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Canadiens Prospect Highlights

Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings: Mesar and Fowler Shine



montreal canadiens jacob fowler

Now that we’ve established the initial rankings for the Montreal Canadiens Prospect Power rankings, it’s time to take a look at their recent results, which will impact their positions on our list.

Rather than depending on my sole opinion, we asked Habs fans to vote for the initial list.

Unsurprisingly, Lane Hutson finished as the team’s top prospect following the fan vote. You can click here to see the fan vote results.

It’s important to remember these rankings are for prospects who are 23 and under, and not currently playing in the NHL. They’re also power rankings, which means the various prospects will move up and down the list depending on their recent results.

N.B. The statistics used are valid as of November 15, 2023.

Let’s dive right into it!

Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings Week 1: Initial Rankings

1. Lane Hutson, Defenceman, Boston University (NCAA). Drafted: 62nd overall (2022) Age: 19

Season Results: 9 GP, 8 G, 3 A, 11 PTS.
Rank Last Week: No.1 (no change)

The Canadiens’ best prospect is off to yet another great start for the Boston University Terriers. He’s not just scoring a lot, though his 11 points in nine games is rather impressive, but he’s also the most used player in the entire NCAA.

Some have mentioned they’re worried about his +/-, which is currently minus 3, however, it’s also worth remembering that since the Terriers have struggled this year, Hutson has been on the ice when it matters most, and that means he’s also dealing with empty-net situations.

I’d suggest watching him play before coming to conclusions based on an archaic statistic.

He’s not elite defensively, and he does have to improve his situational awareness in the defensive zone, but we really shouldn’t judge his defensive value with a glance at Hockeydb.

His greatest defensive value is that when he’s on the ice, the Terriers tend to spend most of their time in the offensive zone, which means the puck is 200 feet away from his goaltender.

As for his work in the offensive zone, well, it’s been excellent, as expected.

He’s scoring via his wrist shot, and I’m not entirely convinced that will translate once he reaches professional hockey. But one thing that will translate is his ability to create time and space at the blue line.

One of the main reasons players like Macklin Celebrini are enjoying fantastic seasons is that Hutson does an amazing job opening up passing and shooting lanes whenever he walks the blue line.

With eight goals, Hutson is currently tied for third in goal-scoring among all NCAA players, including Celebrini.

2. Joshua Roy, Right Wing, Laval Rocket (AHL). Drafted: 150th overall (2021), Age: 20

Season Results: 12 GP, 7 G, 9 A, 16 PTS
Rank Last Week: No.2 (No Change)

Roy hit the ground running in the AHL, which isn’t all that surprising considering he’s the most well-rounded Canadiens prospect in the system.

His great start isn’t enough to displace a point-per-game Hutson, but I’d suggest Roy would rank first in most prospect pools that don’t feature a player of Hutson’s ilk.

More than anything, Roy has been great offensively, thanks to his penchant for cutting toward the middle of the ice, as well as his offensive awareness, which allows him to deliver a perfect pass when shooting lanes close.

He’s also shown very encouraging chemistry alongside Sean Farrell, who hasn’t scored as much as his rookie counterpart but has still managed to nine points in 12 games.

MUST READ: Joshua Roy and Sean Farrell Show Early Chemistry For The Laval Rocket

Some have suggested Roy should be playing in the NHL, and there’s an argument to be made that he’s almost ready to take the next step in his career, but for now, the Habs are better off leaving him in Laval so he can continue to emerge as a dominant force in professional hockey.

The Canadiens have a long history of rushing their players to the NHL. There’s no reason to press fast forward on his very encouraging development, at least not yet.

3. Filip Mesar, Right Wing, Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Drafted: 26th overall (2022). Age: 19

Season Results: 8 GP, 4 G, 11 A, 15 PTS.
Last Week Rank: No.9 (+6)

Before anyone criticizes the initial ranking of Mesar, I’d like to point out that he fell out of the top 5 last season in our power rankings, and was even at risk of falling out of the top 10.

Therefore, the ninth-place ranking makes sense.

And then things changed.

Mesar, who scored 51 points in 52 games last season with a struggling Kitchener Rangers team, has almost doubled his production. He currently has four goals and 11 assists in eight games, which is the highest scoring rate among all Rangers players.

It should also be noted the Rangers are a much healthier team this season. Mesar has finally been placed in a situation that’s conducive to scoring, and he’s taking full advantage of the opportunity.

4. Jacob Fowler, Goaltender, Boston College (NCAA), Drafted 69th overall (2023). Age: 18.

Season Results: 10 GP, 7-2-1 record, 2.18 GAA, .924 SV%.
Last Week Rank: No.10 (+6)

There’s something very apparent when you watch Jacob Fowler play for the Eagles.

He’s boring.

He’s very, very boring.

And that’s perfect.

With all due respect to Yaroslav Askarov, for the most part, goaltenders who appear calm in the net tend to have the best results. And that’s certainly the case for Fowler.

