Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings: Season Finale Edition
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached this season’s final edition of the Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings.
With certain prospects participating in the playoffs and others seeing their season come to an end, it would be unfair, if not impossible to gauge their weekly form.
In total, we produced 21 articles, wrote over 30,000 words, and shared over 160 highlights from the various exciting players in the Canadiens prospect pool.
Next season I’ll look to add a more extensive list each week, which includes breakdowns for players ranked 11 through 20, and I’d appreciate any input from readers as to what they’d like to see as well in the rankings. Let us know if you have any ideas in the comments below the article.
On that note, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone that took the time to read, share, and comment throughout the season. It became one of our most popular series with the help of your support, which, in retrospect, should have been easy to anticipate given how passionate Habs fans are when it comes to prospects.
As we transition into the offseason, we’re going to put an onus on writing articles that highlight the value of individual prospects, not to mention an endless stream of content ahead of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, which will feature a bevy of players that will be included in the prospect rankings next season.
For the last time this season, let’s get into it.
Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings Week 21: Final Rankings
1. Lane Hutson, Defenceman, Boston University (NCAA). Drafted: 62nd overall (2022) Age: 18
Points This Week: 2 GP, 1 G, 0 A. Season Totals: 38 GP, 15 G, 33A, 48PTS.
By now you’ve heard it all.
Lane Hutson had one of the most dominant seasons in NCAA history, full stop.
When you consider he’s an 18-year-old freshman who plays defence, the fact that he outscored many highly-touted forward prospects simply adds to the hype he cultivated during his fantastic rookie year.
In the grand scheme of things, Hutson improved upon several weaknesses, including his defensive positioning, and his decision-making once he has the puck on his stick for an extended period.
He’s picking his spots better and maintaining better gap control, which is exactly what you want to see from a player who has already established he owns an elite arsenal of offensive weapons.
Despite how encouraging his play has been during his first year in the NCAA, he still has work to do when it comes to his defensive game, and therefore Hutson will almost certainly return to Boston University for another season, which is exactly what the doctor ordered.
There are very few cases of players being held back by spending too much time developing their game, whereas the NHL is littered with a laundry list of players that were rushed to the big show.
Hutson finishes the season as our top-rated player in the Canadiens prospect power rankings, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have followed the series throughout the season. It’s the epitome of well-deserved for the Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist.
You can catch Hutson in action Thursday, April 6th, when the Boston University Terriers (No.5) face Logan Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud, Matthew Knies and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the top-ranked team in college hockey this season, at the Frozen Four.
Watch on ESPN2 and ESPN+https://t.co/SWU2jAemHi pic.twitter.com/J6mCFdy4aT
— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) March 23, 2023
2. Sean Farrell, C/LW, Harvard University (NCAA). Drafted: 124th overall (2020), Age: 21
Points This Week: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, *Signed NHL Contract* Season Totals: 34 GP, 20 G, 33 A, 53 PTS.
Sean Farrell went from a somewhat exciting player to one of the most important players in the prospect pipeline. He has one of the most complete games of a player that is not currently playing in the NHL, or rather, hadn’t played in the NHL until Tuesday night.
Farrell’s NCAA career came to a disappointing end when they were dominated 8-1 by Ohio State, but the bright side for Canadiens fans is that you’ll have a much easier time watching him now that he’s in the NHL.
He’s smart, he’s creative, and he already processes the game at an NHL level.
Sean Farrell with a beautiful end-to-end goal #GoHabsGo
CC: @HarvardMHockey pic.twitter.com/IeHGbnR79t
— Costa Rontzocos (@Rontzeeez) January 15, 2023
We can’t expect him to become a dominant force right away, because the jump from the NCAA to the NHL is about as big as it gets, but there’s no doubt he possesses middle-six potential, especially if he’s placed on a line with players who have already established their offensive awareness in the NHL.
Once he acclimatizes to the new league, as well as his new linemates, you’ll note Farrell has a penchant for driving the net, which often results in high-danger scoring chances. If it doesn’t, it usually means a defender was forced to cheat to shut down his rush, which tends to result in a power play for Farrell’s team.
Like Hutson, Farrell is a Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist, has one of the best points-per-game scoring rates in the NCAA, and should be a big part of the Canadiens’ future.
