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Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings: Heating Up Ahead Of WJC

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Montreal Canadiens prospect Adam Engstrom

With the World Junior Championship just around the corner, it’s a crucial time for all the players in the Canadiens prospect pool, seeing as many of them are in contention to represent their country.

Thankfully, due to the overall strength of the prospects in the system, the vast majority of the players included in these rankings performed well above expectations.

There was a significant amount of movement this week, not to mention a few harsh decisions when it comes to the prospects at the bottom of the list.

Let’s get right into it.

Reminder: 

The Canadiens prospect power rankings are based on the overall season, as well as the most recent week of action.

Factors such as the strength of a prospect’s 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.

Week 1: Lane Hutson Takes Top Spot

Week 2: Owen Beck Jumps To First

Week 3: Lots Of Movement In The Top 10

Week 4: Lane Hutson Back In First Place


Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings Week 5

 

1. Lane Hutson, 62nd overall (2022), Defenceman, Boston University (NCAA)

Points This Week: 1 GP, 2 G, 0 A. Season Totals: 12 GP, 4 G, 8 A, 14 PTS.

Previous Ranking: 1st (Unchanged)

The Boston University Terriers played two games last week. As per usual, Hutson was excellent in both, but only one game will count seeing as their second game was an exhibition against the U.S. Under-18 Team.

However, it did allow us to get a glimpse into the future, seeing as Hutson was used on the top pairing and the top power-play unit for the first time this season. He ended up scoring a goal in the third period that pushed the game to overtime.

The game against Notre Dame will go in the record books, which is great news for Canadiens fans, because Hutson scored two goals, including his third game-winning goal of the season.

Earlier this year we discussed the importance of not overhyping prospects such as Hutson with a relatively small sample size. At this point, given he’s on pace to have one of the best seasons as an 18-year-old defenceman in NCAA history, shovelling some coal in the hype train seems rather appropriate.

Throughout their illustrious existence, the Canadiens have had few, if any, prospects like Hutson in their prospect system.

 

2. Owen Beck, 32nd overall (2022) Centre, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Last Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 4 A.  Season Totals: 20 GP, 15G, 14 A, 29 PTS

Previous Ranking: 2nd (Unchanged)

It feels a little silly to write these words, but with just five points since our last Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings, Beck did not manage to push Hutson out of the top spot.

In most prospect pools, an 18-year-old that is obliterating his Draft year production in addition to being a stalwart presence in the defensive zone and having one of the best faceoff efficiencies in the CHL would be enough to push a player to the top of the list.

But the Canadiens are blessedly burdened by an overabundance of exciting young players, which is keeping Beck out of first place.

Logically, he should be a lock for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship, but logic isn’t always the determining factor in these decisions, which means he’ll need to keep up his impressive play.

GOTTA SEE IT: Owen Beck Gets Into A Rare Fight

Alternatively, if Team Canada is looking for an enforcing, they can also rely upon Beck.

 

3. Sean Farrell, 124th overall (2020), C/LW, Harvard University (NCAA) 

Points This Week: 2 GP, 0 G, 3 A  Season Totals: 9 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 PTS.

Previous Ranking: 5th (+2)

It was yet another productive week for the fourth-round pick. In our last edition, Farrell fell a few spots due to Harvard’s 10-day break in their schedule, but he wasted absolutely no time getting back into the thick of things once he finally returned to the ice, including a two-point effort against Michigan.

At 21 years old, Farrell is a little older than most of his competition, but we should keep in mind he was forced to remain in the USHL for an additional season due to the pandemic and is only 9 games into his second NCAA season.

Generally speaking, anything above a point per game in the NCAA is worthy of recognition. Not to mention, he’s producing in all situations, including the power play and the penalty kill, which is exactly what you want to see from a prospect of his age.

 

4. Riley Kidney, 63rd overall (2021), Centre, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)

Points This Week: 3 GP,1 G, 4 A. Season Totals: 21 GP, 13 G, 26 A, 39 PTS.

Previous Ranking: 3rd (-1)

Another ranking, another solid performance by Kidney, who added a shorthanded goal to his resume in Sunday’s game against the Rimouski Oceanic.

Kidney plays on a very weak team, and with that in mind, we should place a little more importance on his scoring rate, which is rather impressive. As it stands, he is firmly in the team lead for points, 10 clear of his nearest competition.

Kidney is also third overall in QMJHL scoring.

Kidney should have a spot on Team Canada’s WJC roster, which will give us a better idea of how he performs when he’s not spending most of his time trying to reduce the opponent’s lead.

 

5. Joshua Roy, 150th overall (2021), Right Wing, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMHJL)

Points This Week: 3 GP, 3 G, 0 A.  Season Totals: 22 GP, 15 G, 20 A, 35 PTS.

Previous Ranking: 4th (-1)

Three games, three goals. It’s hard to complain when evaluating Roy’s season (this is the part where I immediately complain).

