2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #30-#26

Welcome back to my third annual top-30 Habs prospects rankings. If you haven’t already, please read the Ranking Methodology.

This grouping of the list features a solid mid-season addition for the IceCaps, two intriguing projects from the 2016 draft class, the oldest player on the list, and a classic case of “how is this prospect not a big scorer?”

Series Navigation:
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: Ranking Methodology
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #30-#26
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #25-#21
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #20-#16
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #15-#11
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #10-#6
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #5-#1
2016 Top 30 Habs Prospects: Prospect Awards and Parting Thoughts

All AHL and CHL statistics are courtesy of Prospect-Stats.com.

 

#30) Max Friberg
Last Ranking: N/R
Draft: 2011,143rd, 5th round (Acquired via trade)
Position: RW | Shoots: R
Birthdate: 1992-11-20 | Plce of Birth: Skövde, SWE
Team: San Diego Gulls/St. John’s IceCaps (AHL)
Height: 5’10” | Weight: 201

GPGAPPrim. PP/GPPrim. P/GPSOGSH%SOG/GP
67112536240.5370.3581229.016%1.821
With Gabriel Dumont gone to Tampa Bay organization, Max Friberg appears to the heir to the "heart and soul scorer" throne. | Photo: Colin Peddle, St. John's IceCaps

With Gabriel Dumont gone to Tampa Bay organization, Max Friberg appears to the heir to the “heart and soul scorer” throne. | Photo: Colin Peddle, St. John’s IceCaps

After a pair of 40-point AHL seasons, Friberg appeared to take the next step in the first half in San Diego. However, a trade to the IceCaps caused his 0.68 PPG to plummet to 0.45.

Overview: An energy forward with a 40+ playmaking ability…Stickhandling and shooting are below replacement level (35)…Defensive play (anticipation and forechecking) is his best trait.

Friberg is a pesky forward with a relentless motor. His intelligence, hand-eye, and speed on the forecheck make him a threat to create turnovers. He’s also quite successful in puck battles with his body positioning and strength. In the defensive zone, few IceCaps players were better at shutting down lanes.

While in possession, Friberg is hit-or-miss. He’s an average possession player, but he did contribute a 2.8 GF%-Rel. Not a gifted stickhandler, and in fact struggles to beat defenders. However, he’s surprisingly effective on breakaways. Friberg has good hand-eye coordination, which allows him to occasionally finish in tight.

However, Friberg is not a natural goalscorer, and rather spectacularly misses golden opportunities. Friberg is best a short-range playmaker who opens up lanes as a distributor. But he’s not particularly noteworthy there, either.

Friberg is most likely nearing the end of his development. Getting a similar level of contribution from Friberg as the IceCaps did from the recently-departed Gabriel Dumont would be a success. There’s still time for Friberg to take the next step to become an NHLer, but I remain unconvinced. He could become an energy fourth liner if he improves his offensive consistency.

Ranking Explanation: Although Friberg has a more proven scoring record than those above him, I’m more confident in their tools being more adequate for the NHL. Friberg lacks a tool such like Mark MacMillan’s skating or Jeremiah Addison’s shot.

 

#29) Arvid Henrikson
Last Ranking: N/R
Draft: 2016, 187th, 7th round
Position: D | Shoots: R
Birthdate: 1998-02-23 | Place of Birth: Stockholm, SWE
Team: AIK J18 | League: J18 Elit/J18 Allsvenskan
Height: 6’4.5” | Weight: 209

GPGAPPrim. PP/GPPrim. P/GPSOGSH%SOG/GP
J18 Elit (Regional)2141620110.9520.552913.7931.381
J18 Allsvenskan (National)15281040.6670.2672110.5%1.4
One of the most fascinating prospects the Canadiens possess, Henrik is a defence-first player who morphs in a forward on the PP. | Photo: Vincent Ethier.

One of the most fascinating prospects the Canadiens possess, Henrikson is a defence-first player who morphs in a forward on the PP. | Photo: Vincent Ethier.

One of the most intriguing prospects the Canadiens organization offers. Trevor Timmins stated that Christer Rockstrom was begging them to obtain another selection to snag Henrikson. Henrikson spent the year in the J18 levels, first in the regional Elit, then in the national Allsvenskan.

Overview: A defenceman best without possession…Projects as perhaps a 45+ skater, at least in terms of agility…Puck skills are severely limited at this point, yet somehow become average when used at forward.