Sean Farrell (MTL) is the highest-rated forward in the entire data set, just squeezing ahead of Knies. He's obviously been insanely productive and dominant offensively, but also just super solid basically everywhere. #GoHabsGo https://t.co/4nmd76bxat pic.twitter.com/o18DENXaOi
— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) February 28, 2023
3. Joshua Roy, Right Wing, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL). Drafted: 150th overall (2021), Age: 19
Points This Week: 3 GP, 5 G, 4 A Season Totals: 55 GP, 46 G, 53 A, 99 PTS.
After all the talk of Joshua Roy struggling to produce as much as he did in 2021-22 when he won the QMJHL’s scoring title, Le Sniper Beauceron finished his 2022-23 season with the same scoring rate (1.8 points per game).
It should also be noted he did not pad his stats with power-play goals (4) as he did last season (14).
His final week served as a tune-up for the playoffs, where the Sherbrooke Phoenix are hoping Roy can power them to a long, successful run.
MUST READ: Canadiens Prospects Gearing Up For CHL Playoffs
I’m still not sold on his overall level of engagement, but there’s one thing that’s clear: when the game is on the line, Roy finds another gear, quickly shedding the boredom that seems to take over during stretches of the season.
We saw it at the World Junior Championship when he set up the gold-medal-clinching goal, and we’re likely to see it ad nauseam during the QMJHL playoffs.
He’s also an interesting prospect in that he’s not simply an offensive threat. If he doesn’t manage to establish his offensive prowess once he graduates to professional hockey, he can still play an important role as a defensively aware forward.
Roy didn’t improve his game as much as other prospects, for the mere fact that his game was already developed to the point that he was doing things his Canadiens prospect counterparts could not.
However, he definitely improved his defensive game, and there’s no doubt he’s one of the most offensively potent players in the Canadian Hockey League.
After an up-and-down season that saw him fall all the way down to 6th in our rankings, Roy finishes the season among the top-3 players, a fitting end to yet another great Junior regular season.
LE SNIPER BEAUCERON CALLS GAME. #gohabsgo Joshua Roy with a beauty individual effort, bar-down backhander to win the game in OT for Sherbrooke. pic.twitter.com/ZxWkPKiREk
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) March 23, 2023
4. Adam Engstrom, Defenceman. Rogle BK Angelholm (SHL). Drafted: 92nd overall (2022), Age: 19
Points This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 2 A Season Totals: 43 GP, 6 G, 10 A, 16 PTS. SHL Playoffs: 9 GP, 3 G, 2 A.
It’s always a good sign when you get eliminated from the playoffs but the coach of the opposing team heaps praise upon you, which is exactly what happened to Adam Engstrom when Rogle lost their series versus Skelleftea.
Opposing coach Robert Ohlsson “I have loved every stride from Adam Engström in the playoffs”#respect #Habs pic.twitter.com/rjSJtpHCUm
— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) March 26, 2023
Not only did he outscore all other Under-20 defencemen playing in the SHL, but he also finished fourth in Under-20 scoring if we consider the forwards, behind top 2023 prospect Leo Carlsson (25 pts), 2022 eight-overall pick Marco Kapser (23 pts), and 2022 27th-overall pick Filip Bystedt.
His 16 points are good for 23rd all-time among Under-20 defencemen, ahead of players like Erik Brannstrom (2017-18, 15 points) and Philip Broberg (2020-21, 13 points).
And despite being eliminated in the playoffs, there’s no denying Engstrom rose to the challenge. He scored three goals and two assists in nine games, which is the same amount of points produced by Rasmus Dahlin for Frolunda, back in 2017. Of course, Dahlin was two years younger, but he also played five additional playoff games that year.
Moritz Seider also had five points in his first taste of SHL playoffs, though like Dahlin, he played many more games than Engstrom.
Simply put, Engstrom went from a relative unknown at the 2022 Draft to one of the most encouraging prospects in the system. If not for Hutson’s ridiculous season, we’d be speaking about Engstrom as the next great hope on defence.
His creativity, vision, and offensive prowess are off the charts.
And when it comes to his mobility, things only get more encouraging. He seems to skate on clouds that were enveloped in velvet and stuffed with suede.
Engstrom forced his way into our top five about midway through the season, and thanks to an excellent playoff run, not to mention a very solid rookie season in the SHL, he maintains his surprising, yet deserved ranking to close out the series.
A close up of Adam Engström's third goal of the playoffs.
Look at the stride, and the turns, good edges that he has developed this season. #Habs pic.twitter.com/wKcRQBib48
— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) March 22, 2023
5. Riley Kidney, Centre, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL). Drafted: 63rd overall (2021), Age: 19
Points This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 6 A. Season Totals: 60 GP, 28 G, 82 A, 110 PTS.
