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Canadiens Prospect Highlights

Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings: Mesar and Hutson Dominate



Montreal canadiens prospect filip mesar

We’re into the second week of the Montreal Canadiens prospect power rankings, and there seems to be no stop to Filip Mesar’s impressive rise up the list.

The original rankings were voted upon by the fans. 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 this week are from November 16 to November 22.

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: 12 GP, 8 G, 8 A, 16 PTS. Weekly Results: 3 GP, 5 A.
Rank Last Week: No.1 (no change)

Another week, another strong performance from Lane Hutson.

He did not score, mind you, but he did set up five goals for his teammates, which evened out his scoreline to eight goals and eight assists in just 12 games.

His play in the third period against 3rd ranked Quinnipiac on Wednesday epitomized his value when the game is on the line. He drove the offence relentlessly into the offensive zone, which resulted in a bevy of chances for Boston University.

Speaking of Boston U, they seem to have stabilized after their disappointing start and are currently on a five-game winning streak.

As per usual, Hutson continues to create time and space by walking the blueline with the greatest of ease. It’s incredibly entertaining, but more importantly, it opens up shooting and passing lanes.

Despite his affinity for getting the puck on net, Hutson is always aware of which passing lanes may lead to a goal, as evidenced by his excellent chemistry with forward Macklin Celebrini, who, at just 17 years old, leads the entire NCAA in scoring with 9 goals and 13 assists in 12 games.

(Editor’s note: Wilmer did end up tipping the puck)


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

Season Results: 11 GP, 8 G, 14 A, 22 PTS. Weekly Results: 3 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 PTS
Last Week Rank: No.3 (+1)

Filip Mesar continues to have a dominant season in the Ontario Hockey League. If not for Hutson’s outrageous scoring pace as a defenceman, Mesar would be sitting first on our list. Even with their strong numbers, Mesar threatened to dethrone both of the Canadiens’ top prospects.

The 2022 first-round pick scored his first OHL hat trick on Tuesday against the Eerie Otters, including the game-winning goal. Believe it or not, Mesar did not finish the game as the first star. His teammate, Antonio Pugliese, scored four goals in the very same game, which ended 10-3 in the favour of the Kitchener Rangers.

As it stands, Mesar’s 22 points in 11 games have him tied with teammate Carson Rehkopf (44 points in 22 games) for the league lead in points per game.

His production is very encouraging, but more importantly, he’s a little less tentative when it comes to driving to the net and fighting for pucks in the dirty areas of the ice. It helps that he’s playing on one of the best teams in the CHL, just as his production was hindered last season on a much weaker Rangers team, but overall, it’s fair to say this is a perfect start to the year for the 19-year-old forward.

If there’s one nit to pick, it would be his shot. Or rather, his hesitance to unleash his shot whenever the opportunity arises.

Like most players, Mesar’s productivity tends to follow his shot rate, and though he’s getting by on pure skill at the moment, he’s only taken 27 shots in those 11 games, which is actually a lower shot production than he produced last year.

Increasing his quantity of shots would help him mitigate any risk of a reduced level of point production.

Regardless, Mesar is doing exactly what management wanted to see him do when they made the smart decision to send him to the OHL. It’s an important lesson worth keeping in mind as the Canadiens traverse the cold waters of a rebuild.

Prospects must be used in the ideal situation, a situation that is conducive to thriving. If not, their development will stall, and the franchise that drafted them will suffer.


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

Season Results: 16 GP, 7 G, 11 A, 18 PTS. Weekly Results: 3GP, 1 A.
Rank Last Week: No.2 (-1)

It was a slow week for Roy, at least by his standards. Consequently, the Laval Rocket also had a hard time, going winless in their last three games.

Roy was on the ice for several of his opponents’ goals and he had a hard time getting his shot off, which led to fewer scoring opportunities than normal.

That being said, he’s still among the AHL’s top scorers, and it would be unfair to drop him below No.3 due to one below-average week. Despite the great start to his professional career, we can’t lose focus of the fact that he’s yet to play 20 games in the AHL, and he’s still gaining valuable experience.

Down weeks are to be expected. And he was far from the worst Rocket player in those losses.

If anything, his fantastic start was a surprise. Not because he lacks talent. He’s probably the most well-rounded Canadiens prospect in the organization, but the AHL can be a difficult league for any player, let alone a 20-year-old who is just beginning his professional career in earnest.

