The deadline to sign certain college players (NCAA) is set for 5 PM on Tuesday, though the Montreal Canadiens have already taken care of all their loose ends, which means they do not have a player on the list of remaining unsigned prospects.
However, if you take a closer look at the list, two interesting players stand out due to their familiarity with a pair of high-flying Canadiens prospects.
Sean Farrell‘s teammate at Harvard University, John Farinacci, as well as Lane Hutson’s teammate at Boston University, Jay O’Brien.
Today at 5:00pm ET is the deadline for the drafted College players listed below to sign entry level contracts with their respective team.
If unsigned, the clubs will lose their exclusive signing rights and the players will come off their reserve lists and become free agents. pic.twitter.com/6Rul65tcXG
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 15, 2023
Of course, as it stands, the Canadiens do not have much room upfront when it comes to giving opportunities to forward prospects, but the aforementioned players aren’t ready to jump into the NHL anyhow.
Jay O’Brien was drafted 19th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2018. He started his NCAA career by playing with Providence College, where he only managed to score two goals and three assists in 20 games during his rookie season.
A transfer to Boston University led to an immediate uptick n scoring for the 6-foot centre, to the tune of 16 points in 16 games during his sophomore season.
O’Brien, who has already advised the Flyers he does not intend on signing a contract, finished his college career with a relatively impressive season for the Terriers alongside Hutson: 32 points in 39 games.
Who else? Lane Hutson (#GoHabsGo) opens the scoring for Boston University in the Manchester Regional.
— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) March 23, 2023
As for John Farinacci, the 22-year-old centre finally earned more than a point per game last season while playing for the Harvard Crimson: five goals and 15 assists in 19 games.
Farinacci was a third-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in 2019 but has since advised the team he is not interested in signing an entry-level contract.
John Farinacci (#Yotes) ruins Jakub Dobeš' shutout bid with the deflection goal.
— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) March 24, 2023
If the Canadiens are so inclined, they could also look into possibly signing centre Jake Wise. Wise scored 12 goals and 27 assists in 40 games with the Ohio State Buckeyes last season. It was his second encouraging season in the NCAA after struggling with injuries and inconsistency during his three seasons with Boston University. He was a third-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018 and is set to also become a free agent.
The Montreal Canadiens don’t particularly need more forwards in their prospect pool, especially forwards that don’t necessarily project as elite, and that’s the case for O’Brien, Wise, and Farinacci.
With that in mind, we should not expect the Canadiens to make waves when it comes to the college players set to become free agents.
However, as we all know, general manager Kent Hughes has strong connections in the NCAA, especially when it comes to prospects who have evolved in the Massachusetts area, giving him the type of insight that could lead to a signing or two if he deems the players in question to have a decent amount of potential left to develop.