Henrikson is a sizeable defender with a thirst for destruction. He often using his decent mobility to aggressively close the gap and crunch opposing forwards. As a decently proactive defender, Henrikson closes lanes before passes happen and maintains good positioning.

A clumsy first few steps turn into a smooth stride, lacking in speed. Decent four-way mobility combines his with positioning and reach to defend well off the rush.

Although Henrikson’s puck skills are lacking, his head is always up. He locates the correct option, but can’t always reach the target. He lacks a big shot and in-zone vision, but when used as a forward on the powerplay suddenly he can complete passes and lead the rush.

A long-term project, Henrikson clearly has decent tools. His combination of feet and size is desirable. He doesn’t spend much time in the defensive zone, either. His puck skills will need improvement, but the necessary foundation is there.

Ranking Explanation: An intriguing long-term project, but that’s exactly what keeps him this low. I’m unsure that I see good enough puck skills to become an NHLer, and from a developmental standpoint he’s a year behind. His age and potential give an edge over Friberg. Given time, who knows what could happen.

 

#28) Michael Pezzetta
Last Ranking: N/R
Draft: 2016, 160th, 6th round
Position: LW/C | Shoots: L
Birthdate: 1998-03-13 | Place of Birth: Toronto, ON
Team: Sudbury Wolves | League: OHL
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 205

GPGAPPrim. P.P/GPPrim. P/GPSOGSH%SOG/GP
64101828210.4380.3281297.752%2.016
Named an alternate captain halfway through the season, Pezzetta was the heart and soul of the Sudbury Wolves this season. | Photo: Tyler Brownbridge, WIndsor Star.

Named an alternate captain halfway through the season, Pezzetta was the heart and soul of the Sudbury Wolves this season. | Photo: Tyler Brownbridge, WIndsor Star.

Don’t be fooled by the numbers, Michael Pezzetta was a key piece of the Sudbury Wolves this season. The low-scoring Wolves certainly hindered Pezzetta’s point totals, as did his complementary style.

Michael Pezzetta

Overview: An “ultra-physical” forward with skating that projects around 50…More of a playmaker than goalscorer, but both are more than likely below average at the NHL level.

Pezzetta plays an up-tempo, aggressive game. He continually initiates seismic collisons, sometimes hurting his team in the process. This energy transfers to his forechecking and backchecking, both of which are above-average. As a defensive player, he locates opportunities to help and does so effectively.

There’s skill in Pezzetta. Although he’s not an instinctual scorer, his shot power is quite good. More of a playmaker, Pezzetta consistently locates targets, and will even mix in a high-skill pass. Below-average stickhandling ability limits his one-on-one moves, but he has moments of dominance down low and around the net.

Pezzetta’s skill is really hit-or-miss. His skills are masked because of his style, situation, and point in development. Going forward, he need will to unlock the skill at a more consistent basis.

Ranking Explanation: Pezzetta could easily rocket up this list next season. I gave him the edge over Henrikson as I’m more comfortable analyzing prospects from the OHL than the J18 level. Pezzetta’s inconsistency, lack of upside, and lack of a scoring record that hasn’t reached Mark MacMillan’s level or even Jeremiah Addison’s, keeps him low for now.

 

#27) Mark MacMillan
Last Ranking: 22nd
Draft: 2010, 113th, 4th round
Position: L | Shoots: RW/C
Birthdate: 1992-01-23 | Place of Birth: Penticton, BC
Team: St. John’s IceCaps | League: AHL
Height: 6’0” | Weight: 172

GPGAPPrim. PP/GPPrim. P/GPSOGSH%SOG/GP
6261117150.2740.2425411.111%0.871
Mark MacMillan made it 2-0 for the home team (Photo: IceCaps)

Perhaps Mark MacMillan’s offensive skills have improved as much expected, but he could still be an NHLer with his smarts and speed. | Photo: Colin Peddle, St. John’s IceCaps

A quick pit-stop in the ECHL turned into a statistically-underwhelming season for last year’s NCHC Defensive Forward of the Year. Perhaps the production stats are a bit misleading because the eye-test said MacMillan was consistently solid. However, he was one of the worst IceCaps in terms of GF, coming away with -6.o18 GF%-Rel and his CF% in games I tracked was poor.

Overview: A 55+ skater with 60 top-end speed…Quality defensive player in the traditional sense with excellent forechecking ability…50 stickhandler, but falls short due to 35, if not lesser, shooting and 40+ playmaking.

