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Here’s what the Habs’ top five prospects did in 2023

With the Habs rebuilding, the performances of the organization’s various prospects have never been as closely scrutinized in Montreal as they are now.

So, as the year draws to a close, let’s take a look back at the performances of the team’s top five prospects in 2023:

Lane Hutson

Who better than Lane Hutson to start the list? Just about everything has been said about the young man, who continues to impress game after game.

His 2023 year took off with a bronze medal at the WJC, but then he became a man on a mission in the NCAA. Since the start of 2023, he has amassed no fewer than 50 points in 38 games on the American college circuit, including 16 goals.

It will be remembered that he also had some consideration for the Hobey Baker Trophy, but he didn’t make the shortlist of three. The general reaction was that he had been robbed of his place.

We also saw Hutson pick up six points in nine games at the World Championship, and in the next few days we’ll see him represent the USA at the WJC again. He is an assistant to the captain and is set to play a very important role in the U.S. squad.

It’s hard to ask more of a young man who continues to demonstrate that he has the potential to be an excellent offensive defenseman in the NHL eventually.

Expect to see him dominate the NCAA again in the early months of 2024… and to see him in Montreal at the end of his college season.

Joshua Roy

Joshua Roy started 2023 as a lion, playing a crucial role in Canada’s gold medal-winning squad at the WJC. In fact, he was so good at the last WJC that even Connor Bedard was quick to praise him.

The two guys played on the same trio, and clearly, Roy’s performance left its mark on Bedard.

And in the QMJHL, Roy was once again solid. He amassed 56 points (including 28 goals) in 29 games before adding 12 goals and 24 points to his record in 14 playoff games. His team’s run, the Sherbrooke Phoenix, unfortunately came to an end in the semi-finals against the Mooseheads.

Roy also made the jump to the pros, playing with the Laval Rocket since the beginning of the year.

He got off to a flying start, topping the league’s scoring charts for a few days. He was also named LAH Rookie of the Month in October.

It’s been a little tougher for Roy since then, though, as he’s going through a slump. Still, he has 23 points in 27 games so far this season, a very decent haul for a rookie.

His talent and potential mean we can expect to see him bounce back strongly from his current slump… and, perhaps, make his NHL debut in 2024.

David Reinbacher

There’s been a lot of talk about Lane Hutson and Joshua Roy in 2023, but David Reinbacher has also been a huge topic of discussion in Montreal. The defenseman, drafted fifth overall in the last draft, hasn’t necessarily been a hit with the fan base, but he remains a bright prospect on the blue line.

While many fans were hoping to see Matvei Michkov come to town, the Habs have a clear philosophy: build on a solid blue line.

And this year, Reinbacher concluded his very solid 2022-23 season, a campaign in which he amassed 22 points in 46 regular-season games against adults in Switzerland. He also added two points in three playoff games.

He then took part in the Canadiens’ training camp, where he performed well. That said, the Tricolore decided to send him back to Europe. An injury bothered him for a few weeks, but he had a tougher start to the season.

The good news is that since the change of coach at Kloten, things seem to be going better. He’s playing less, but he’s playing a lot better.

Barring a surprise, he’ll be making the jump to North America at the end of his season in Europe. The question is whether he’ll play in Montreal or Laval, but he’ll obviously be playing in North America by the end of the 2023-24 season.

Let’s hope his start to the season was just a blip, as he has three points in his last five games and five points in his last 10 games, giving him six in 16 games.

Filip Mesar

Filip Mesar has had a rather special season. After taking part in the CMJ over the holidays, he returned to the OHL, where he amassed 29 points in 35 games. He may only have scored seven goals, but still.

And even though he was on a team in turmoil in Kitchener, his Rangers, against all odds, eliminated the Windsor Spitfires (and Shane Wright) in four games in the first round. It was a major-league upset.

The Rangers were then eliminated by Logan Mailloux and the London Knights. Mesar then made his way to the Habs camp at the end of the summer, and it was more difficult.

He started the year in Laval, where he played only two games, and the Habs finally sent him back to the OHL.

And while doubts about his motivation remained, Mesar silenced his detractors with a huge start to the season in Kitchener.

He’s now at 13 goals and 32 points in 20 games this season, a far more encouraging haul than his 2022-23 season.

Like Hutson, Mesar will be assistant captain at CMJ in the coming months. He will play an important role in a young Slovakian team, deprived of Juraj Slafkovský and Simon Nemec.

I can’t wait to see what awaits him in the coming months.

Owen Beck

Owen Beck’s year 2023 started with a bang. First, on January 1, he was urgently recalled by the Canadian squad to the WJC, having just lost the services of Colton Dach. Then, at the end of January, it was the Canadiens’ turn to call him up, as Beck played his first NHL game.

He only played three games for ÉCJ and just under 10 minutes for the Habs, but it all happened quickly.

Then it was back to business as usual, as Beck returned to the OHL, where he racked up 25 points (including seven goals) in 30 games to close out his season. In the playoffs, however, he led his Petes to the OHL title, defeating the London Knights (and Logan Mailloux) in the final. Beck amassed 16 points in 22 playoff games.

At the Memorial Cup, Beck scored three points in five games, but his Petes lost in the semifinals to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Beck is back in the OHL this season, and after a very difficult start (he had just one point after six games), he now has 30 points in 25 games. This brings him to 29 points in his last 19 games.

Like Hutson and Mesar, Beck will have the opportunity to represent his country at the CMJ in the coming days. In fact, he’ll be the only ÉCJ player to have taken part in last year’s tournament, even though he wasn’t part of last year’s initial line-up.

He’ll have a much more prominent role this winter, though.


In addition to these five players, we can also mention the fine performances of Sean Farrell, Adam Engström, Jacob Fowler, Bogdan Konyushkov and Logan Mailloux, to name but a few.

The future looks rosy in Montreal, and that doesn’t even include all the youngsters already in town.

I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in 2024… and for many years to come.

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