He doesn’t waste an ounce of energy, and he seems to always be in position. His puck tracking is excellent, and he’s one of the main reasons Boston College is considered one of the best teams in college hockey at the moment.

To put a fine point on his excellent NCAA debut, Fowler has only produced a sub.900 once in his first 10 games.


5. Logan Mailloux, Defenceman, Laval Rocket (AHL). Drafted: 31st overall (2021), Age: 20

Season Results: 12 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 10 PTS
Last Week Rank: No.4  (-1)

Those who have had a chance to watch Mailloux play for the Rocket will agree that it’s still a tale of two players when it comes to his professional debut.

Offensively, Mailloux knows exactly what to do. He’s a menace in the offensive zone thanks to his fantastic shot rate. He’s taken almost 40 shots on net so far, one of the most impressive shot rates among all AHL defencemen.

He’s also started to find the back of the net, a good sign for a player whose greatest defensive strength involves keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

Defensively, there is still a lot of work to do, but that’s exactly what you’d expect from a player who just started his professional hockey career. He’s learning (and improving) in the AHL, and that’s what matters most.

6. Owen Beck, Centre, Peterborough Petes (OHL). Drafted: 32nd overall (2022), Age: 19

Season Results: 14 Gp, 7 G, 6 A, 13 PTS
Last Week Rank: 5th (-1)

It was not an ideal start to the season for Owen Beck. He scored just one goal in his first six games, a rather concerning level of production from a player who had an (outside) chance to start the season with the Habs.

But Beck turned things around in his seventh game of the season, against the Oshawa Generals. The 2022 second-round pick scored a hat trick goal, while also maintaining his elite level of defensive awareness.

The stalwart centre then proceeded to score three goals and six assists in the next seven games, which helped push the Peterborough Petes to the top of the Eastern Conference.

Beck will have to improve his consistency, but as it stands, he’s producing at roughly a point per game while also being the best player outside the NHL at faceoffs, not to mention an excellent shutdown forward whenever his team is in a difficult spot.

Simply put, he’s a coach’s dream.

7. David Reinbacher, Defenceman, EHC Kloten (NL). Drafted: 5th overall (2023), Age: 18

Season Results: 5 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 1 PT
Last Week Rank: No.3 (-4)

Reinbacher is the first player to suffer a major drop in our rankings compared to the initial fan vote. It’s not entirely his fault. Not only did he suffer an early injury which kept him out of action for a couple of weeks, but he’s also playing on a terrible team.

The NL has improved its overall quality and is now considered one of the better leagues in Europe, but EHC Kloten is a mess.

I had the opportunity to watch two of their games while Reinbacher was on the mend, and they were, for the lack of a better word, terrihorawful.

That means that Reinbacher plays a big role in the team, and when he’s on the ice the team does manage to generate good chances, but overall, it will be a drag on his results.

That being said, Reinbacher’s lone goal this season was an empty-net marker, and he’s yet to consistently demonstrate the type of raw talent that you’d come to expect from a top-5 pick.

There are flashes of brilliance, mind you.

And then there’s the fact that he’s a babe in the woods at just 18 years old.

We’re not sounding the alarms, and it’s much too early to panic, but it’s also fair to say it was not an ideal start to the season. A series like our power rankings is primarily based on recent results, which explains Reinbacher’s drop.


8. Sean Farrell,  C/LW, Laval Rocket (AHL). Drafted: 124th overall (2020), Age: 22

Season Results: 12 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 PTS
Last Week Rank: No. 7 (-1)

He isn’t producing as much as his linemate, but Farrell has started his first season in earnest among the professional ranks on the right foot. He needs to take a lot more shots, but for the time being, the mere fact that he’s actively participating in the Rocket’s offence, not to mention his chemistry with Roy, is a very encouraging sign.

That’s exactly why you want to leave promising prospects in the AHL for a healthy length of time. It allows players who will eventually ascend to the NHL together an opportunity to work on their magnetism.

His playmaking has been particularly excellent, a continuation of his fantastic season in the NCAA last year, where he finished second in the league in points per game.

9. Adam Engstrom, Defenceman. Rogle BK Angelholm (SHL). Drafted: 92nd overall (2022), Age: 19

Season Results: 16 GP, 2 G, 4 A, 6 PTS.
Last Week Rank: No.8 (-1)

Engstrom is off to another solid start to the season from an offensive standpoint. He’s on pace to eclipse his point totals last year, with a seven-goal, 13-assist production rate.

He’s playing over 20 minutes per night for Rogle, and that’s a great sign, especially when we consider Engstrom is just 19 years old.

That being said, some defensive issues will need to be corrected, particularly his decision-making when defending low. It’s also important to note that Rogle is one of the worst teams in the league, which means his overall results will suffer.

But for now, we can sleep easy knowing he’s one of the smoothest skating defencemen in Europe, and his offensive prowess should translate nicely to the NHL once he’s ready to make the jump to North America.

