Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings: Hutson Reigns Supreme
Covering all the excellent players in the Canadiens prospect pool is a very fun task.
But at times, it seems like you’re narrating one of those monster truck commercials, complete with the needlessly deep voice and repetitive terms.
It’s especially noticeable when one Canadiens prospect steals all the headlines.
With that in mind, let me welcome to you to the latest edition of the Habs prospect power rankings released on WEDNESDAY, WEDNESDAY, WEDNESDAY.
Get ready, HABS FANS!
This WEDNESDAY, the power rankings will be CHANGED FOREVER, when one of the most exciting Canadiens prospects in TEAM HISTORY challenges for first place, featuring LANE HUTSON.
HUTSON! HUTSON! HUSON!
Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings Week 14
1. Lane Hutson, Defenceman, Boston University (NCAA). Drafted: 62nd overall (2022) Age: 18
Points This Week: 2 GP, 0 G, 5 A. Season Totals: 26 GP, 9 G, 27A, 36 PTS.
Previous Rqzanking: 3rd (+2)
Hutson returns to his rightful spot, owing to an excellent week that featured his 12th multi-point effort of the season, a four-point game against Maine.
I’m running out of ways to describe his excellent rookie season, but let’s put it this way: since Hutson started his career, the defenceman has only been held off the scoresheet seven times.
And, of course, he leads most NCAA defencemen in most statistical categories, while also challenging the best forwards in terms of overall production, with an impressive 1.38 points per game.
I’m interrupting the skills competition again bc LANE HUTSON WHAT WAS THAT pic.twitter.com/OwEKNizmG2
— alyssa (@lyssax86) February 4, 2023
Some aspects of his play could be improved, and while most people point to his skating or his defensive positioning, I’d argue those are not the most concerning areas.
When I spoke to Adam Nicholas at the Canadiens development camp I quickly mentioned the potential flaws in Hutson’s skating technique.
Without revealing exactly what he said, I’ll point out that players with elite skillsets, like Hutson, are easy to work with.
Rather than starting from scratch, the coaches simply have to train the player in question to replace their old habits with new ones. It’s all about repetition, which leads to sharp instincts and perfect muscle memory.
And when it comes to plays like Hutson, who love to absorb information, it’s not a difficult task to harness the raw skill and turn it into a positive element of their game. It’s a layup for any competent skills coach.
Think of it this way.
It’s akin to sculpting.
If the goal is to create a grandiose sculpture, you’re better off starting with the largest quantity of marble available.
@MarcPDumont you can give him your #1 spot for the week already
— Franky Boy (@FranktheGTank) February 4, 2023
Work To Be Done
I do, however, notice one particularly evident flaw in Hutson’s game.
It came to the forefront on Monday, as Boston University faced Northeastern with a trip to the Beanpot final on the line and Canadiens management in the stands.
Overall, Hutson played quite well, but he put too much pressure on himself when Northeastern got off to a strong start, which led to a few lost pucks and some questionable decision-making, particularly in the offensive zone.
Admittedly, it’s quite the nit to pick, but it’s something that has occurred a few times this season, and one of the few weaknesses in his game that he’s yet to rectify.
Seeing as he’s just 18 years old and has fewer than 30 NCAA games worth of experience under his belt, Canadiens fans should not lose any sleep over the aforementioned issue.
2. Sean Farrell, C/LW, Harvard University (NCAA). Drafted: 124th overall (2020), Age: 21
Points This Week: 2 GP, 0 G, 2 A Season Totals: 23 GP, 12 G, 24 A, 36 PTS.
Previous Ranking: 2nd (unchanged)
Farrell was held off the scoresheet against Quinnipiac, one of the best teams in the country, but it was far from his worst performance of the year.
I’d even argue he had a great game, and unlike many of his teammates, did not seem overwhelmed throughout the majority of his shifts.
He drew penalties, drove to the net, and did a great job attempting to create momentum for Harvard.
