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Canadiens Prospect Highlights: Hage, Xhekaj, & Thorpe Standout

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montreal canadiens prospects

The players taking part in the 2024 Montreal Canadiens development camp took to the ice on Friday morning for a pair of scrimmages between Team White and Team Red.

Before we start discussing the highlights, please remember that intra-squad scrimmages are just that, a friendly game between two teams that aren’t overly aggressive when it comes to hits and board battles. That’s not to say we can’t take anything from the games, but we do have to take the results with a grain of salt.

montreal canadiens dev camp roster

Michael Hage

It didn’t take long for Michael Hage to stand out from the crowd. The freshly drafted forward showed great hands, particularly when it came to driving the play and making his way to the middle of the ice. Of course, he won’t be able to simply glide to a high-danger scoring area in real games, but it was clear that Hage possesses the type of skill set that should eventually translate to the professional ranks.

 

Tyler Thorpe

The 6’4″ Vancouver Giants forward was one of the few players who stood out on Team White. He’s much bigger than most of his opponents, but that did not stop him from finding open ice. He’s not exactly an elite skater, but his agility is certainly above average. Thorpe used his shot as often as possible, displaying solid accuracy whenever the opportunity arose.

Florian Xhekaj

There have been doubts as to Xhekaj’s long term potential, as some have suggested he’s only scoring goals in the OHL because he’s older than his competition. Yes, he’s a late bloomer, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue he doesn’t also possess good hands, as evidenced by his nifty shootout goal that gave goaltender Jacob Fowler no chance.

Josh Nadeau

One of my favourite things to do at prospect camps is ignoring all the numbers and attempting to identify the best players without knowing their names. Some years, it’s the key prospects that stand out, but this year it’s camp invite Josh Nadeau that really impressed.

He’s set to return to the University of Maine this season, where he scored 45 points in 37 games last year. I don’t want to suggest the Montreal Canadiens need to sign him and change his NCAA plans, but he was certainly one of the best players on the ice on Friday.

Jacob Fowler

Every goalie ended up allowing a few goals, as the teams were playing with a very limited number of defencemen. With that in mind, Fowler didn’t have a dominant outing, but he did show flashes of brilliance, including this nice save on Sam Harris in the shootout.

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Tyrone

I agree with not looking at names/numbers and just watching the play. It takes out any bias. One of the things that stood out to me was how small Fowler looked in the net. That’s concerning considering most of us have him tabbed as the goalie of the future. In the best league in the world, against the best shooters in the world, every inch counts, and there’s a lot of open net around him. It makes my desire to go after Askarov ever greater now.

Robin

According to Hockey DB, Jacob Fowler is six feet two inches and weighs 212 pounds (although I heard that he lost quite a bit of weight so maybe he is lighter now). He seems to be tall enough.

Tyrone

According to the updated height & weight at taken at camp, he’s 6’1” and 219lbs. He’s gotten shorter and heavier. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Cameron Grant

Yes, Quick and Lundquist (both listed at 6’1″) were terrible goalies. Let’s do what minor hockey teams do and dump this guy for a taller, crappier goalie. I mean, why even give him a chance, right? SMH

morrisk

Here we go with your “size” thing again…

Fowler is listed as between 6 ft 1 inch and 2 inches. There are several really good goalies in the NHL who are within about that height range.

The best goalies are lightning fast in movements and reflexes, flexible as heck, and never give up on a play. Their height and weight are down the list in terms of importance.

Your guy Askarov was drafted in the first rd in 2020. Its 4 years later and where is he? Still in the minors with little likelihood of making the team this year. If he was that good, he’d be playing in the NHL by now, considering he was a 1st (not a 3rd) rd pick.

We have Monty for now, and Fowler/Dobes for the future. I’m not giving up any assests for a goalie prospect who isn’t conclusively better than either of our two goalie prospects.

Greg

While I see no need to go after Askarov either, the kid would be playing NHL games in most other NHL cities. Look for him to be traded this year and begin his career in earnest. He’s rated the best goalie outside the NHL as recently as the draft, so he is a good prospect.
That said, we don’t need him. We have Montembeault and Primeau, with Dobes in Laval, the 3 goalies we drafted last summer and the one this past draft. Lots of time during a rebuild to figure out who, if any, are long term options.

peter

I thought Sam Harris looked very good, yet no mentioned him!