If history is any indication, Roy should bounce back in the near future.

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

Season Results: 10 GP, 9-2-1 record, 2.14 GAA, .926 SV%. Weekly Results: 2-0-0, .937 save percentage.
Last Week Rank: No.4 (/)

There were high hopes when the Habs drafted Jacob Fowler in the third round, and so far it seems like the scouting department has hit a home run in this particular case.

The season is still young, but his Canadiens prospect is very impressive.

Fowler had another solid week, starting with a 5-4 win against UConn in the first game of a back-to-back series. He followed it up with his first NCAA shutout, an impressive 31-save effort. The shutout win put an end to Fowler’s most ‘difficult’ stretch, which saw his .922 save percentage drop down to .919 in a few games.

He’s now back to .926,  which isn’t just respectable for an 18-year-old, it’s one of the main reasons Boston College quickly climbed the NCAA rankings.

He continues to show excellent positioning and fantastic tracking, though if there was one criticism to be made, it would be his tendency to sit back a little too deep in his crease. It has cost him a few goals when facing some of the nation’s top teams.

That should be relatively easy to fix, especially when we consider Fowler has very little to work on when it comes to the rest of his game.

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

Season Results: 14 Gp, 7 G, 6 A, 13 PTS. Weekly Results: 3 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 PTS.
Last Week Rank: 6th (+1)

We discussed Owen Beck’s hat trick against the Oshawa Generals in last week’s power rankings, and surely enough, we have yet another hat trick against the Generals to highlight this time around.

Beck, who has helped power the Peterborough Petes to the top of the Eastern Conference, has found a new gear this season. Or, perhaps, it’s that he’s being used in a mostly offensive role, which allows him to eschew some of the usual heavy defensive responsibilities he’s tasked with in the OHL.

He also continues to be one of the best centres outside of the NHL when it comes to faceoff, with an impressive 60.5 percent efficiency.

The Petes only trail Mesar’s Rangers when it comes to the overall lead league, and that may change their plans going forward. Originally, it was expected Beck would be dealt for a king’s ransom to a team that was hoping to compete for the Memorial Cup, but they’ve quietly become Memorial Cup contenders themselves.

Of course, not everyone may agree with that, seeing as the Petes haven’t even cracked the CHL’s Top-10 Rankings despite their excellent results.

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

Season Results: 16 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 PTS. Weekly Results: 3 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS
Last Week Rank: No.5  (-1)

Much like Roy, Mailloux had a tough week, at least defensively speaking.

To be perfectly honest, the entire Rocket team had a rough week, which led to a drop in the rankings for a few members of the Canadiens prospect pool.

He still managed to score versus Utica, and he continues to put an impressive number of shots on net. The defenceman had 13 shots in just three games, pushing his season totals to 51, which is second among all AHL defencemen, and 10th among all players.

He’s the most productive defenceman the Canadiens have in the AHL, and if he continues to produce at a strong rate, he’ll cut in line for a call-up to the NHL.

7. Adam Engstrom, Defenceman. Rogle BK Angelholm (SHL). Drafted: 92nd overall (2022), Age: 20

Season Results: 18 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS. Weekly Results: 2 GP, 2 Assists.
Last Week Rank: No.9  (+2)

Engstrom enjoyed his first two-point game of the season on Thursday against HV 71. However, we should note that his average ice time has dipped below 20 minutes in his last three outings. It’s not a reason to sound the alarms, and we must remember that Engstrom just turned 20 on Friday, but it does speak to the ebbs and flows of usage when it comes to development.

There’s still some work to do from a defensive standpoint, as Engstrom can struggle when it comes to defensive positioning, but overall, he’s enjoying yet another solid year for Rogle, where he’s currently playing on the top pairing.

His play in the offensive zone leaves very little to be desired. He’s almost always driving the puck up the ice (with control) or creating time and space for his linemates in the offensive zone.

Few skaters can match his mobility and fluidity. His effortless skating is sure to serve him well once he makes the jump to North American hockey.

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

Season Results: 7 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS. Weekly Results: 2 GP, 1 Assist.
Last Week Rank: No.7 (-1)

It wasn’t all good news when it came to Canadiens prospects.

David Reinbacher has not looked the same since he came back from his knee injury, and his two games this week were far from encouraging.

He did register an assist against EHC Bel-Bienne on Friday, but he was tentative when it came to his decision-making, and his mobility raised questions as to his overall health.