Farrell ended his week on a high note, setting up two crucial goals against Boston College, which led to an exciting 4-3 win for the Crimson, not to mention a trip to the Beanpot final.
Farrell sets up a primo slot shot and draws a penalty. (And now he just got an assist on the ensuing PP.) pic.twitter.com/WTFjUrJH58
— Habs Draft Nut (@cvsportsguy) February 6, 2023
3. Riley Kidney, Centre, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL). Drafted: 63rd overall (2021), Age: 19
Points This Week: 2 GP, 1 G, 1 A. Season Totals: 41 GP, 21 G, 48 A, 69 PTS.
Previous Ranking: 1st (-2)
Woe is Kidney!
He only had a goal and an assist in the two games played by the Olympiques this week!
Jokes aside, it’s rather harsh, but even with a point per game, Kidney did not maintain his grip on the No.1 spot in the Canadiens prospect rankings this week.
It’s not a matter of Kidney underperforming. It’s simply because there’s a lot of talent in this prospect pool, which means the margins for error are rather thin.
A good week isn’t always good enough when the competition is this fierce.
4. Adam Engstrom, Defenceman. Rogle BK Angelholm (SHL). Drafted: 92nd overall (2022), Age: 19
Points This Week: 2 GP, 1 G, 1 A Season Totals: 30 GP, 5 G, 5 A, 10 PTS.
Previous Rank: 7th (+3)
There’s always a player in the prospect pool that flies under the radar, and this season that has honour belongs to Adam Engstrom.
He sneaks into the top five for the first time this week, but you could argue he deserved to be in the top five all along.
He earned a job in a professional hockey league as a top pairing defenceman at just 18 years old and did it with style, showing off his excellent skating and hand-eye coordination on several occasions.
Since his hot start, Engstrom has turned 19 and he’s no longer playing on Rogle’s top pairing, but that changes very little in the grand scheme of things.
His potential is through the roof. He trails just three other U-20 SHL players in scoring, and that includes the forwards.
When it comes to U-20 defenceman scoring, Engstrom stands alone.
There’s some work to be done when it comes to his gap control, par for the course when discussing any young defender, but overall, it’s starting to look like the Swedish defender was a potential steal when the Canadiens selected him 92nd overall at the 2022 Draft.
5. Joshua Roy, Right Wing, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL). Drafted: 150th overall (2021), Age: 19
Points This Week: 3 GP, 0 G, 2 A Season Totals: 37 GP, 25 G, 34 A, 59 PTS.
Previous Ranking: 4th (-1)
Roy was blanked in back-to-back games, which led to a slight drop in our rankings.
On that note, his two-point effort against the Quebec Remparts was worth celebrating, seeing as they’re one of the best teams in the entire CHL.
#gohabsgo Joshua Roy with some insane sauce in the O-zone over to #Kraken Jacob Melanson, and we're all tied up at three.
Phoenix and Remparts giving everyone their money's worth tonight. pic.twitter.com/z9E5tb3UcE
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) February 3, 2023
6. Owen Beck, Centre, Peterborough Petes (OHL). Drafted: 32nd overall (2022), Age: 18
Last Week: 2 GP, 0 G, 3 A Season Totals: 41 GP, 19 G, 29 A, 48 PTS
Previous Ranking: 5th (-1)
Beck seems to have found his rhythm recently, which is good news, both for Canadiens fans and the Peterborough Petes.
He’s not scoring many goals, which is a concern, especially since he’s managed to increase his shot rate in recent games, as evidenced by his six-shot effort against the Niagara IceDogs on Thursday.
Beck has had a hectic year, and now that he’s finally entered a relatively stable portion of the season, I expect a normalization when it comes to his production.
You’ll excuse me if I tap into the most overused saying in hockey history, but if he keeps putting pucks on net, good things will happen.
7. Logan Mailloux, Defenceman, London Knights (OHL). Drafted: 31st overall (2021), Age: 19
Points This Week: 3 GP, 4 G, 1 A. Season Totals: 39 GP, 17 G, 19 A, 36 PTS.
