Midseason CHL Prospects Review

Photo: Bob Tymczyszyn, Standard/QMI Agency

Michael McNiven has been one of the OHL’s top goaltenders this year, despite playing in the toughest division in the OHL. | Photo: Bob Tymczyszyn, Standard/QMI Agency

With all three CHL trade deadlines in the past, it’s time to examine how each of the Habs’ six CHL prospects have faired up until the halfway point of the season. No prospects were on the move this year, and all of the prospects’ teams appear to be middle-of-the-pack teams at best.

 

Jeremiah Addison
Draft: 207th overall, 7th round, 2015
W | 6’0″ 184 lbs | Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Stats: 39GP 15G 12A 27P 39PIMS
Summer Ranking: 29

Montreal took a gamble on Addison’s tremendous postseason performance versus Niagara last year, and right now it hasn’t paid off. In fact, Addison has been quite disappointing. The fourth-year junior sits well under a point-per-game despite playing on (what was) one of the OHL’s most explosive offences. However, the team’s top player, Travis Konecny, was moved at the trade deadline, which could make the second half a long one.

Despite owning a tremendous shot, Addison has just 15 goals and averages a mere 2.5 shots-on-goal per game. Simply not good enough. Addison has demonstrated improved playmaking ability, but it hasn’t translated to assists. While Addison continues to showcase decent ability around the goalmouth, especially on the powerplay, he doesn’t create chances. He’s a passenger on his line, which doesn’t bode well for his NHL potential.

At the halfway point, it’s quite clear that Addison needs to have a monstrous second half. Although he makes good plays at both ends of the puck, he’s clearly not dynamic or even a play driver at the OHL level. An overage season looks to be a strong possibility for Addison.

Grade: D

 

Daniel Audette
Draft: 147th overall, 5th Round, 2014
C | 5’8″ 176 lbs | Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
Stats: 28GP 13G 29A 42P 28PIMS
Summer Ranking: 21

After a season of stagnation, Audette finally appears on the right path this season. The explosive offensive threat has become a more well-rounded player, thanks to improving game-to-game consistency.

The incredible stretch of 14 points in six games to begin the season was clearly unsustainable, but he has kept himself well over a point-per-game with 42 points in 28 games. Perhaps what makes his production more impressive was that he missed over a month of action after being hit by a Simon Bourque shot.

Audette’s crafty playmaking and somewhat abrasive offensive style continue to impress. Meanwhile, he has continued to show goalscoring ability that was prevalent throughout last season. While he still remains fairly undisciplined, his two-way play has noticeably improved.

While Sherbrooke made just one moved at the trade deadline, they remain near the bottom of the league. With two tremendous talents up front in Audette and Guillaume Gauthier and a pair of tremendous defencemen in Jeremy Roy and Carl Neill, they should be higher up in the standings, but the depth in severely lacking.

Grade: B

 

Simon Bourque
Draft: 177th overall, 6th round, 2015
D | 6’0″ 184 lbs | Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Stats: 40GP 8G 22A 30P 30PIMS
Summer Ranking: 28

Bourque continues to see his role on Rimouski expand. Last year, Bourque was partnered with Jan Kostalek, the winner of the QMJHL Defender of the Year award. Without Kostalek or Samuel Morin as insulation, Bourque has been thrust into the number one role, often playing his offside.

Following a slow stretch of point production to begin the season, Bourque exploded for 15 points over a 12 game span. While he had just five points in the following 11 games, Bourque has since returned to form. With 30 points on the year through just 40 games, Bourque has improved his production significantly.

Bourque is a steady, silently effective player. This unassuming style has paid dividends for the 18-year-old defender this year. While he must continue to improve at both ends of the rink, he continues to showcase poise and excellent smarts.

The second half will be tough for the seventh place Rimouski Oceanic. Without Michael Joly, scoring goals will be tough down the stretch. They will need everyone to step up if they make another playoff run. Bourque will continue to be the team’s top defender, relied upon in all situations.

