One of the easiest aspects of covering all the exciting players in the Montreal Canadiens prospect pool this season is the sheer abundance of talented players available to discuss.
In some years, the focus would be on one, perhaps two prospects surpassing expectations, but this season fans have been treated to great seasons from prospects such as QMJHL star Joshua Roy, second-round pick Riley Kidney, smooth-skating defenceman Adam Engstrom, and cerebral centre Owen Beck.
And yet, despite all the interesting storylines, NCAA standout Lane Hutson continues to steal the show.
We will get to other prospects at some point, probably.
But for now, it’s all about Hutson.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
The last time we checked in with Hutson, he was fresh off a two-goal performance against Notre Dame, which had pushed his production to the point that he was being compared to some of the best freshmen defencemen in NCAA history.
And rightfully so.
His production was trending toward historical levels.
— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) December 2, 2022
Following the Boston University Terriers’ 6-3 win over the New Hampshire Wildcats, a game that saw Hutson record an impressive three assists, it’s starting to become apparent this Canadiens prospect possesses a very special skill set.
It’s a skill set that makes calculating his potential a challenging, if not incredibly encouraging and exciting task.
When Hutson started his NCAA career with his first three-assist effort, the majority of Habs fans took a cautious approach, owing to the incredibly small sample size.
But at this point, it’s difficult to observe the 18-year-old’s scoring pace without allowing your imagination to run wild when it comes to his potential NHL impact.
Hutson has six goals and 11 assists in just 13 games, which makes him the Terriers’ leading scorer, tied with Matthew Brown.
Brown is a forward.
And he’s also five years older than Hutson.
Hutson’s three-point effort against New Hampshire was his seventh multi-point game of the season.
In addition, Hutson sits eighth overall in the NCAA in freshmen scoring, which includes forwards such as Ryan McAllister, who is 20 years old, and Adam Fantilli, who is expected to be among the top-3 picks at the upcoming Draft.
But it gets even better for the 2022 second-round pick.
He also leads the entire NCAA in defenceman scoring, ahead of the fourth-overall pick at the 2021 Draft, Luke Hughes.
— The Habitant (@the_habitant) December 3, 2022
There are some red flags to consider.
Or rather, there are some aspects of his game that could stand to be improved, which is par for the course when discussing a player as young as Hutson.
He will need to keep adding muscle to his lean frame, as he’ll surely be tested physically at every level as his career continues to progress.
Once in a while, he bites off more than he can chew, which does lead to rushes that put Hutson in an unenviable position on the rare occasion he loses the puck deep inside the opponent’s offensive zone.
But given his historic production, you’ll have to excuse Canadiens fans if they don’t lose sleep over the minor issues that require easy adjustments.
Simply put, over the last few decades, there has not been a player with as much potential as Hutson in the Canadiens’ prospect pool.
Canadiens Prospect NCAA Connection
Hutson isn’t the only player scoring at will in the collegiate ranks.
2020 fourth-round pick Sean Farrell has maintained his impressive scoring rate, including a three-point game in Harvard’s 6-4 loss to Colgate on Saturday night.
That puts his season totals at 7 goals and 11 assists in just 11 games.
With 1.64 points per game, Farrell is second in the NCAA, behind the aforementioned McAllister.
There was some concern as to whether Farrell’s situation, which led to him staying with the USHL’s Chicago Steel for an additional season due to the pandemic, would negatively impact his development.
Given his ridiculous scoring pace, it’s safe to say those concerns have been laid to rest.
Sean Farrell again! It's a two goal night and we have the lead! #GoCrimson
— Harvard Men's Hockey (@HarvardMHockey) December 4, 2022
Other Canadiens Prospect News And Notes
- Oliver Kapanen confirmed he is unlikely to play with the Laval Rocket next season.
- There are rumblings throughout the league that due to their poor start and weak roster, Canadiens prospect Filip Mesar may get traded from the Kitchener Rangers to a contending team in the OHL.
- Owen Beck was held off the scoresheet for a second consecutive game. The Steelheads are currently missing key defencemen, and they’re having a hard time earning results without them.
- Cedrick Guindon earned his 13th multi-point game of the season for the Owen Sound Attack. Read his interview with MontrealHockey Now by clicking here.
- After a relatively strong start to the season from an offensive standpoint, defenceman Logan Mailloux was held scoreless in four of his last five games.
- If you haven’t watched the video of Canadiens prospect Adam Engstrom dancing the blueline in the SHL, do yourself a favour and check it out. He’s wearing No.56.
54 William Wallinder (DET) and 56 Adam Engström (MTL) form the youngest defensive pairing in the SHL.
Here are some of their higlights from the last two games. #LGRW #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/Qqbc9N12ho
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) November 29, 2022