Riley Kidney was probably the most controversial player in our top-5, mostly because people still have doubts about his ability to translate his game to the professional level.
But one thing is for sure, he was flat-out dominant this year, especially following the trade that sent him from the league-worst Acadie-Bathurst Titan to the powerhouse Gatineau Olympiques.
After scoring a respectable 45 points in 31 games with the Titan, Kidney went on to produce a ridiculous scoring rate with the Olympiques, to the tune of 14 goals and 51 assists, good for 65 points in just 29 games.
MUST READ: Draft Experts Discuss Prospect NHL Readiness
Since these are power rankings and not long-term projections, Kidney finishes the year by taking up the final spot in the top 5, and there are very few arguments to be made against his season-ending ranking.
The Olympiques are set for a long playoff run, and they’ll count upon Kidney to be the driving force from an offensive point of view. Now that he’s arrived in Gatineau, he has established a penchant for driving the net and creating high-danger chances.
His shot still leaves a little to be desired, but there’s no doubt his playmaking is among the CHL elite and his anticipation has improved by leaps and bounds.
Riley Kidney man… This time short handed, intercepts a bad pass by the tendy, puts it in front for Anthony Verreault and it's 2-0 Gatineau. #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/ofBEdVwT1y
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) March 5, 2023
6. Logan Mailloux, Defenceman, London Knights (OHL). Drafted: 31st overall (2021), Age: 19
Points This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 1 A. Season Totals: 59 GP, 25 G, 28 A, 53 PTS.
Logan Mailloux capped off his season by scoring his 25th goal of the season, the leading number among all OHL defencemen.
If I were giving awards to the most improved Canadiens prospect, Mailloux wouldn’t just be in the running, he’d be the hands-down favourite to win.
His booming shot is the secret to his offensive success. He may have one of the hardest shots in the CHL, and he put it to good use for London.
He takes an absurd amount of shots, and that’s exactly what you want to see from an offensively-gifted defenceman.
It’s also worth noting London was struggling prior to Mailloux making his season debut, but since then, they have become one of the strongest clubs in the OHL.
His defensive positioning has improved significantly, and consequently, so has his gap control. Decision-making can still be an issue, especially in his own zone, but the sheer amount of offence he produced this season simply cannot be ignored.
Mailloux could turn pro this season, though I’d suggest another year in the OHL is in order, as to make up for the significant amount of development time he missed in past seasons due to his shoulder injury and the indefinite suspension for violating the league’s expectations for appropriate conduct by a player.
He still has a few things to work on defensively, and he’ll have to adapt to life with much less power-play usage once he makes the jump to professional hockey, but overall, it was an excellent season for the first-round pick.
He edges out Owen Beck for the sixth spot in our final rankings.
MAILLOUX’S 25TH WAS RIPPED 🥵@CanadiensMTL | #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/Lw231sCVXI
— London Knights (@LondonKnights) March 26, 2023
7. Owen Beck, Centre, Peterborough Petes (OHL). Drafted: 32nd overall (2022), Age: 18
Last Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 2 A Season Totals: 60 GP, 24 G, 42 A, 66 PTS
Beck was one of the busiest prospects in hockey this year.
Not only did he show up to Canadiens training camp and shock everyone by being the best player on the ice most days, but he also earned his entry-level contract, was part of a blockbuster trade in the CHL, and was a late-tournament addition to Team Canada, where he won a gold medal at World Junior Championship.
He even made his NHL debut with the Canadiens.
With that in mind, we can excuse the lack of consistency in his game, especially following the trade that sent him to the Peterborough Petes. Most players struggled to find consistency on the Petes’ roster down the stretch, and Beck was no exception.
However, it should also be noted Beck ended his regular season by registering a point in 10 of his final 11 games, which bodes well for the upcoming OHL playoffs.
To put it another way, if these were long-term projections, I’d have kept Beck alongside Farrell and Hutson through the entirety of the year.
No other Canadiens prospect possesses the same rare combination of intelligence, defensive awareness, and offensive prowess. He also has the best faceoff skills of almost any player currently not playing in the NHL.
At just 18 years old, Beck has rightfully become one of the most encouraging players in the organization’s prospect pool.
The best is definitely yet to come for the Port Hope native.