And yet, there’s something left to be desired in his overall gameplay.

Perhaps expectations are too high in his case, especially following his excellent Draft +1 season which saw him lead the league in scoring.

He’s currently 10th in QMHJL scoring, which is very good for a fifth-round pick, but not exactly up to the standards we’ve come to expect for Roy.

Roy hangs onto a spot in the top 5 due to his solid production rate, but given the strength of his team and his past success, he’ll need to pick it up a notch to crack the top 3.

 

6. Oliver Kapanen 64th overall (2021), Centre, Kalpa (Liiga),

Points This Week: 5 GP, 2 G, 0 A . Season Totals: 25 GP, 5 G, 7 A, 12 PTS. (Finland U-20: 5 GP, 5 G, 2 A, 5 PTS)

Previous Ranking: 6th (Unchanged)

Following a very successful WJC warmup tournament, Kapanen returned to Liiga and added a couple of goals to his season totals.

He’s scoring goals in a professional league against players that are much older than him, and he’s improved his Draft production rate significantly. He also continues to lead all U-20 players in scoring.

 

7. Cedrick Guindon, 127th overall (2022), Centre, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Points This Week: 3 GP, 0 G, 4 A. Season Totals: 23 GP, 9 G, 23 A, 32 PTS.

Previous Ranking: 9th (+2)

Guindon jumps up a couple of spots this week, both because his competition faltered and due to his overall season, which simply hasn’t been discussed enough when the topic of exciting Canadiens prospects comes up.

MUST READ: Marco D’Amico’s interview with the Guindon

The 18-year-old sits fourth in OHL scoring and is well on his way to eclipsing his Draft totals by a significant margin.

If he had managed a goal and perhaps another assist, he would have finished even higher in the rankings.

 

8. Adam Engstrom, 92nd overall (2022), Defenceman. Rogle BK Angelholm (SHL)

Points This Week: 3 GP, 2 G, 0 A. Season Totals: 19 GP, 3 G, 1 A, 4 PTS. (Rogle BK U-20: 7 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 PTS)

Previous Rank: Unranked (+2)

It’s one thing to earn almost two points per game while playing with the U-20 team, but it’s even more impressive when an 18-year-old is playing on the top pairing for a professional hockey team.

Include a pair of goals, and it’s starting to become apparent it was a mistake to drop Engstrom out of the top 10 a few weeks ago.

His skating remains of the silky-smooth variety, as evidenced in the clip below (No.56).

9. Filip Mesar, 26th overall (2022), Right Wing, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

Points This Week: 2 GP, 0 G, 2 A. Season Totals: 14 GP, 6G, 10 A, 16 PTS.

Previous Ranking: 8th (-1)

Mesar was at risk of falling to 10th, or perhaps even off the list. He continues to produce a relatively healthy amount of offence, but it’s far from what you’d expect from a first-round pick, especially now that he’s had some time to acclimatize to his surroundings.

Granted, Kitchener is not a strong team, but ideally, Mesar would have a few more goals to his record at this point in the season.

It’s rather harsh, but the expectations are much higher in Mesar’s case compared to other 18-year-old players from his draft season.

 

10. Vinzenz Rohrer, 75th overall (2022), C/RW, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

Points This Week: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A. Season Totals: 21 GP, 8 G, 18 A, 26 PTS.

Previous Rank: 7th (-3)

Rohrer only played one game since we last established the Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings, and he was held off the scoresheet in Ottawa’s 5-0 loss to the North Bay Battalion.

Fortunately, Rohrer possesses a very interesting skill set that allows him to contribute in other facets of the game, which was the determining factor when it comes to his placement this week.

Both Jared Davidson and Logan Mailloux were in contention, but they are older than Rohrer and have significant red flags in their game, particularly when it comes to Mailloux’s defensive prowess.

To make things fair, we should probably consider extending the power rankings to 15 prospects, especially since the Canadiens prospect pool is incredibly deep.


Honourable mentions/on the cusp: Jared Davidson, Emil Heineman, Xavier Simoneau, Anthony Richard,  Jakub Dobes.

Players that fell out of the Rankings this week: Logan Mailloux.


Do you agree or disagree with the Canadiens prospect rankings? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for next week’s list.

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Pierre B.

The rankings are fair enough and the comments adequately explain your choices.

I would definitely encourage you to make it a top 15 at this point given the quality of the extra five you would add. Furthermore, I would like to read about the NHL readiness of certain prospects. You should clarify whether or not prospects playing in the AHL are considered in your rankings. The statements “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.” are not clear about that. So far, given that none were ever mentioned, I thought that they were excluded. However, this week, Xavier Simoneau and Anthony Richard received HM. So now, I’m confused.

On another note, I was pleasantly surprised i nthe video when I noticed that Adam Engström, a LHD, score twice while playing on the right side.

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