start of the next season, there is the potential that Marc Bergevin will have two new rookies in the lineup on opening right if they force his hand, Bergevin said they’re going with a youth movement last season, if this is true, they have to follow it and give the kids a chance to prove themselves, they may be surprised at how big of an impact some of these kids may have if given the chance right away.
Do you agree with my rankings? Tell me what yours would be and why in the comments section below.