Owen Beck makes it look easy! 😍 @CanadiensMTL prospect @owenbeck92 shows off his #BestOfOHL hands and buries on the breakaway 🎥@PetesOHLhockey | @MilkUPOntario | #MilkUPxOHL pic.twitter.com/TrQtmVIcO8
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) March 10, 2023
8. Filip Mesar, Right Wing, Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Drafted: 26th overall (2022). Age: 18
Points This Week: 2 GP, 0 G, 2 A Season Totals: 52 GP, 17 G, 34 A, 51 PTS
After a blistering start to his OHL career, Filip Mesar’s offensive output cooled considerably.
The Kitchener Rangers are a mess, and he’d probably be better off developing with an organization that isn’t currently struggling to produce results, but the expectations were rightfully higher for a player that was drafted in the first round.
That being said, we also have to keep in mind the challenges faced by a young player in his North American season.
It’s not just a matter of adapting to a new coach, new team, new tactics, new league, new opponents and new rinks. There are also plenty of off-ice creature comforts that are not available in Canada for players arriving from Europe.
Things such as home-cooked food and regular interactions with friends and family tend to weigh heavily on these players in this first year across the pond.
The 18-year-old is still one of the Canadiens’ most talented offensive players, and once he establishes an elevated shot rate on a nightly basis, the offence should start flowing. As for now, his shot rate is rather erratic, but when he did manage to take four or more shots on net in the CHL, he almost always registered a point.
He’s creative, and when he gets engaged in the play, he has the ability to drive the puck up the ice like few others in the league.
Consistency will be key, and that’s something we’ll be able to evaluate with much more accuracy next season.
#GoHabsGo prospect Filip Mesar scores his 16th of the season… and it’s a beauty!!! Penalty shot!!
Mailloux vs Mesar again tonight!!! pic.twitter.com/j2jrPt4Rgy
— Florence Normand (@Florence_1553) February 15, 2023
9. Jakub Dobes, Goaltender, Ohio State (NCAA), Drafted: 136th overall (2020), Age: 21
Stats This Week: 2 GP, 1 Win, 0.895%. Season Totals: 21-16-3, 0.918 SV%, 2.31 GAA, 3 SO.
Jakub Dobes did not have much to do when Ohio State humiliated Harvard in the NCAA Bridgeport Regional Semifinal, and he did not enjoy his best game when Quinnipiac (No.3) eliminated the Buckeyes, but when we consider the entirety of his season, it’s fair to say Dobes had yet another very solid year in the NCAA.
I’d even venture to say he’s the only reason Ohio State (No.6) maintained such a high ranking throughout the year.
To give you an idea of how much the Buckeyes depended on Dobes, he played a total of 2361 minutes this season, whereas his backups played a grand total of 37 minutes, combined.
He’s another Canadiens prospect that could turn pro, but I’m of the opinion that goalies should spend as much time as possible in the NCAA. Not only does it allow the teams that drafted them to maintain their rights for longer, it usually results in a goaltender that is less prone to suffering frustrating stretches once they make the jump to professional hockey.
Dobes is calm, has a huge wing span, and represents the Canadiens’ best goaltender in the prospect pool.
He’s also the type of player that wants to win at all costs. He takes losses personally and usually rebounds by putting together dominant performances.
Remember this paddle save by Jakub Dobeš if @OhioStateMHKY comes back to tie this game.#NCAATournament pic.twitter.com/iWV64UQeAO
— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) March 26, 2023
10. Reader’s Choice
Last week I asked our community members to suggest players that should take the final spot in our top 10.
The answers varied widely, with several people on Twitter suggesting Emil Heineman should be included in the best prospect list.
Since then, Heineman has gone on to score four goals in four games with the Laval Rocket, which, frankly, is blowing my mind.
I did not expect him to find his rhythm so quickly. If anything, I warned fans to avoid setting their expectations too high when it came to Heineman’s North American debut.
It wasn’t the first time I was wrong, nor will be it the last.
Make it two goals for Emil Heineman tonight!
3-1 Laval pic.twitter.com/DD3LY36iK5
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 29, 2023
Personally, I don’t think Heineman has reached the point where he should be included in the top 10, but his early results in the AHL are rather impressive.
The comment section also wanted me to include Laval Rocket players, with a couple of votes for Joel Teasdale, one of my favourite people in the organization. Teasdale has done a fantastic job providing offence for the Rocket in the second half of the season, making up for what can only be described as a difficult start to the year.
