Canadiens Prospects That Took The Biggest Strides This Season
The Montreal Canadiens boast a deep prospect pool, but three prospects, in particular, have pulled away from the group so far this season thanks to major jumps in their development.
The Canadiens have done a good job of collecting talent over the last few years, but, developing and properly insulating these young talents has been a difficult task.
However, the Canadiens have overhauled their developmental process and it’s begun to pay dividends for them early on.
Here are the Canadiens prospects that have shown the biggest jump in development so far this season:
At the very top of the list, you will find Lane Hutson, to the surprise of absolutely nobody.
This isn’t to say that Hutson wasn’t expected to have a successful season with the Boston University Terriers this season, but what he’s on pace to accomplish hasn’t been done in nearly three decades.
A few clips from Lane Hutson's last four games. pic.twitter.com/dnzPOcU6xJ
— Mitchell Brown (@MitchLBrown) January 18, 2023
In 26 games this season, the freshman defenceman has nine goals and 27 assists for 36 points to his record; a whopping 1.38 points per game as an 18-year-old in the NCAA.
The last 18-year-old defenceman to come close to that total was Adam Fox back in 2017, when he hit 40 points in 35 games for Harvard and boasted a 1.143 points-per-game pace.
MUST READ: Lane Hutson On Thrilling NCAA Season, Future Goals
Now, this isn’t to say Hutson will become another Adam Fox or Cale Makar, but the notable improvement in his offensive game, which has come primarily at even strength, has been very notable.
He’s playing smart and harder, taking advantage of open space and creating offensive chances at will due to his elusiveness and high hockey IQ.
He’s risen to the top of the Montreal Canadiens prospect rankings and could very well turn out to be this decade’s 2nd-round steal for Montreal.
At least Lane Hutson has a goal tonight pic.twitter.com/4zi2RVudjp
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) December 31, 2022
What Sean Farrell is doing right now for the Harvard Crimson in the NCAA is nothing short of special.
The 21-year-old junior, who’s playing in his second year of NCAA hockey, went from being a standout offensive leader last season to being one of the most offensively dominant players in the league this year.
In 24 games last season, Farrell put up a respectable ten goals and 18 assists for 28 points. This season, he took his game up a notch or two and has become the unquestioned offensive leader of the Crimson, registering 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points in just 23 games.
Sean Farrell with a beautiful end-to-end goal #GoHabsGo
CC: @HarvardMHockey pic.twitter.com/IeHGbnR79t
— Costa Rontzocos (@Rontzeeez) January 15, 2023
His 1.57 points-per-game average has him ranked second in the NCAA, behind 2023 draft-eligible, and former Chicago Steel teammate, Adam Fantilli.
The former 4th-round pick in 2020 has gained confidence and glides up the puck with ease and purpose; making him one of the better transition players in the NCAA.
Farrell’s speed and dynamic toolset make him a very sure bet to turn pro by the end of the season; a new chapter in his career that he’s very excited to undertake.
MUST READ: Sean Farrell Talks About Joining The Canadiens At Season’s End
That Sean Farrell (#21), so hot right now 🔥 pic.twitter.com/i85nGEqg9u
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) February 6, 2023
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.
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.
#GoHabsGo prospect Owen Beck scores his 19th of the season pic.twitter.com/k3kr64i5pS
— Costa Rontzocos (@Rontzeeez) January 21, 2023
Upon his return to the Mississauga Steelheads, Beck was shockingly traded to the Peterborough Petes, but it seems that trade was only shocking for those who don’t see the writing on the wall.
But it didn’t end there.
The Montreal Canadiens prospect was once again recalled on emergency basis, this time, to the NHL, as the Habs were decimated by injury.
Even if it was just for one game, Beck’s growth on the ice and his development as a versatile, dual-threat presence on the ice makes him one of the better developmental stories this year.
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 has improved 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.
OWEN BECK GOES UPPER DECK 🔝
The @CanadiensMTL prospect goes upstairs for his first goal with the @PetesOHLhockey 🎥 pic.twitter.com/naYJQ1Tca2
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) January 15, 2023
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, the Montreal Canadiens 7th-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has been writing himself quite the story with his recent call-up.
His recent performances are going to make decisions much easier for the Canadiens on the trade front, as Harvey-Pinard looks primed to take the next step in his career by bringing his energy and never-say-die attitude to the the Bell Centre on a regular basis.
William Trudeau, who started as a regular healthy scratch in October, has quickly risen up the ranks to become the Rocket’s No. 1 defenceman; registering one goal and ten assists for 11 points in his last 14 games.
His fluid mobility on the ice and strong positional play has made him an indispensable player for the Rocket, and has vaulted Trudeau right up the Canadiens’ defensive depth chart.