Montreal Canadiens: The Other Guys

One of Montreal’s top prospects, Josh Brook. (Photo: Canadiens)

The Canadiens’ prospect pool appears to be stronger and deeper than ever before, as was made evident at the recent WJHC. Poehling and Alexander Romanov had superb tournaments along with Cayden Primeau and Jesse Ylonen who both stood out as big game players for their respective countries. In addition, Nick Suzuki and Josh Brook who had strong, although less notable performances for a disappointing team Canada and finally Jacob Olofsson who had a rather quiet tournament for team Sweden.

Those seven are no doubt the top tier of the organization’s prospect rankings and hopefully pieces to a core that will eventually bring a championship back to Montreal. With the likes of Brendan Gallagher, who was selected 147th overall in 2010 and Andrei Markov, who went even later in 1998 at 162nd; they have both enjoyed tremendous success in the National Hockey League, proving the importance of later round selections. With that in mind, I’ve assembled what I see as the next seven players in the system who could surprise and have an impact on the team later down the road. The second tier, the other guys…

Allan McShane
Out of the ten pre-2018 draft rankings I checked, eight had McShane going in the 2nd round, with the other two being an early 3rd round selection. Concerns over his skating and consistency may have been the reason for the drop. Nonetheless, the Canadiens could come away with a real decent player in the 4th round, 97th overall, after a solid season in Oshawa where he flirted with a point per game all season, finishing with 65 points in 67 games played. Now in his 3rd season in the OHL, the Ontario native has already eclipsed his goal totals from last year and is again right around that PPG mark with 47 points in 46 games.

Scott Walford
Selected in the 3rd round, 68th overall in the 2017 draft, Walford will most likely find himself on the Laval blueline next season. Currently in his 4th season with Victoria of the WHL, the 6’02” defenseman has 36 points, including 8 goals in 48 games for the Royals. Numbers not so far off from the ones Josh Brook has been putting up playing in the same league; while Brook is soaking up all the attention, rightfully so I might add, as his game is much more complete than Walford’s. He plays a simple game, not much different than recently retired ex-Hab Josh Gorges, the BC native could enter the conversation as a bottom pairing guy in the next couple years.

Joel Teasdale
With 30 goals and 28 assists in 50 games played, Teasdale currently sits 20th in scoring in the QMJHL. Signed as an undrafted free agent prior to the start of the season, the Quebec native notched 32 goals in 65 games last season playing for the Armada. A gritty winger who often found himself on a line with Pierre Luc Dubois during their time together in Blainville-Boisbriand. Still considered a long shot to make an impact at the NHL level, his hard work and determination are his greatest assets in his hopes of lining up for the Canadiens in the near future.

Cole Fonstad
Listed at just over 160 pounds, it’s no secret that Fonstad doesn’t play a power game but has speed to spare. An asset that has become so valuable in the NHL, he uses his speed to create plays and get behind defenders; resulting in a large amount of breakaways, similar to current Hab Paul Byron. After recording 73 points in 72 games for Prince Albert of the WHL in his draft year, the Canadiens made him their 8th selection of the 2018 draft in the 5th round at 128th overall. He has since continued his strong play with a 53-point output in 52 games this season for the Raiders, including 22 goals.

Jake Evans
The oldest player on this list at 22, Evans was one of the last players selected in the 2014 NHL draft at 207th, late in the final round. He put together an impressive resume playing for Notre Dame over the next four years where he racked up 138 points in 158 games. Currently enjoying a decent rookie season as a pro with the Laval Rocket with 10 goals and 16 assists over 43 games played. A good skater who is tenacious on the puck and could eventually force his way into the NHL with so many qualities coaches are looking for.

Cale Fleury
In his first pro season with the Rocket this year, Fleury has 11 points with 4 of them being goals. He put up a combined 125 points in the two seasons playing in the WHL following his draft year, where Montreal selected him in the 3rd round, 87th overall.¬†With the amount of right handed defensemen in the organization, it won’t be easy for Fleury to earn himself a spot on the Canadiens over the next few years, but with the uncertainty surrounding Noah Juulsen it shows you really can’t have enough blue liners. Furthermore, depth at any position, especially on the back end, is a great asset when exploring the trade market.

Jordan Harris
A teammate of Canadiens’ goalie prospect Cayden Primeau at Northeastern University, Harris is a tremendous skater who plays a style that complements today’s NHL. It will be awhile before he enters the equation in Montreal, if at all, but with his skating ability he’s worth keeping an eye on. Selected in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft, 71st overall, he could be considered a long shot with a high reward potential. Harris has taken part in 25 games for the Huskies this season, registering a single goal and 7 assists with a +14 rating.

Honorable mentions go to forwards Cameron Hillis and Joni Ikonen, with the latter’s season just getting underway due to a knee injury he suffered in June. If not for the small sample size thus far, he could easily find himself high on the list. Additionally, ¬†defenseman Jarret Tyszka along with goaltenders Michael McNiven and Charlie Lindgren, both signed by the Canadiens as undrafted free agents.

 

What prospects are you most excited about? Who do you think will make the NHL down the road?

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One Response to Montreal Canadiens: The Other Guys

  1. I like Walford, Harris, Ikonen and Fleury.

    I believe all 4 will play in the NHL with Ikonen being in a top 9 role within 3 years.

    Both Hillis and Fonstad have tools to make it and McShane an interesting prospect that can hopefully improve his skating as that is probably the only question for him.

    John February 7, 2019 at 5:57 pm Reply

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