Now that the Montreal Canadiens have signed David Reinbacher to an entry-level contract it’s the perfect time to update our prospect rankings with the players that were added to the fold in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
The Canadiens traded two of their picks at the Draft in exchange for Alex Newhook, which means there aren’t as many top prospects joining the fold as originally anticipated.
These rankings will differ from our power rankings, which judge a player’s form during the season. Instead, we will judge their overall potential as well as their position within the organization in terms of pedigree and eventual value in the NHL.
Players that have already participated in an NHL game, such as Sean Farrell, will not be considered, with the exception of Owen Beck, who was used in an NHL game on an emergency basis last season.
1. David Reinbacher, Defenceman, 5th overall 2023
After consulting with some prospect experts, Reinbacher jumps to the No.1 overall position in our rankings.
The main factor is that his floor is rather high, in the sense that he’s essentially guaranteed to become a top-four defenceman. He also has the potential to be a top-pairing defenceman, though he’ll need a partner that excels at puck retrievals and breakout passes to complement his game.
Some have suggested Lane Hutson may be the perfect partner, and they did show significant chemistry during the development camp, but a player like Kaiden Guhle may end up being exactly who Reinbacher needs alongside him to allow him to flourish.
Reinbacher is likely to return to Switzerland to play another season with Kloten in the NLA, but his ascension to the NHL should be relatively quick, within two or three years.
He’s an incredibly well-rounded defenceman that has the ability to shut down players on the rush, making him an incredibly valuable defenceman in a league where chances off the rush generate more scoring chances than any other play. It’s also an area in which very few of the current Canadiens defencemen excel.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) July 5, 2023
2, Lane Hutson, Defenceman 62nd overall 2022
We originally had Hutson ranked as our top prospect, not to mention he spent the majority of the season as the top prospect in our weekly rankings, but he was edged out by Reinbacher due to Reinbacher’s overall potential and strong defensive game.
Hutson, on the other hand, is an offensive dynamo, as evidenced by his 15 goals and 33 assists in 39 games for Boston University last season. He won a bevy of accolades and quickly emerged as one of the most exciting prospects in hockey.
He has to work on his defensive game, particularly defending the rush and his pivots, which can be awkward, but overall, Hutson ranks as one of the players in the system with the most potential. His floor is lower than Reinbacher’s, but we still feel comfortable saying the Canadiens have never had a player of Hutson’s ilk in their prospect pool. NCAA defencemen rarely emerge as players with top-pairing potential during their rookie season.
Lane Hutson with an ABSURD pass over to Reinbacher, and Dobes makes a big save. pic.twitter.com/Ffy8R8MiKZ
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) July 4, 2023
3. Joshua Roy, Right Wing/Centre, 150th overall 2021
Le Sniper Beauceron is set to make his professional hockey debut in earnest next autumn after putting together a rather impressive Junior hockey career that led to 135 goals and 162 assists in 216 games.
He has an excellent shot and has vastly improved his playmaking since being drafted by the Canadiens, but more importantly, he also developed a solid defensive game, to the point that Roy was used on the penalty kill by both the Sherbrooke Phoenix and Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
He’ll have a difficult time earning a roster spot in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens this season due to the surplus of players already pencilled into the lineup, but it’s too early to write him off seeing as he tends to rise to the challenge when needed.
If he doesn’t earn a roster spot with the Habs, he should end up playing a crucial role for the Laval Rocket in the AHL.
DYLAN GUENTHER GAME WINNING GOAL TO WIN GOLD FOR CANADA, WHAT PASS BY MONSIEUR JOSHUA ROY 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/148LGqrQYL
— Habs Fan TV (@habsfantv_) January 6, 2023
4. Owen Beck, Centre, 33rd overall 2022
Much has been made about Beck’s season, which was split between the Mississauga Steelheads and the Peterborough Petes.
Beck helped the Petes win a surprising OHL Championship, using his faceoff prowess, defensive positioning and offensive instincts to play an important role for Rob Wilson’s team. Essentially, when the game was on the line, Wilson put Beck on the ice.
As for the criticism that he struggled offensively with Peterborough, those are simply complaints from people who did not watch him play, seeing as his role with Peterborough was completely different than his role with the Steelheads.
In Mississauga, he thrived in an offensive role, and in Peterborough, he thrived in a shutdown role.
Simply put, Beck’s versatility last season showed that he’s not far off from being ready to make his professional hockey debut. Unfortunately, due to the archaic CHL-NHL agreement, Beck is restricted to playing either in the NHL or OHL next year.
Owen Beck, the king of well-rounded tracking data.
Offence stayed steady with PBO despite the dip in points. Strong defensive and transition results. One of the very best at creating space for his teammates (advantages created, off-puck assists). Always attacks the inside. https://t.co/dnsIJR02BX pic.twitter.com/BYWJyDkjfi
— Mitchell Brown (@MitchLBrown) June 26, 2023
5. Logan Mailloux, Defenceman, 31st overall 2021
There was debate regarding the fifth spot in our rankings, with Swedish prospect Adam Engstrom offering a legitimate argument that he should be included in the top 5 thanks to his excellent play last season, as well as his dominant performance in the SHL playoffs.
However, given that Mailloux is much closer to home and has been mentioned by Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes on more occasions than Engstrom, it seems like the team is getting ready to see what he can do in the AHL/NHL, giving him in the inside track on a player like Engstrom, who will spend next season as one of the top defencemen for Rogle.
Mailloux has one of the best shots in the organization, relying on power rather than accuracy to fool opposing goaltenders. He will have to improve his defensive positioning and defensive awareness, which means he’s due for some time in the AHL, but for now, his offensive potential means Mailloux takes the 5th spot in our rankings. The NHL is yet to clear him to play, stemming from the indecent photography charge in Sweden, but they’re unlikely to deny the Canadiens once they press the issue.
Mailloux led all OHL defencemen in goals last season, with 25, 12 of which came during the power play.
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) May 7, 2023
Complete Top 10 Montreal Canadiens Prospect Rankings
- David Reinbacher
- Lane Hutson
- Joshua Roy
- Owen Beck
- Logan Mailloux
- Adam Engstrom
- Filip Mesar
- Riley Kidney
- Vinzenz Rohrer
- Jacob Fowler