2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: Prospect Awards & Final Thoughts

Welcome back to the final installment of my 2015 top 30 Habs prospects. This section includes my revamped prospect awards and some final thoughts on ranking methodology and the prospect pool.

Series Navigation:
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: Ranking Methodology & Honourable Mentions
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #30-26
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #25-21
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #20-16
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #15-11
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #10-6
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #5-1
2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: Prospect Awards & Final Thoughts

 

Prospect Awards

Keep in mind that these are for fun. The difference between most of these is razor thin. It’s extremely hard to cross compare prospect’s physical tools.

Shooting-Related Awards

Best Wrist Shot (Awarded to the prospect that demonstrates the best combination of accuracy, power, and quickness with the wrist shot.)

1. Christian Thomas
HM: Sven Andrighetto, Daniel Carr

Best Snap Shot (Awarded to the prospect that demonstrates the best combination of accuracy, power, and quickness with the snap shot.)

1. Artturi Lehkonen
HM: Sven Andrighetto, Tim Bozon

Best Slap Shot (Awarded to the prospect that demonstrates the best combination of accuracy, power, and quickness with the slap shot.)

1. Magnus Nygren
HM: Noah Juulsen, Greg Pateryn

Best One-Timer (Awarded to the prospect that demonstrates the best combination of accuracy, power, and quickness with the one-timer.)

1. Magnus Nygren
HM: Darren Dietz, Greg Pateryn

Hardest Shot (Awarded to the prospect with the hardest overall shot, disregarding accuracy, effectiveness, or quickness of release.)

1. Magnus Nygren
HM: Michael McCarron, Greg Pateryn

 

Skating-Related Awards

Fastest Acceleration (Awarded to the prospect that demonstrates the most explosive first few steps.)

1. Mark MacMillan
HM: Mac Bennett, Jacob de la Rose

Best Edge Work (Awarded to the prospect with the best agility.)

1. Martin Reway
HM: Sven Andrighetto, Mac Bennett

Fastest Top-End Speed (Awarded to the prospect with the most effective top-end speed.)

1. Mark MacMillan
HM: Daniel Audette, Nikita Scherbak

Best Overall Skater (Awarded to the prospect that combines acceleration, agility, four-way mobility, top-end speed, and technique the most effectively.)

1. Mac Bennett
HM: Jacob de la Rose, Mark MacMillan

 

Passing-Related Awards

Best Outlet Pass (Awarded to the defender with the most effective outlet pass from their own zone.)

1. Noah Juulsen
HM: Darren Dietz, Magnus Nygren

Best Saucer Pass (Awarded to the prospect with the most effective saucer pass.)

1. Nikita Scherbak
HM: Charles Hudon, Martin Reway

Best Playmaker (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively combines vision, intelligence, technique, and efficiency in regards to passing.)

1. Nikita Scherbak
HM: Daniel Audette, Martin Reway

 

Stickhandling-Related Awards

Best Stickhandler (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively combines quickness and softness to routinely beat the opposition.)

1. Nikita Scherbak
HM: Sven Andrighetto, Martin Reway

 

Goaltender-Related Awards

Best Technical Goaltender (Awarded to the goaltender with the best technique.)

1. Mike Condon

Most Athletic Goaltender (Awarded to the goaltender with the highest level of athleticism)

1. Zach Fucale

 

General Awards

Best Bodychecker (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively (and destructively) separates the puck from the carrier.)

1. Michael McCarron
HM: Connor Crisp, Brett Lernout

Best Pokechecker (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively dispossesses the opposition with their stick.)

1. Jarred Tinordi
HM: Noah Juulsen, Martin Reway

Best Penalty Killer (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively kills penalties.)

1. Jarred Tinordi
HM: Michael McCarron, Mark MacMillan.

Best Powerplay Threat (Awarded to the prospect that is the deadliest on the powerplay.)

1. Martin Reway
HM: Daniel Audette, Magnus Nygren

Best Faceoff Man (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively wins in the dot.)

1. Michael McCarron
HM: Mark MacMillan

Best Net Front Presence (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively screens the goaltender, while being a threat to score from tip-ins and redirections.)

1. Michael McCarron
HM: Daniel Carr, Jeremy Gregoire

Best Board Battler (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively wins puck battles and maintains possession.)

1. Michael McCarron
HM: Jeremiah Addison, Jacob de la Rose

Best Puck Possessor (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively combines body positioning, stickhandling, edge work, and intelligence to main possession.)

1. Nikita Scherbak
HM: Michael McCarron, Lukas Vejdemo 

Best Defensive Forward (Awarded to the forward that most effectively combines dedication, intelligence, and skill in the defensive zone.)

1. Jacob de la Rose
HM: Jeremy Grégoire, Michael McCarron

Best Offensive Defender (Awarded to the defender that most effectively combines dedication, intelligence, and skill in the offensive zone.)

1. Magnus Nygren
HM: Darren Dietz, Noah Juulsen

Most Intelligent Prospect (Awarded to the prospect that most effectively and efficiently plays hockey, while limiting turnovers and demonstrating excellent tactical awareness.)

1. Jacob de la Rose
HM: Charles Hudon, Noah Juulsen

Most Dynamic Prospect (Awarded to the prospect that consistently creates the most scoring chances.)

1. Nikita Scherbak
HM: Sven Andrighetto, Martin Reway

Most Improved Prospect (Awarded to the prospect that improved the most from the end of the 2013-2014 season to the end of the 2014-2015 season.)

1. Michael McCarron
HM: Mike Condon, Brett Lernout.

Most NHL-Ready Prospect (Awarded to the prospect that is most likely to see the most NHL action in the near future.)

