By Bob Trask – The pipeline of prospects for the Montreal Canadiens contains a long list of players. There is also a multitude of opinions on how each of the prospects ranks in the depth chart as well as a multitude of opinions on how the Canadiens’ depth chart ranks against other NHL teams.
But there is more than one way to look at a depth chart. Some faces, like those acquired in the 2021 draft, are still early in their development while others are more seasoned and have already seen limited NHL action.
For the purposes of this analysis only players who are born in 1999 or later are included. As a result recent signee Lucas Condotta (LW) is excluded as is Otto Leskinen (LD). Also excluded are those who have clearly earned a regular position on the NHL team. Alexander Romanov, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield fall into this group.
- 1999 – Cayden Primeau
- 2000 –
- 2001 – Frederik Dichow, Jakub Dobes
- 2002 – Joe Vrbetic
- 2003 –
- 1999 –
- 2000 – Jordan Harris, Mattias Norlinder, Gianni Fairbrother
- 2001 – Arber Xhekaj, Jayden Struble
- 2002 – Kaiden Guhle, William Trudeau
- 2003 –
- 1999 – Josh Brook
- 2000 –
- 2001 – Justin Barron
- 2002 – Dmitri Kostenko
- 2003 – Logan Mailloux, Daniel Sobolev
- 1999 – Ryan Poehling, Brent Stapley, Nathan Schnarr
- 2000 – Cam Hillis, Jacob Olofsson
- 2001 – Xavier Simoneau
- 2002 – Jan Mysak, Ty Smilanic, Jack Smith
- 2003 – Riley Kidney, Oliver Kapanen
- 1999 – Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Joel Teasdale, Jack Gorniak
- 2000 – Justin Ducharme, Cedric Desruisseaux
- 2001 – Emil Heineman, Sean Farrell, Rhett Pitlick, Alexander Gordin
- 2002 – Luke Tuch
- 2003 – Joshua Roy
- 1999 – Jesse Ylonen
- 2000 –
- 2001 –
- 2002 – Blake Biondi
- 2003 –
When glancing at the prospect list and ranking players, it is important to consider how many years of development they have under their belts. Is it fair to compare the progress of a 2002 player to a 1999 player when one may have 4 more years of experience than the other? It is also a difficult chore to compare progress among players of different positions. How do you objectively compare the potential of a goaltender to that of a left winger, for example? Take all prospect rankings with a grain of salt.
This list will also change dramatically over the summer. Players like Olofsson, Gorniak and Stapley may not receive contract offers. Others like Primeau, Brook, Poehling, Schnarr, Harvey-Pinard, Teasdale and Ylonen have shorter runways in which to prove themselves.
On the other side of the coin, the Habs currently hold 14 picks in the upcoming entry NHL Draft. Even if they don’t use all of them, there will be significant additions to the prospect pool.
Two positions where the Habs seem thin is at right defense and right wing and that is after the acquisition of Justin Barron at right defense. Of course that could change dramatically with the draft and/or any trades or amateur free agent signings.
While the depth chart of any NHL team is constantly changing, this list certainly indicates that the Montreal Canadiens are deep in legitimate NHL prospects and are about to get deeper. Elite Prospects has a great list of prospects for every NHL teams. Here’s the link for the Canadiens’ prospects and how they’re doing in their respective league. The future is getting closer and it is getting brighter.