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Canadiens Prospects Receive High Praise From NHL Analyst

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have some promising prospects coming up, and NHL analyst Craig Button believes three are destined for big things in the NHL.

In an interview with Montreal Hockey Now, TSN’s Craig Button took some time to review the progress of prospects like Joshua Roy, Owen Beck and Lane Hutson.

In his estimation, all three were top talents to focus on in the Canadiens’ prospect pool; as their progression has been noteworthy over the last 12 months.

Le Sniper Beauceron

Joshua Roy has been on a tremendously steep progression curve since being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 5th round of the 2021 NHL Draft.

He went from a long-shot mid-round pick, to a can’t-miss Canadiens prospect within a matter of months due to his attention to detail and high-end Hockey IQ.

His growth as a player allowed him to not only crack Team Canada’s World Junior roster twice in a matter of months, but also helped him become an essential member of two different gold-medal teams.

“He wasn’t just a player on this 2023 gold-medal team; he was a key figure in so many different areas of the game,” said Button regarding Roy’s performances at the World Juniors this holiday season. “So when you talk about the progression of Joshua; we know he’s a gifted offensive player; there are so many things he can do in a game to help your team win.”

In Button’s estimation, Roy doesn’t have much to learn in junior. In fact, he believes the 2021-2022 QMJHL leading scorer has developed aspects of his game that make him one of the best prospects currently outside the NHL.

“You think of the progression he made in six months; the progressions that he’s made have really put him in a position as one of the very best drafted players outside the NHL,” said Button regarding Roy’s rapid development since the summer of 2021. “You think about a 5th-round pick now moving into that spot, becoming that kind of a player and regarded in that way; that speaks volumes about Joshua. To me, he’s going to be a really good play for a lot of years for the Montreal Canadiens.”

With Roy currently playing out the last few months of his QMJHL career as his Sherbrooke Phoenix push for a President’s Cup title; the experience he’s gaining will only serve him better at the pro level.

Big Time Beck

The scouting reports on Owen Beck leading up to the 2022 NHL Draft all had “solid, two-centre” written all over them.

Due to adequate, but not spectacular, offensive production in his draft year, which was also his rookie season in the OHL, Beck found himself picked outside of the first round by the Montreal Canadiens.

But, in Button’s estimation, that was simply a rare issue of circumstance brought on by the lingering effects that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the OHL in 2020 and 2021.

“I never thought that Owen would just be a checking centre, I always thought he’d be a good two-way centreman,” said Button about his viewpoint on Beck. “I think what you see in the OHL is what you’ll likely see in the NHL with Owen. You’re going to see someone who’s going to come in, play really good without the puck and not put up much offence; but then it’s going to progress as he gets more comfortable.

After a strong start to the season that saw him hit 17 goals and 23 assists for 40 points in just 30 games, Beck was an emergency recall for Team Canada after an untimely injury.

Beck not only got some playing time, but he also claimed a regular spot on Canada’s fourth line and made a difference in every game he played.

Upon his return to the Mississauga Steelheads, Beck was shockingly traded to the Peterberough Petes, but it seems that trade was only shocking for those who don’t see the writing on the wall.

“(Mississauga Steelheads general manager) James Richmond is likely thinking that the chances of having him back next year aren’t high,” said Button regarding the reasoning behind Owen Beck being traded in the OHL at 18. “That speaks volumes about Owen.”

Whether or not Owen Beck makes the Canadiens out of camp next fall is a debate for long down the road.

That being said, the fact that a 2nd round selection can improve to the degree that his OHL coaches are already projecting his immediate future in the NHL is an excellent sign that he’s progressing well ahead of schedule.

Headstrong Hutson

Likely the most exciting prospect in the Montreal Canadiens prospect pool, Lane Hutson just continues to defy the odds and prove he is much more than your typical late, second-round pick.

In 21 games this season for Boston University, Hutson has put up eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points in just 21 games; an impressive feat for any defencemen, let alone a freshman.

For Button, this is more of the same for a player he believes had the talent to be selected far higher than 62nd overall.

“Prior to the World Junior tournament, I previewed some prospects and Lane was one of them. I’ve watched Lane play since he was 16 years old and all he does at every level is meet every successive demand. Whatever the next challenge is, he meets it,” said Button regarding his observations of Lane Hutson. ” If Lane Hutson was 5’11, he would have been in consideration for the 1st overall pick. There’s no question about it.”

Being 5’9, the path forward has never been easy for Hutson, as defencemen of his stature are rather rare in the NHL.

That being said, Hutson has always been about defying the odds and rising up to the challenge in front of him.

“Everything Lane Hutson does, when he plays, is show how superior he is to the competition. He played U-18 when he was a U-17, he was on the junior team at 18, he’s been one of the best defencemen in the entire NCAA as a freshman,” said Button regarding Hutson’s resilience. “I don’t think anyone questioned his talent, but, you know, the smaller player has to continue proving himself. Well, Lane just keeps proving himself time and time again.”

It may be early to see him making the the jump to the NHL just yet, as he may likely need an extra year of conditioning before venturing to the pro game.

That being said, when he does eventually make the jump, you can expect Hutson to rise to the challenge, as he he always has.

 

Here’s the full segment below:

 

*Apologies to Boston University fans and staff for the mix-up

 

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michaelg

Fantastic piece! Great insight. Thanks

John Stone

joshua roy should be playing on a line with caufield and suzuki.. but then again .. more development is never a bad thing. But hopefully gorton and hughes see’s this and put him in a trial basis with the big club

Tyrone

Sure hope Button is correct. 🤞

Maxman

Lane Hutson is listed at 5ft10 now, go on Elite Prospects, in writing. His brother grew two inches in his 19th year, maybe he has an inch left in him?

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