Grade: B+

 

Matt Bradley
Draft: 131st overall, 5th round, 2015
C | 5’11” 190 lbs | Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
Stats: 39GP 14G 14A 28P 23PIMS
Summer Ranking: 25

It has been a season marred by inconsistency for Bradley. Bradley missed the first few games of the season due to surgery for a benign tumour. He played fairly well in the immediate return. Toward the end of the October, the Tigers traded away their leading scorer, Trevor Cox, and Cole Sanford went down with injury. Bradley saw increased minutes and responded with goals in three straight games. In the month of November, Bradley tallied just five points, but responded with a strong second half of December and beginning of January.

While Bradley’s two-way play and tenacious style has been evident most games, his playmaking ability and offensive acumen has not. Many games he contributes very little on the offensive side of the puck, despite owning excellent skating ability and good hands.

However, there has been a turnaround in recent weeks. Bradley has been on a goalscoring tear since December 12th, scoring eight goals in 12 games, including a five game goalscoring streak.

The second half of the season will be massive for Bradley. In his Draft+1 year, the expectations for Bradley were higher. When given opportunity, he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. But those games demonstrate Bradley’s potential as a speedy, skilled, and robust player.

With Cole Sanford also now shipped off, Bradley will be a permanent fixture in the Tigers’ top six, where he be heavily relied up.

Grade: C-

 

Noah Juulsen
Draft: 26th overall, 1st round, 2015
D | 6’2″ 171 lbs | Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Stats: 32GP 4G 11A 15P 27PIMS
Summer Ranking: 2

While the production has not been there this season, Juulsen’s overall play has. It shouldn’t come as surprise, though, as Everett is where offence goes to die this season. With that said, Juulsen is the number one defenceman on the WHL’s best defensive teams.

After getting off to a torrential start with five points in the first four games, Juulsen has recorded just 10 in the other 27. Earlier into the season he was consistently creating chances and often driving the play offensively. Lately, he hasn’t been quite as noticeable offensively, but the flashes are brilliant.

In order to bolster the blue line, Everett acquired Brycen Martin, who has 24 points in 25 games with the Saskatoon Blades. Martin has tallied just six points in the 16 games since the trade, but has alleviated some of the pressure from Juulsen.

Where Juulsen’s most noticeable impact lies is in his own zone. The heady two-way defender plays physical brand of hockey, playing aggressive in corners and laying the body in open ice. His active stick, patience, and four-way mobility allow him to stymie plays before they even get dangerous.

Hopefully the second half of the season will get Juulsen’s production back on track.

Grade: B

 

Michael McNiven
Draft: 2015 undrafted, signed as a free agent
G | 6’1″ 212 lbs | Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Stats: 33GP, 2.88 GAA, 0.905 SV%, 12-10-8
Summer Ranking: N/A

There very well may not be a more exciting goaltender in the OHL than Michael McNiven. The 18-year-old netminder has gone from a Jr. A netminder to a top OHL goalie with an NHL contract in just two years.

This season, McNiven has been the backbone of a goal-starved Owen Sound team, routinely keeping them in games in which they do not belong. His combination of athleticism and energy make him a force in the net, even against some of the OHL’s top teams such as London and Erie.

Through an improved technical game, McNiven become more consistent and tougher to beat. His once weak glove hand now commands respect from the league’s top shooters, as he seems to make at least one highlight-reel glove per game.

Although McNiven’s statistics barely sit inside the top 10, they took a beating during a stretch of six games which saw McNiven face London and Erie twice, and Kitchener once. Although he didn’t win any of those games, he took Erie to a shootout thanks to numerous incredible saves and stole the show in Kitchener.

The second half certainly won’t get any easier for McNiven. In the division featuring the league’s top three teams, McNiven will be relied upon even more to bring his team to the playoffs.

Grade: A-

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 − 19 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Canadiens Re-Up Charles Hudon For One Year

Early this morning, the Canadiens announced that they signed Charles Hudon to a one-year, one-way contract ($800,000). Just like his fellow teammates Armia and Lehkonen, he avoided going to arbitration. His date set for August 2nd. This will be Hudon’s fourth season with the Montreal Canadiens having played his first professional season during the 2014-15 […]

Share Button

JOIN THE CONVERSATION