The Montreal Canadiens will be undergoing another youth movement next season, with a handful of prospects needing a big showing to keep up.
With the Habs adding a significant amount of prospects to their cupboards over the last year, the pressure is going to be felt throughout the organization for youngsters to make a statement and stand out from the lot.
We’ve seen a few intriguing prospects this season rise to the occasion and show that they could handle themselves in the NHL, but there are others who are teetering on the edge.
Let’s take a look at which Montreal Canadiens prospects will have the most to prove heading into next season:
It’s gut-check time for Cayden Primeau, who will be eligible for waivers next season.
After spending almost the entire season in Laval for the first time in his pro career, Primeau was about to salvage a terrible start to the season by backstopping the Laval Rocket to an AHL Playoff berth.
The 23-year-old will need to prove he can stick in the NHL and steal the role of backup goaltender from Jake Allen if he is going to stick with the team, as it would be unlikely to see them carry three goaltenders all season.
If Primeau fails his mission and is placed on waivers next Fall, it’s quite likely that he will be claimed and his time in the Canadiens organization will be over.
— Chris G (@ChrisHabs360) April 22, 2023
Jesse Ylönen looked like an NHL player by the end of the 2022-2023 season, and would likely have finished the year with the Montreal Canadiens, had it not been for the Laval Rocket’s playoff push.
The speedy winger was able to find a role for himself as a middle-six winger on a depleted roster, while also subbing in as an effective trigger-man on the second power play wave.
However, where does he fit in a healthy lineup? That’s what he needs to show at Canadiens camp this fall, as he too will be eligible for waivers this season.
Unless general manager Kent Hughes moves some bodies in the offseason, there will once again be a dogfight for the final six roster spots in the Canadiens lineup in the Fall, and Ylönen will need to prove he can perform for a full 82 games to stick around.
The former 2nd-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft looks to be on the cusp of full-time NHL status, it’s just a question of whether he will reach that status with the Canadiens.
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) March 19, 2023
Sean Farrell had an inspiring run with the Harvard Crimson to finish his NCAA career this past season.
The 21-year-old put up 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points in 34 games in his final NCAA season, before making the jump to the Montreal Canadiens in the late stages of the season.
In his six games with the Canadiens, Farrell had one goal in six games and looked to be improving with every game that passed; but, the NHL isn’t a development league.
With the way the forward corps is set up at the moment, it’s very likely that Farrell could start the season in Laval, and he could face some stiff competition for ice time.
Competing with the likes of Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Jesse Ylönen for those final NHL spots will be tough, while Farrell’s waiver exemption will likely play against him here.
Emil Heineman, Joshua Roy, Riley Kidney, amongst others, are all slated to be joining the Rocket; taking up some valuable ice time in the process as well.
With a strong camp, not only could Farrell establish himself at the top of the pecking order in terms of potential call-ups, but could possibly even make the team out of camp if he forces the Montreal Canadiens’ hand.
SEAN FARRELL SCORED ON HIS FIRST EVER SHOT AT THE BELL CENTRE pic.twitter.com/36ItR1Y8WH
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) March 30, 2023