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NHL prospect bank: CH in very good position

From the looks of it, I get the impression that the Canadiens’ bank of prospects is good. When I think of a guy like Lane Hutson, I tell myself that the Tricolore has a future NHL superstar in its ranks. Then I look at the likes of Juraj Slafkovsky, Adam Engström, Sean Farrell, Joshua Roy, Filip Mesar, Owen Beck and Riley Kidney and I guess there are easily 3 or 4 players who will join the team’s ranks one day and offer a good level of field hockey.

But my expertise in this area is very limited. That’s why, like you, I like to rely on the best experts in the field, and one of them, Byron Bader of the HockeyProspectingcom website, has just presented his ranking of NHL prospect banks, and he tends to confirm my impressions: The Habs have some excellent prospects on hand!

According to him, our Glorieux are only surpassed by the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild in this regard. That’s not too bad, is it?

His ranking is based on a few parameters that I think are very relevant to share with you:

  1. Only skaters drafted between 2018 and 2022 are counted. For goaltenders, we go back to 2016, since their development can take longer.
  2. Players may have been drafted or signed by teams like Arber Xhekakj, for example.
  3. These youngsters must have less than 100 games of NHL experience.

According to Bader’s assessment, the CH ranks3rd in terms of star power among its prospects, and first in terms of the number of players with real NHL potential, with no fewer than 24!

He considers the team’s top five prospects to be Lane Hutson, Filip Mesar, Justin Barron, Juraj Slafkovsky and Kaiden Guhle. Do you agree with him?

But all is not perfect: the contributor to Sportsnet, The Athletic and TSN mentions that the team would be even better ranked if it had selected Simon Nemec, Shane Wright or Logan Cooley with the first overall pick of the last draft. In other words, anyone ranked in the top 4 outside of Slaf.

I understand that his first season in the NHL was fraught with difficulties, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel. Not even close! Yes, it wasn’t always easy, but at least he was playing in the NHL! Since the others didn’t really, in the sense that, if they played in the NHL, they did so for far fewer games than the Slovak, it’s hard to compare. That doesn’t mean they’re automatically less good, just that we can’t say whether they would have done better than the Montreal prospect.

I know it’s Bader’s job to make these kinds of projections, but I would have been a little more embarrassed, or at least, I would have offered more nuance in my comments on this point.

All in all, the future looks bright for the Habs. What’s more, with a possible top-6 pick in the next draft and another likely to go 17th, Kent Hughes’ rebuilding plan is going very well right now.

In bursts

– A small change to the NHL schedule, as the lottery will finally be presented at 8 p.m. on May 8 instead of 7 p.m. as originally planned.

– Last summer, Paul Maurice thought coaching was over for him.

– The statistics show what we all already knew: Carey Price has made a very ordinary club competitive.

– The Wild’s post-elimination comeback could be painful. Remember, they’ll have $14.7M on the books for the contract buyouts of Parise and Suter.

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