MacMillan’s 200-foot aggression makes him a constantly noticeable. He handles tough match-ups, but often at the expense of offensive chance creation. He proactively shuts down lanes, aggressively hounds the puck carrier, and creates turnovers with anticipation. Although that wasn’t evident with the IceCaps this season, I believe that he could turn that around with better linemates and an increased role.

With great top-end speed, MacMillan loves to cut out wide and then charge the net. He’s also flashes good hands from time to time, allowing him to confuse defenders and occasionally diversify his attack. However, he’s fairly predictable if he has no passing option, and can be shut down by more coordinated defenders.

Playmaking is MacMillan’s offensive calling card, as he consistently demonstrates solid puck distribution skills. From time-to-time he will add a high-skill pass, but he typically prefers short, quick passes. He’s not a great shooter, and in fact he’s below-average in the AHL, pointing to mediocre, if not lesser, in the NHL.

MacMillan has been on the radar for a long time now, being a 2010 draft choice. With six years of development under his belt, it’s time for MacMillan to take the next step. His current abilities fall short of the NHL, but a few tweaks could make him an average fourth liner down the line.

Ranking Explanation: Although I’ve been a fan of MacMillan for quite some time, he’s a tough player for me to project. He’s a low-upside prospect, and his age also works against him. The skating ability gives him the edge over Friberg and Pezzetta, but his poor numbers really makes me question his true value as a defensive player.

 

#26) Jeremiah Addison
Last Ranking: 29th
Draft: 2015, 207th, 7th round
Position: LW | Shoots: L
Birthdate: 1996-10-21 | Place of Birth: Brampton, ON
Team: Ottawa 67’s | League: OHL
Height: 6’0” | Weight: 183

GPGAPPrim. PP/GPPrim. P/GPSOGSH%SOG/GP
66272956430.8480.65218015.0%2.727
| Photo: Ottawa 67's

With a solid four-game AHL debut this past season, Jeremiah Addison will look to make the professional level full-time this upcoming year. | Photo: Ottawa 67’s

Although Jeremiah Addison failed to take a significant leap forward that was most likely required, he still had a good season. The gritty winger picked up 27 goals and made improvements to his playmaking and overall effectiveness. Despite these changes, he had an average impact on GF, with a 49.5 GF%.

Jeremiah Addison

Overview: Intelligent, relentless winger blessed with a 50+ wrist shot, 45 skating, and 50+ defensive play…Knack for being in the right position, but 35 finishing rate and playmaking severely handicaps offensive upside.

A classic case of “how does this guy only have 56 points?” Addison is a complementary grinder with flashes of being a play driver. He positions himself like second line scorer on the ice, yet fails to convert on the majority of chances he gets. To complicate this matter, Addison’s shot release is among the best in the OHL, but accuracy, shot selection, and volume all lack.

Although passable by OHL standards, Addison projects as a mediocre playmaker at the professional level. He doesn’t have the ability to create space with his skating or hands, and he rarely find options anywhere above the difficulty of medium.

With above-average skating for the OHL, Addison is an intense forechecker and difficult match up. He plays a true grinding game, intentionally locking himself into boards in order to win battles. With the puck, he finds another gear and is difficult to dispossess. He’s also an effective net front presence, but perhaps his size could limit that ability at the NHL level.

In this battle of scouting “feel” versus statistics, the statistics won. The odds are stacked against Addison as a below-PPG fourth year junior, even despite the good vibes that he will consistently give.

Ranking Explanation: Addison’s smarts and positioning, despite his lack of finish, point to a player that has could become an NHLer. However, his lack of scoring and late-birthdate stacks the odds against him. He’s younger than MacMillan, and his shot is better, which ultimately led to me giving him the slight edge.

 

Check back on Wednesday for prospects ranked #25-#20!

NOTES:

  1. This list, just like every other installment, is for entertainment purposes only. The information in each prospect profile is far more valuable than the actual ranking.
  2. The information is always “in my opinion.”
  3. I am neither a professional scout nor an amateur scout. In fact, I hesitate to use the word scout at all. (I’m an amateur amateur scout, I guess). Watching the future of the NHL is my passion, not my job.
  4. Feel free to send me your questions, comments, concerns, or complaints in the comments, on twitter (@MitchLBrown) or email (mitchbrown31@gmail.com). Or just tell me I suck. I don’t care.
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