1. Greg Pateryn
HM: Sven Andrighetto, Charles Hudon, Jarred Tinordi

 

2014-2015 Prospect of the Season (Awarded to the prospect that had the most success individually and with their team.)

1. Michael McCarron
No prospect improved as much as Michael McCarron did this past season. There’s an argument to be made that no player in the OHL evolved his game as much as McCarron did. It started with a tremendous training camp and a goalscoring surge in London. While his goalscoring dried up in Oshawa, he was snake-bitten and adapting to playing a different role. In the playoffs, McCarron got his offence back on track and posted many dominant games in the playoffs. His excellent play in the playoffs, particularly in the second round versus Niagara and the OHL finals versus Erie, helped propel Oshawa to the Memorial Cup. At the Memorial Cup, McCarron was impressive and was named to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team.

 

Ranking Methodology 2.0

Ranking the prospects is obviously the purpose of this list; however, I believe that the individual talent analyses are far more important. While it’s fun to assign numerical values to prospects and hope that you’re correct, this isn’t a science. There were always be players who bust, players who exceed expectations, and players who come from nowhere to surprise. The dynamic landscape of prospect analysis is why I’m so fascinated by it.

In the developmental stages of this list, a tiered list was created. It’s the master list. With each tier created, the rankings within each grouping are established. The prospects within each tier are so close that what separates them is simply comes down to my intuition. As a result, I would argue that the tiered list is a better indicator of the actually rankings because intuition is naturally biased. You can never truly remove bias from analyzing prospects, but even adding a little more transparency goes a long way.

The way the tiers are created comes down to justifying each player’s position on the list. The players in each tier are all very much interchangeable. For each player ranked in the same tier, I see legitimate arguments to be made for having them in any order. The list, which can be found below, is coloured-coded to show each tier.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 11.19.31 AM

As you can see, there are three prospects that have their own tiers: Nikita Scherbak, Jeremy Grégoire, and Jake Evans. The reasoning for this is because I couldn’t justify them to have lower than any of the players ranked below them, and (for Grégoire and Evans) I couldn’t justify them any higher.

 

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Prospect Pool

Right now, this isn’t a top prospect pool in the NHL. We could look back on it in 10 years and it very well could’ve had the best turnover, or it could’ve had the worst. That’s just the nature of it. But here’s a quick analysis of the prospect pool and how it compares to the rest of the league.

Strengths:

1. Depth – Not many teams sport an excellent junior scorer at in the bottom third of their top 30s. From 1 (Nikita Scherbak) to 21 (Daniel Audette) all the prospects have decent upside and/or a decent chance at making the NHL. Arguably the team’s most NHL ready prospect in ranked just 15th on the list due to his lack of overall upside. Depth is key to have, but based on what I’ve seen in my time of doing this, not nearly as important as high-end upside.

2. Right-Handed Defenders – Montreal is loaded from top to bottom with right-handed defenders, and that includes the NHL roster right down to the bottom of the depth chart: P.K. Subban, Jeff Petry, Tom Gilbert, Noah Juulsen, Magnus Nygren, Darren Dietz, Brett Lernout, Dalton Thrower, Morgan Ellis, and Nikolas Koberstein. While Noah Juulsen is the only prospect in the grouping with high-end upside, Subban and Petry are both locked up long term.

3. Versatile Forwards – This past season, the Hamilton Bulldogs tried both Sven Andrighetto and Charles Hudon at centre and both impressed. Sven Andrighetto and Jacob de la Rose play all three forward positions, Charles Hudon, Matt Bradley, and Mark MacMillan play left wing and centre, and Michael McCarron and Jake Evans play centre and right wing. Furthermore, Jeremy Grégoire has impressed in a few short stints are centre, while Daniel Audette saw some action on the wing. Beyond position versatility, Montreal boasts a large amount of excellent two-way forwards: Hudon, de la Rose, McCarron, Grégoire, Vejdemo, Carr, MacMillan, Bradley, and Addison.

Weaknesses:

1. High-end Upside – Scherbak is the only arguably high-end prospect, but he’s certainly not at the level of most team’s top prospects. While the Canadiens own great depth, they do not have the high-end upside. As past history shows us, it’s the prospects with high-end upside that typically make the NHL, even if they don’t reach what their talent level is indicative of.

2. Left-Handed Defenders – With Nathan Beaulieu graduated, only Jarred Tinordi, Mac Bennett, and Simon Bourque remain on the left side. None of these prospects have high-end upside and only seems to be a safe bet to make the NHL.

3. Goaltenders – While Mike Condon emerged as a force, Zach Fucale and Hayden Hawkey faltered. Even before this season, goaltender was still an issue in the prospect pool, but it’s tough to imagine that the Habs start focusing on drafting goaltenders with Carey Price in net.

 

Final Thoughts

This is the final result of hundreds of hours of watching, reading, and writing about hockey. These past few years have an absolute whirlwind. I went from casually watching hockey, to becoming fascinated in prospects, and eventually blogging about it. The past few years have been a tremendous learning experience. It’s incredible being in a such a fascinating game, where things never stop changing.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me out over the past few years, all of the viewers, and especially of those who have provided feedback!

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2 Responses to 2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: Prospect Awards & Final Thoughts

  1. Just found your site and really enjoyed reading your top 30 prospects last night and the recap today. Well done, I will return!

    dishonest john August 3, 2015 at 4:27 pm Reply
  2. Agreed. Really enjoyed reading up on your prospect list over the last two weeks. Thank you for taking the time to share.

    Jacques August 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm Reply

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