After earning just two assists in 13 games, Teasdale went on to score 23 goals and 12 assists in 39 games, providing the type of sustained scoring a team like Laval needed as they were plundered by their NHL affiliate.
He’s the bounce-back candidate of the year among players in the Canadiens prospect pool.
Joël Teasdale makes it 5-2 game for the Rocket with his second goal of the night! pic.twitter.com/C1GnAc6K36
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 29, 2023
However, defenceman William Trudeau received the most support, and it has to be said the defenceman has surpassed all expectations this season.
He’s become a mainstay on the Rocket blueline, building upon a very impressive development and training camp, in which he earned an early entry-level contract.
He was the defenceman whose stock rose the most at camp in my opinion, not necessarily because he was a dominant force on the ice, but because he rarely made mistakes.
His decision-making was great, which led to perfectly-timed pinches and good defensive positioning.
As for his play in the AHL, as one commenter put it, “He has become a top 2-3 defenceman at age 20 in the AHL. It’s a hard thing to do. There are no real weaknesses there – he has size, skates well, has good skills, good hockey IQ, and defends well.”
Once training camp was over, I stated I could see Trudeau enjoying a very long NHL career. Not an exciting career, mind you, but a long one, nonetheless.
His inaugural professional hockey season has done nothing but reinforce that projection.
Canadiens fans are rabid prospect aficionados, and despite not featuring Trudeau very much in my weekly rankings, I’d be hard-pressed to argue the 20-year-old was not snubbed on several occasions in this series, which means I have no choice but to acquiesce with the opinions presented by many of our fantastic community members.
William Trudeau ouvre la marque à Winnipeg!
Trudeau opens the scoring against the Moose! #GoRocket https://t.co/4uqmH2CDPY pic.twitter.com/zyiHFPwr6o
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) March 26, 2023
A stick tap also goes out to Jared Davidson, a regular in our top 10 this season
His offence cooled down the stretch, and he’s older than most of his fellow Canadiens prospects, but he was also one of the most productive players in the system, scoring 38 goals and 44 assists in 60 games for the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
🎵 Hey now, they're All-Stars, got their game on 🎵
Congrats Mili, Korch and Davey!! pic.twitter.com/HuyoLD0nw4
— y – Seattle Thunderbirds (@SeattleTbirds) March 28, 2023
And that, my friends, is a wrap on the series this season.
Thank you to everyone that participated, it was a rousing success based on the sustained interest from Canadiens fans who are looking forward to a brighter future in the organization.
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
Week 14: Hutson Reigns Supreme
Week 15: Sean Farrell Excels
Week 16: There’s No Stopping Sean Farrell
Week 17: Farrell and Kidney Battle For 1st
Week 18: Hutson’s Dominant Season
Week 19: Hobey Baker Award Edition
Week 20: Hutson’s Magical Season
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Great work. very organized, comprehensive and IMO very objective. I think I read your column pretty regularly after I noticed it on another site. Might be interesting to also add one or two of our other more obscure haps prospects with the top 10 if possible. Also wonder if it would be possible to add players height and weight?
Thank you very much for the kind words, as well as for taking the time to check out the series. Much obliged.
I definitely plan on expanding the list. I had pushed to 20 players at one point this year, but had to abandon the expansion because I simply didn’t have enough time to monitor 20 players closely every week with my NHL and podcast duties. However, I think I can do a little better next year and figure out a way to expand the list.
Adding player heights and weights should have been done from the start, now that I think of it. Good call. They’re in next year.
Since you are asking for suggestions, I’ll reiterate one I made during one of these articles earlier in the year… I’d like to have a note at the end of each player’s ranking for that week stating where we can watch that player play on TV or online for the upcoming week. It should be pretty easy to add, and I imagine most of the time you won’t have to change it each week because if it’s just a website, you can copy and paste it from the previous week. I’m most interested when I have an opportunity to watch the kids on TV. Whether it be a CHL game on TSN or Sportsnet or possibly a NCAA game, and of course the WJC each holiday season. Thanks for your informative series this season. I look forward to even bigger and better things for 2023-2024. Cheers Marc.
Thanks for the season updates! Hopefully some of these players reach the NHL and do well!
Next year we’ll have new prospects to to keep tabs on. Montreal’s first pick should be exciting, at least. It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens as the bottleneck grows as there are so many talented youngsters in the pipeline. We’ll see some have to be traded. But until the injury bug reduces I’m sure HuGo will do what they can to keep the Habs’ and Rocket’s rosters well-stocked.