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Top 10 Montreal Canadiens Prospects

Posted By Corey Krakower On Feb 19 2010 @ 5:30 am In Montreal Canadiens | No Comments

With the NHL season on hold due to the Olympics, and with Canadiens fans having gotten a glimpse of D-prospect PK Subban, it’s not a bad time to take a quick look at what the future holds for the organization. The Canadiens have had an interesting run when it has come to drafting elite prospects. The Trevor Timmins draft record started in 2003 and besides Carey Price, he has not drafted one player in the first round that has the potential to become an elite player at his position in the NHL – and even mentioning that Price has the ability to be a star will get some fans riled up. To give Timmins some credit, his track record is much better in the later rounds. He has selected many useful players that have had contributed at the NHL level over his tenure. Here’s a look at some of Montreal’s top prospects, where they are now and in what capacity they could one day earn a spot in the show.

1 – P.K. Subban – D (drafted RD2, 2007)

Subban used to have a reputation as being poor defensively, but he has worked hard at improving that, which in turn has vaulted him to the top of Montreal’s depth chart of top prospects. He adds a Mike Green-like dimension in terms of being able to skate the puck up the ice and getting activated in the offense. He has a lot of confidence with the puck, a big shot from the point and he brings a tremendous work ethic to the rink.

Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)

Potential: Top 4 puck-moving defenseman

2 – Louis Leblanc – C/RW (drafted RD1, 2009)

Leblanc is a pure scorer who brings a ton of energy to the table. He has been a top line player wherever he has been and while he may never emerge into a superstar who can dominate games, he looks to have all the tools necessary to have a successful NHL career.

Current team: Harvard (NCAA)

Potential: Second line C or RW, 30 goal scorer

3 – Yannick Weber – D (drafted RD3, 2007)

Weber has his deficiencies, that’s for sure. He’s undersized and while he does skate well, his acceleration is a concern when matched up against top players. Ironically, I am writing this just after a game where he did more than ok against Team Canada as a member of the Swiss team at the olympics. His bread and butter is his big shot from the point and his presence on the PP. With the importance of special teams, the Canadiens will eventually find a place for Weber.

Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)

Potential: Third pairing defenseman who logs big PP minutes

4 – Danny Kristo – RW (drafted RD2, 2008)

Kristo is a tremendous skater with exceptional speed. His coming out party was the World Juniors where he won a gold medal with Team USA and played a significant role in the process. He also played in the USHL (Omaha) with fellow prospect Leblanc.

Current team: North Dakota (NCAA)

Potential: top 6 RW, 20-25 goal scorer, strong penalty killer

5 – Ben Maxwell – C/LW (drafted RD2, 2006)

Ben Maxwell was drafted for his hockey IQ, his ability to match up against good players and his versatility to fit many roles while still putting up points. In 2 seasons in Hamilton, he has put up 95 pts in 122 games.

Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)

Potential: complimentary player on second line, or strong third liner

6 – Brock Trotter – C/RW (signed as free agent)

Signed out of the University of Denver after being kicked off the team, fans did not have high expectations for Trotter despite a good college career statistically. Two and a half years later, Trotter is now one of the top 10 scorers in the AHL. He always seems to find himself in a good position to score, which allows him to rack up a lot of points.

Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)

Potential: second line forward

7 – Cedrick Desjardins – G (signed as free agent)

Another undrafted free agent, Desjardins signed with Montreal and had to work his way up through the ranks. He was great in the ECHL and is now one of the top goalies in the AHL this year. Once the Habs decide on which one of Price or Halak to trade, it won’t be long before he’s called up to the NHL.

Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)

Potential: quality “1-A” goalie who can start 25-35 games.

8 – Tom Pyatt – LW/C (acquired from Rangers along with Scott Gomez)

Pyatt was thought to be a throw-in in the trade that saw Montreal acquire Scott Gomez in exchange for Chris Higgins and prospect Ryan McDonagh. It turns out, Pyatt is an in-your-face checker who makes life miserable for his opponents. His skill level is not worthy of a top 10 prospect, but his style of play will be very effective at the next level, which makes him a valuable asset.

Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)

Potential: Shutdown winger, effective penalty killer

9 – David Desharnais – C (signed as free agent)

The third free agent on this list, David Desharnais reminds head coach Jacques Martin of Martin St. Louis, with his play making ability, speed and puck possession skills. His raw talent should have him higher up on this list but the likelihood of Desharnais being a top scorer in the NHL is doubtful. He will have to adjust his game to be an everyday NHLer.

Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)

Potential: Top 9 forward + time on the second PP unit

10 – David Fischer – D (drafted RD1, 2006)

Once thought to have tons of potential, Fischer has had a less than stellar college career. He is currently in his senior year and there is a chance that the Canadiens wont even sign him, thus making him a free agent. It’s unfortunate that he never really developed, especially when you consider that Montreal could have drafted a puck mover in Bobby Sanguinetti (Rangers), a scoring winger in Claude Giroux (Flyers) or a big center in Patrick Berglund (Blues) where Fischer was selected.

Current team: Minnesota (NCAA)

Potential: Second or third pairing defenseman.

Others to keep an eye on: checker Ryan White, Swedish center Joonas Nattinen and Russian wingers Alexander Avtsin and Maxim Trunev.



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