It was the same the following day when EHC Kloten faced one of the worst teams in the league, the SC Langnau Tigers. Reinbacher’s breakouts were fairly good, but he had a few brutal giveaways and skated himself into a corner in the dying seconds of the game, which led to an empty-net goal for the Tigers.

He was also the catalyst for a Tigers goal in the first period. His giveaway resulted in almost a three-minute defensive shift for the 18-year-old defenceman.

I know what some will say: patience is in order. And they’re right. Also, ECH Kloten is a mess, as evidenced by the recent firing of their head coach.

But these are power rankings, and currently, Reinbacher is being outplayed by his fellow Canadiens prospects. Once he settles in following his injury, his ranking may go up, but for now, he has dropped on our list for the second week in a row.


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

Season Results: 12 GP, 4 G, 8 A, 12 PTS. Weekly Results: 3 GP, 1 A.
Last Week Rank: No. 7 (-2)

Just like the rest of his Rocket teammates, it was not a banner week for Sean Farrell.

At 22 years old, Farrell is older than many of his teammates, but we have to remember his development was delayed by the pandemic, which forced him to play an extra year in the USHL.

So, while the expectations may be higher in his case, he’s still a rookie, and he’s still learning how to adapt to the hectic pace of the AHL.

The most important aspect of Farrell’s game that could stand to be improved is fairly simple: he needs to take more shots. He’s an excellent playmaker, and he’s done a good job setting up his teammates with prime scoring chances, but he often hesitates to pull the trigger when he has an opportunity to take a shot from a high-danger zone.

Rookies tend to defer to their teammates, therefore it’s not surprising, but he does need to improve his overall shot rate. Farrell has only taken 28 shots in his 16 games this season.

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

Season Results: 21 GP, 10 G, 11 A, 21 PTS. Weekly Results: 3 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS
Last Week Rank: 10th (/)

It wasn’t the most productive week for Guindon, but he’s still providing offence for the Owen Sound Attack, and he’s improving his defensive play by leaps and bounds compared to last season.

The Rockland native is a cerebral play, which helps him contribute to his team even when he’s not finding the back of the net. I’m still not ready to suggest he has a skill set that would easily translate to the professional level, but he’s certainly playing an impressive brand of hockey in the OHL.

It’s obviously easier to score in the OHL compared to the AHL, but it’s worth keeping in mind that Guindon is currently the Canadiens’ second most productive prospect from a raw total standpoint.

The Best Of The Rest

11.  Defenceman Jayden Struble (Laval Rocket, AHL) – Technically speaking, Struble should be removed from this list since he’s no longer considered a Canadiens prospect now that he’s in the NHL. But his excellent play in the AHL is good enough for me to twist the rules a little. His first game for the Montreal Canadiens was far from mind-blowing, but he made several smart plays, and statistically speaking, was one of the best defencemen against the Anaheim Ducks.

12. Defenceman Bogdan Konyushkov (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, KHL) – The exciting defensive prospect continues to log over 20 minutes per game for Torpedo, and with 2 goals and 15 assists, he’s producing a very respectable amount of offence when we consider he’s a 20-year-old playing professional hockey in one of the best leagues in the world.

13. Forward Florian Xhekaj (Brantford Bulldogs, OHL). Xhekaj was ranked 19th in our initial vote, received a bump to 15th last week, and is now on the cusp of cracking the top 10, which is rather impressive compared to the expectations once he was drafted. He’s scoring nice goals, ugly goals, and everything in between. The fourth-round pick currently has 10 goals and seven assists in 18 games.

MUST READ: Canadiens Prospect Florian Xhekaj Flourishing In OHL

14. Forward Luke Tuch (Boston University Terriers, NCAA) – I’m well aware he’s playing with Macklin Celebrini, and he logs a lot of ice time with fellow Habs prospect Lane Hutson, but Tuch is still playing his best hockey since arriving in the NCAA, with five goals and eight assists in 12 games.

15. Vinzenz Roher (Zurich, NL) – Going from the OHL to the NL means that Rohrer will have a much harder time registering his name on the scoresheet. As it stands, he has three goals and two assists in 19 games. But according to the underlying numbers, he’s doing a very respectable job for one of the best teams in the league. Roher is yet another cerebral Canadiens prospect, though his development is likely to take a little longer than some of his counterparts.

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!