One of the most interesting aspects of the post-draft evaluations for NHL teams is how they rank against various other prospect pools, and when it comes to the Montreal Canadiens, the outlook is rather encouraging.
Top Prospect Pool
Bader is a data analysis expert who created prospect cards, giving us insight into the potential of certain prospects based on historical comparisons. If you’d like to support his excellent work, I suggest subscribing to his prospect analysis service.
According to Bader, the Canadiens happen to own one of the most well-rounded prospect pools, with talented players in every position.
His rankings include some players who have already played in the NHL, such as Juraj Slafkovsky. He suggests the team has almost 30 players with NHL potential in the prospect pool, with several of the aforementioned players possessing ‘Top 5 Star Rank’.
“An excellent pool with nearly 30 potential NHL pieces in it,” said Bader. “Few teams have that type of arsenal of high-calibre pieces in the system.”
David Reinbacher, Slafkovsky, Kaiden Guhle, Lane Hutson, and Justin Barron lead the charge in Bader’s analysis. The Canadiens were ranked 3rd in the NHL the last time Bader performed his deep dive on every NHL team’s prospect pool.
Of course, like any organization, the Canadiens could stand to improve certain aspects of their prospect pool.
Work To Be Done
Most notably, the Canadiens lack elite talent in the goaltending department, something the team attempted to improve during the 2023 NHL Draft by selecting three goalies. Jacob Fowler may be able to turn the tide in that department, and Quentin Miller will have an opportunity to shine next season for the Quebec Remparts, but despite the influx of goaltenders, it’s fair to say the team still lacks a netminder with elite potential.
Bader suggests the Canadiens also lack elite talent among skaters. In the sense that the majority of their players have high potential, but not necessarily superstar potential. Drafting a player such as Matvei Michkov would have solved that organizational weakness, however, we must also keep in mind that drafting Reinbacher is the main reason the Canadiens moved to the second overall spot in these rankings. Speaking of Michkov, he’s the reason the Philadelphia Flyers jumped from the 7th overall spot to 3rd.
As you see, these rankings put an onus on players with superstar potential, based on the fact that almost every team to win the Stanley Cup in recent years has iced a roster filled with superstars. The St-Louis Blues were the lone exception.
There’s no doubt about it, the Montreal Canadiens have a rather bright future. A significant portion of the players they’ve drafted project to be impact players. The team will need to add elite talent to the mix if they truly hope to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, but for now, it’s safe to say the Canadiens’ rebuild is on track.
The strong prospect pool should come into play as early as next year, with players such as Joshua Roy, Riley Kidney, Logan Mailloux, and others potentially making their professional hockey debut in earnest. Not to mention, players such as Sean Farell and Emil Heineman will continue to build upon the momentum they generated toward the end of the season.