10. Cedrick Guindon, Centre, Owen Sound Attack (OHL). Drafted: 127th overall (2022), Age: 19

Season Results: 18 GP, 9 G, 10 A, 19 PTS
Last Week Rank: N/A (first appearance in the top 10)

Look, I don’t want to overextend my powers in these rankings, and I generally think Canadiens fans did a great job identifying the top prospects when asked to vote.

But Cedrick Guindon was almost completely ignored, and that’s a mistake.

The 19-year-old Franco-Ontarian leads all Habs prospects with 19 points this season. Yes, I know I’m comparing apples to genetically modified oranges by not mentioning how much easier it is to score in the OHL than the AHL, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Guindon’s impressive results.

Much like fellow prospect Riley Kidney, I’m not convinced Guindon will be able to seamlessly translate his production to the professional ranks, but he’s having the type of season that should make most Habs fans sit up and take notice.

Fell Out Of The Top 10

11. Emil Heineman, Left Wing, Laval Rocket (AHL), Drafted: 43rd overall (2020), Age: 22

Season Results: 2 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 PT. * Injured (concussion).

Through no fault of his own, Heineman is going to drop significantly in our rankings.

In the most Canadiens-style injury of the year, an NHL linesman gave Heineman a concussion while trying to avoid the puck. So, we can add ‘flying knee via a referee’ to the list of ridiculous Habs injuries.

Given his short history in the AHL, he’s likely to light the lamp with regularity once he returns to play, which may be relatively soon.

Heineman is practicing with the Laval Rocket, but he’s still wearing a no-contact jersey. On the bright side, his absence did allow Jared Davidson to score his first professional goal.


The Best Of The Rest

12.  Defenceman Jayden Struble (Laval Rocket, AHL) – Despite his suspension, Struble has emerged as the most reliable defenceman in the AHL this season. (Last Week Rank: 16th)

13. Defenceman Bogdan Konyushkov (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, KHL) – God bless Igor Larianov! The coach has no issue using his young blueliners despite the KHL’s reputation as a league in which young defencemen struggle to earn minutes. Konyushkov has scored one goal and 14 assists in 31 games, which is great, but more importantly, he’s played an average of 22:57 minutes per game. (Last Week Rank: 13th)

14. Forward Luke Tuch (Boston University Terriers, NCAA) – Yes, he’s playing on a line with Celebrini, and yes he’s older than most of his counterparts, but Tuch has managed to increase his scoring rate. He’s now above a point per game with four goals and eight assists in 10 games. (Last Week Rank: 20th)

15. Forward Florian Xhekaj (Brantford Bulldogs, OHL). Xhekaj was ranked 19th in our initial vote, and that’s understandable, but he’s done a very good job of standing out during the first parts of his sophomore season in the OHL. He has seven goals and five assists in 15 games, and in classic Xhekajian fashion, he’s at the centre of most truculent plays. (Last Week Rank: 19)

16: Forward Xavier Simoneau (Laval Rocket, AHL) – Simoneau went unranked in our initial vote, but his strong work ethic and relatively consistent production level are impossible to ignore.

17. Forward Jared Davidson (Laval Rocket, AHL) – He hasn’t been given many opportunities to shine, but Davidson has looked pretty good in his limited usage. (Last Week Rank: 15th)

18. Forward Oliver Kapanen (Kalpa, Liiga) – Much like the voters, I had started to lose hope when it came to Oliver Kapanen’s potential. He’s great defensively, but the Habs don’t need another defensive specialist. They need forwards who can score. Kapenen currently has four goals and four assists in 20 games for Kalpa. At 20 years old, he really needs to take the next step in his development to be considered a top-tier prospect. (Last Week Rank: 18th)

19. Defenceman William Trudeau (Laval Rocket, AHL) – I was among those who sang the praises of Trudeau during training camp. He stood out as a great option for an early call-up should the Canadiens need reinforcements. Unfortunately, his play has been rather disappointing. He’s not just struggling offensively, with five assists in 10 games, he’s playing quite poorly in his zone. (Last Week Rank: 14th)

20. Defenceman Mattias Norlinder (Laval Rocket, AHL) – It’s a carbon copy situation for Norlinder, who was among the last cuts at the Canadiens training camp this season. He’s having a very difficult time finding his rhythm. (Last Week Rank: 11th)

Players who fell out of the Top 20

Forward Riley Kidney (Laval Rocket, AHL) – Last Week Rank: 12th

Goaltender Jakub Dobes (Laval Rocket, AHL) – Last Week Rank: 17th

Do you agree or disagree with the Montreal Canadiens prospect power rankings? If so, let us know which Canadiens prospect we overlooked or overhyped in the comments below!

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I would slot Struble in at number 8. He’s been Laval’s best dman since the start of this season. He does everything well and with a great deal of physicality. Too bad he’s a LD.


+ / – an archaic stat, so do teams that score more than the opposition still win games?