Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Montreal Canadiens' Top 10 Prospects

Since the hockey world is at as big a crawl as it has been all summer right now, I believe that the time is right to issue out what I believe to be the TOP 10 Habs prospects list.

*left off of the following list will be young prospects Sergei Kostitsyn, Carey Price, and Jaroslav Halak, due to the fact that they are virtually guaranteed roster spots next season.

Honorable Mention: D Shawn Belle, F Matt D'Agostini, D Mathieu Carle, D Yannick Weber.

10. James Wyman: 6-2, 192lbs. RW.

A league coach had this to say about Wyman: “Wyman has the ability to single handedly change the game in one shift. He is very explosive and is a pure goal scorer. He has a tremendous first three strides, has nice hands, and a quick release. He will have to develop his play in the last 100 feet to make himself a more complete player.” Wyman turned heads at last month's Canadiens prospect development camp, being one of the standout players, along with another player who will feature VERY highly on this list...

9. Alexei Yemelin: 6-1, 191lbs. D.

An aggressively physical stay at home defenseman, with a strong shot from the point and above average skating. He will need to bulk up to fill out his frame, improve his offensive production, and cut down on penalties. He's known to Hit and annoy the opposition. The major problem with Yemelin seems to be getting him past a contractual clause with his team in Togliatti, Russia, to get him over here, playing in the AHL and learning the North American style. At 22, he's losing valuable development time.

8. P.K. Subban: 5-11, 200lbs. D.

Subban had a great year for the Belleville Bulls, tallying 15 goals and 41 helpers in 68 games. Despite his natural charisma and genuine love of the fans, the knocks are out on Subban's game, and they are all directed where it hurts the most for a defenseman; his defense. Subban is known to stray away from a solid defensive position in order to get involved in a rush. He is a point-seeking, trigger-happy defenseman, and scouts have taken notice. Subban will need to explode at the upcoming WJC in December, as, likely now without Karl Alzner and Drew Doughty, Subban, who was a 7th d in last year's tourney, will become a leader. Maybe a conversion from D to F is in the cards for Subban, a la Dustin Byfuglien of Chicago, or even Mark Streit, then of Montreal, now of NYI?

7. Ben Maxwell: 6-1, 177lbs. C.

Maxwell had a great, albeit injury-plagued season with Kootenay last year. The centerman was able to tally 19 goals and 53 points in 39 games. A recurring elbow injury came back to haunt him and he was subsequently cut from the WJC roster. The injury sidelined him for quite a while, but Maxwell has apparently fought through it nicely and is ready to challenge for a spot with the big-club come training camp, as are all of these players on this list of course. Maxwell is in stiff competition at his position, however...

6. Pavel Valentenko: 6-2, 218lbs. D

Pavel was the "most improved player" for Hamilton this past season, according to Head Scout Trevor Timmons. He registered a 102 mp/h blast at Hamilton's skills competiton. Valentenko brings size and slap-shooting ability to any club he plays for, and if he can work a little more on his speed and all-around game, Valentenko could definitely be knocking on the big-club's door.

5. Danny Kristo: 5-11, 172lbs. RW.

Kristo, Montreal's 2008 2nd round choice and first pick overall, made a quick impression at the development camp. According to some bloggers who were able to take in some of the sights there, Kristo, along with Max Pacioretty, stood out from the pack. Kristo has great speed and wicked hands, but the knock on him is his size. Kristo will need to bulk up and spend a couple of seasons in Hamilton, but the potential is there for him to eventually be a top 6 NHL forward.

4. David Fischer: 6-3, 185lbs. D.

The tall defenseman skates strongly with a wide base. He does not rush the puck up the ice often, but he can hit the breakout pass and rarely makes a mental mistake. Fischer often stepped up to a position on the half-board for power plays and did not seem out of place fore checking and handling the puck as a forward. Fischer's strength is that he plays a steady game and makes the players around him better. Fischer is developing a little slower than initially expected, but is still making progress. He is still a project, as he remains undersized in mass for his massive 6-3 frame at 185.

3. Ryan McDonaugh: 6-1, 200lbs. D.

This guy can be the all-around D the Habs are looking for. McDonagh is not a flashy end-to-end player, but does just about everything well. He has good size, is a solid skater, and makes the right decisions with the puck. He’s very strong one-on-one, but will need to adjust to the quickness he’ll experience at higher levels of play. He can play in all situations and eat up a lot of ice time. He had 33 points in 23 games last year.

2. Kyle Chipchura: 6-2, 205lbs. C.

It seems Kyle's place is being penciled into the Habs lineup already, but that depends on one thing: Mats Sundin. Chipchura has been grinding it out in the AHL after a breif stint with Montreal. Early last season, Chipchura got the start with the Habs, but was demoted to the AHL shortly afterward to improve on his faceoff skills. Maxim Lapierre was then recalled and was able to stick with the club en route to capturing the Eastern Conference crown. Kyle is already considered as a possible future captain for the Habs, as he has innate leadership skills. He plays an already NHL-ready two-way game, and is very reliable in the defensive zone. Look for Chipchura to start with Montreal should they not sign Sundin.

1. Max Pacioretty: 6-2, 203lbs. LW.

Max Pac. Many believe Max can steal a roster spot with Montreal come training camp, and if his performance at the development camp is any indication, he sure as hell can. He dazzled fans with a great display of speed and, more-so, skill, putting on a great display of shooting. He is a great power forward with an above average skill set. "He's a good skater with quick feet. He handles the puck very well, has a good shot and has a quick release. Has the size and tenacity to be a force on the ice, just needs to learn when and where to apply it with consistency." He was named to the USHL all-rookie team, and wound up being named Rookie of the Year. Max Pacioretty: get used to the name.


craig kilborne said...


sasabainga said...

Chippy's got a ring to it...I reserve Chippy