Previous Ranking: 10th (+3)
Mailloux makes his biggest jump up Canadiens prospect rankings this season, and not only because he had a great game against the Erie Otters that featured The Michigan as the hat-trick clinching goal.
He made a lot of smart decisions without the puck, an area of concern for the 19-year-old defenceman. He was caught out of position once or twice per game, but for the most part, had solid gap control, which led to fewer chances for his opponents off the rush.
The points are nice, but when it comes to Mailloux, given his self-inflicted lack of development games we need to focus on the fundamentals to gauge his progress.
And his handle on the fundamentals seems to improve every week, which will go a long way in translating his skill set to the professional level.
8. Filip Mesar, Right Wing, Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Drafted: 26th overall (2022). Age: 18
Points This Week: 3 GP, 0 G, 2 A Season Totals: 31 GP, 12 G, 17 A, 29 PTS.
Previous Ranking: 7th (-1)
A lot like Beck, Mesar has struggled since returning from the 2023 World Junior Championship, and much like Beck, he has managed to get back on track in recent games, at least from a production standpoint.
Ideally, you want to see more goals from a player of Mesar’s ilk.
It’ll be interesting to see how he performs down the stretch, especially with the OHL playoffs on the horizon. For Mesar, the key will be balancing an intense style of play with an ever-dwindling energy reserve.
9. Jakub Dobes, Goaltender, Ohio State (NCAA), Drafted: 136th overall (2020), Age: 21
Stats This Week: 2 GP, 1 Win, 0.900 SV%. Season Totals: 17-10-1, 0.919 SV%, 2.18 GAA, 3 SO.
Previous Ranking: 9th (unchanged)
Dobes had a rare poor outing against Penn State on Friday, allowing four goals on 26 shots, and losing just his 10th game of the season.
He quickly bounced back against the very same team the following night, earning his 17th win of the year with a 32-save performance.
His low tolerance for losing may just be his greatest asset, as Dobes has shown a Price-like affinity for avoiding back-to-back losses.
Frederik Dichow has turned the page and is playing much better in the SHL as Frolunda’s backup in recent games, but right now Dobes is far and away the Canadiens’ best goaltending prospect.
10. Jared Davidson, Centre, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL). Drafted: 130th overall. Age: 20
Points This Week: 3 GP, 0 G, 4 A. Season Totals: 43 GP, 27 G, 39 A, 66 PTS.
Previous Ranking: 8th (-2)
Davidson was held off the scoresheet in two of his three games, but ended the week with a three-point effort against Spokane, assisting on all three of the Seattle Thunderbirds’ goals in the game.
It may sound silly, but even if he’s one of the most productive Canadiens prospects this season, given his age and the league in which he plays, the multi-point game saved Davidson from falling out of the top 10.
🌟 Jared Davidson
🌟🌟 Brad Lambert
🌟🌟🌟 Thomas Milic
Thank you to member Jo for representing the Booster Club for tonight’s @SeattleTbirds Three Stars presentation and T-shirt Toss! pic.twitter.com/Xr4Y20AvGw
— T-birds Hockey Booster Club (@TbirdsBoosters) February 1, 2023
Best Of The Rest
11. Oliver Kapanen (+1). 12. Cedrick Guindon (-1). 13. Emil Heineman (+1). 14. Vinzenz Rohrher (+2).15. Anthony Richard (-1). 16. Joel Teasdale (-1). 17. Petteri Nurmi (unchanged). 18. Jayden Struble (unchanged). 19. William Trudeau (new). 20. Xavier Simoneau (unchanged)
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.
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
Week 5: Prospects Heating Up Ahead Of WJC
Week 6: Sean Farrell’s Impressive Scoring
Week 7: Filip Mesar Shines
Week 8: Owen Beck Takes Over First Place
Week 9: Filip Mesar Makes A Big Jump
Week 10: The Jakub Dobes Show
Week 11: New Reigning Champion
Week 12: Kidney Scoring At Will
Week 13: Top Canadiens Prospect Thriving