With most leagues in full swing, it’s the perfect time to go take an early look at how well some players are stacking up in the Montreal Canadiens prospect pool.
These power rankings will be based on the overall season, as well as the most recent week of action. Factors such as the strength of their team, the league in which they play, their age, and expectations related to their draft position will also be considered.
Seeing as Juraj Slafkovsky has earned a job in the NHL thanks to some solid play, he will not be considered for the power rankings at this time. Prospects playing in professional leagues based in Europe, will, however, be included.
Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings
1. Lane Hutson, 62nd overall (2022), Defenceman, Boston University (NCAA)
Hutson was the talk of the town following the Canadiens’ development camp in September. He has all the tools necessary to become a dominant presence on the blue line, but the question remained: would his style of play translate quickly to the NCAA?
After all, making the jump from high school hockey to college hockey is monumentally challenging.
After just seven games with the Terriers, it’s becoming apparent that not only will Hutson’s game translate nicely, he might be in for an all-time season.
LANE. IS. HIM. pic.twitter.com/m6sHMopvgV
— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) October 30, 2022
At just 18 years old, the defenceman is currently second in scoring for his team, trailing only a 25-year-old forward.
It might be unrealistic for Hutson to keep up his great scoring pace, but with 3 goals and 5 assists in 7 games, it’s fair to say the freshman is off to a great start to his NCAA career.
2. Owen Beck, 32nd overall (2022), Centre, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
All things considered, Beck got off to a relatively slow start once he returned from his fantastic showing at the Montreal Canadiens training camp, a performance that earned him an entry-level contract.
But after being held off the scoresheet in his first two games, the cerebral centre has exploded offensively, scoring 7 goals and 7 assists in the following 8 matchups.
— Mississauga Steelheads (@OHLSteelheads) October 22, 2022
He’s also maintained an excellent faceoff efficiency (59.4 percent) as well as his usual stalwart work in the defensive zone.
3. Filip Mesar, 26th overall (2022), Right Wing, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
If Mesar hadn’t missed a game with the flu, there are fairly good odds he’d be challenging Beck for the top spot among forwards.
It should come as no surprise that Mesar is dominating the OHL with 4 goals and 4 assists in just 4 games, seeing as he played professional hockey in Slovakia since 2020.
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) October 23, 2022
Given he has a wealth of experience playing against men, as well as scoring against professional goalies, it’s also no surprise that Mesar is on pace for a 61-goal, 61-assist season.
4. Cedrick Guindon, 127th overall (2022), Centre, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Guindon’s ranking may come as a surprise, especially since the Attack have a rather strong lineup this season, but the fourth-round pick isn’t just outproducing last season’s scoring rate, he’s blowing it out of the water.
With 5 goals and 13 assists in 13 games, the 18-year-old leads all Owen Sound players in scoring.
Expectations always play a part when it comes to evaluating prospects, and the expectations were rather low in Guindon’s case, but the fact remains he’s on pace for a 94-point season, which would be a 33% improvement over his production last season.
Expecting a breakout season from Cedrick Guindon (MTL) and the Owen Sound Attack. Strong team-wide results.
Guindon can rip it, excels at getting open in the slot, and connects tons of small-area transition passes to create advantages up the ice. pic.twitter.com/4uoi61ZbCA
— Mitchell Brown (@MitchLBrown) September 19, 2022
5. Riley Kidney, 63rd overall (2021), Centre, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
Despite a relatively quiet weekend, Kidney is still on pace for a great season, and currently has 5 goals and 14 assists in 14 games.
It’s worth noting the Titan are one of the worst teams in the QMJHL this season, which skews in Kidney’s favour when evaluating his overall performance, and was the determining factor in placing the 19-year-old fifth rather than sixth in the inaugural Montreal Canadiens prospect rankings.
6. Joshua Roy, 150th overall (2021), Right Wing, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMHJL)
After a blistering start to the season, 19-year-old Joshua Roy has cooled off a little and was held scoreless in the last two games he played. The Phoenix, who are second in the league, have him well surrounded, and despite not scoring last weekend he did put a ridiculous 14 shots on net.
He’s still producing over a point per game with 6 goals and 13 assists in 12 games, and despite not being on pace to match his production last season, where he finished as the league’s top scorer, he’s established himself as one of the best players in the league.
7. Adam Engstrom, 92nd overall (2022), Defenceman, Rogle BK (SHL)
It’s one thing to make an impact in the J20 league as an 18-year-old prospect, but it’s another thing entirely to play in the country’s top league against men with a bevy of experience.
Despite the difficulty involved in jumping leagues, and a limited amount of ice time given his age, Engstrom has, by all accounts, played quite well, and should be a shoo-in for Sweden’s World Junior Championship team.
— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) October 15, 2022
8. Cayden Primeau, 199th overall (2017), Goaltender, Laval Rocket (AHL)
The Rocket are off to an awful start to the AHL season, currently sitting near the basement of the North Division with just 5 points in 8 games, but without fantastic performances from Primeau, things could be much worse.
His 2-2-1 record doesn’t do justice to his overall level of play. Not only did he manage to pitch a shutout, but he’s also sporting an encouraging goals-against average (2.39) and a fantastic save percentage (0.925).
At 23 years old, the expectations are a little higher for Primeau, but there’s no doubt he’s in the midst of the best professional season of his young career.
9. Jakub Dobes, 136th overall (2020), Goaltender, Ohio State Buckeyes (NCAA)
Unfortunately for Dobes, his last two starts in the NCAA we were below his standard, which led to a drop in the power rankings, but when you consider he’s still rocking a 2.25 goals against average and a 0.917 save percentage, it’s fair to say the 21-year-old is still among the Montreal Canadiens’ best goaltender prospects.
10. Petteri Nurmi, 194th overall (2022), Defenceman, HPK (Liiga)
There were several candidates to take the last spot in the prospect rankings this week. Jared Davidson, Vinzenz Rohrer, and Logan Mailloux were all in contention, but even if Nurmi, who is 20 years old, happens to be older than two of the three aforementioned prospects, he’s playing professional hockey against a much higher level of competition, which holds significant value. Nurmi, who is playing on HPK’s top pairing, has 1 goal and 3 assists in 7 games.
Do you agree or disagree with the prospect rankings? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll take it into consideration for next week’s power rankings.