By JD Lagrange – Since Marc Bergevin hit the reset button in the summer of 2018 and start accumulating draft picks, the Canadiens have done a good job at replenishing the once empty cupboards of prospects. Although twice, the team has selected third overall, both picks have not panned out for Montreal.
Alex Galchenuyk, in spite of a 30-goals season, decided to listen to his father more than the Habs’ coaching staff and has since been bouncing around the NHL. Jesperi Kotkaniemi left by signing an offer-sheet with Carolina and up until now, he has not had any success either. To be fair, at least, Bergevin turned Galchenyuk into Max Domi, who then became Josh Anderson, a huge improvement.
Since then, the duo of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes have continued along the lines of what their predecessor had started. They traded valuable veterans into young players, prospects and picks and with the team ending the season dead last and a little bit of lottery luck, they got to select first overall at the last NHL Draft.
In came Juraj Slafkovsky and, before him, Emil Heineman and Justin Barron as well as a couple of first round picks. In two consecutive transactions at the Draft, Hughes also traded 22 year-old Alexander Romanov and acquired 21 year-old Kirby Dach. Because of the work of both management groups, the Canadiens’ depth chart is in better shape than it’s been for decades.
So here are the top prospects as it stands today. As it is difficult to sort them in order, I have placed them by position. I have included the points per game column as a reference, but Canadiens’ fans are knowledgeable enough to understand that many factors, such as the league they play in, their age, and the team they play on will all be affecting that ratio. So it’s not the ultimate factor in determining the quality of a prospect.
|Juraj Slafkovsky||18||U20 SM-sarja||11||6||12||18||1.64|
|Oliver Kapanen||19||Kalpa U20||11||7||8||15||1.36|
As you can see, the sheer number of quality prospects is there. Some will argue that there is a lack of top-end prospects who can be dominant players in the NHL. To those I will reply that Martin St-Louis was never drafted. Alex Burrows spent time in the ECHL. Alexandre Daigle and Nail Yakupov were selected first overall. Fact is that you never know what a young player’s development will be like. What we know is that the Canadiens are now putting an emphasis on developing young players and only time will tell how far these young men will go.
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