UPDATE: 2016 Draft Prospects

The Montreal Canadiens drafted six players at the 2016 draft in Buffalo. While they are all young with lots of room for development and improvement, the first three definitely stand out. Over halfway through the 2016-17 season, let’s take a look at how the Habs’ newest prospects are performing.

2016 Draft

Mikhail Sergachev (1st Round – 9th Overall)

Mikhail Sergachev was selected 9th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. As of now, Sergachev is the 32nd highest scoring defenceman in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Do not let that number alarm you, as he has played less games than most above him. Sergachev earned a roster spot in Montreal to start the regular season where he played in three games and was a healthy scratch for others before being returned to Windsor. Since his return, the left-shot defenceman is scoring at the exact rate he was in his draft year with 0.85 points per game.

Sergachev has a higher plus/minus rating than he did last season (+16 so far this year, +15 in 2015-16) and he will definitely set an OHL career high in penalty minutes this season. To date, Sergachev has three multi-point games in his last six played. It is interesting to note that Olli Juolevi (selected 5th overall by Vancouver), who with Sergachev were considered the top two blue liners in the draft is performing offensively at the same rate.

Will Bitten (3rd Round – 70th Overall)

After trading away the second round pick, William (“Will”) Bitten was the next selection to put on a Canadiens jersey – coming in the third round. Bitten played for the Flint Firebirds last season, but his trade request was granted and he was sent to the Hamilton Bulldogs before the start of the 2016-17 season.

Of the Habs prospects selected in the 2016 draft, Bitten is the leader in points among the group. With 17 goals and 20 assists in 41 games, Bitten is offensively producing at a 0.90 point per game rate. Only 41 games into the season, the third year OHL’er has already set a career high for plus/minus (+6), penalty minutes (34), powerplay goals (7) and faceoff wins (187).

Last season, Bitten had a 40.1% success rating in the faceoff circle. So far this season he has shown a slight improvement – winning 42.8% of all draws he has taken.

Heading into his next game, Bitten has points in 6 of his last 7 games with three-3 point games in the same time frame.

Victor Mete (4th Round – 100th Overall)

Victor Mete – the lucky 100th overall selection, has been probably one of the more interesting picks in this draft and is becoming evidently a fourth round steal.

The 2016 Memorial Cup champion was unfortunately cut from Team Canada just prior to the 2017 World Juniors but he isn’t letting that get him down. In only 36 games, Mete has set career highs in goals (11), doubled his previous career high in powerplay goals with 5, and is on pace to destroy his previous OHL career high in points by 15.

Victor Mete is interestingly enough has more points than the first defenceman taken in the 2016 draft and Knights teammate Olli Juolevi.

Mete’s London Knights are in a three-way tie for first in both the Western Conference and the entire Ontario Hockey League.

Casey Staum (5th Round – 124th Overall)

Casey Staum has lots of room to develop, but for now the left-shot defenceman has 11 assists in 32 games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL).

Staum has been more of a defensive player on this team than offensive. With 22 shots in 32 games, it’s clear that Staum is in more of a defensive role this year. He has been hovering around an even plus/minus rating with a -1 to date on a strong Fighting Saints team that is tied for 2nd in the USHL.

In his last 10 games, Casey has 5 assists, 6 penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating.

Michael Pezzetta (6th Round – 160th Overall)

With 11 points in 31 games, Pezzetta hasn’t been landing his name on the scoresheet so much but he has been the Sudbury Wolves’ main faceoff man. While he is second on the team with 293 faceoff wins,his 51.8% success rate makes him the only player on the team with more than 2 faceoff attempts that has won more than 50%.

Arvid Henrikson (7th Round – 187th Overall)

The Habs management went out of their way to make a deal with the Winnipeg Jets and trade into the 7th round in the 2016 draft. This last second trade obviously meant that the Canadiens had their eyes on Henrikson. Looking to be a long term project, it is exciting to see what they had their eyes on.

The big defenceman played 2 games this season with AIK’s main team in Allsvenskan in Sweden which is their “2nd tier” league. For the majority of the season, he has played in AIK’s system on their J20 team where he has a goal and 2 assists in 28 games.

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