Over the past few days, there has been some talk about the latest edition of The Hockey News regarding prospect rankings. The consensus on Habs Twitter was that certain prospects were ranked too low and some were not ranked at all which ruffled some feathers. Here are the rankings below:
- Nick Suzuki, C/RW – Guelph (OHL) – 22nd/100
- Ryan Poehling, C – St. Cloud State (NCHC) – 38th/100
- Alexander Romanov, D – CSKA (KHL) – 45th/100
- Cayden Primeau, G – Northeastern (Hockey East) – 60th/100
- Noah Juulsen, D – Laval (AHL) – 99th/100
- Josh Brook, D – Moose Jaw (WHL) – Unranked
- Jesse Ylonen, RW – Pelicans (Liiga) – Unranked
- Cale Fleury, D – Laval (AHL) – Unranked
- Jacob Oloffson, C – Timra (SHL) – Unranked
- Joni Ikonen, C/RW – KalPa (Liiga) – Unranked
(Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Victor Mete were not considered for this list).
The biggest issue among the fan base was that Josh Brook deserved to be among the the top 5 Canadiens prospects and among the top 100 NHL prospects. You’d think that the player that was tied for first in WHL scoring among defensemen (better PPG than Dawson Davidsson) would at least crack the top 100 let alone be high on that list.
While The Hockey News got most of it right, it doesn’t do justice to some of the upcoming Canadiens prospects. Just this past week, many of the Canadiens prospects received significant honours and hardware. Ryan Poehling was named to the NCHC All-Pro Team.
Nick Suzuki received smartest player in the West (OHL) along with second best shot and third best stick-handling abilities. Cayden Primeau racked up some goaltending honours, being named to the Hockey East All-Pro team as well as earning himself the third stars award and much more.
Josh Brook received best defensemen in the East (WHL) as well as being named to the first team all-stars. Scott Walford made the West second team all-star lineup. This is just the tip of the iceberg for these prospects which a few will see pro-level hockey within the next couple of months.
My thoughts: They got most of the list right. The biggest error was not having Brook higher on the list. He may easily be the Canadiens second best prospect behind Suzuki with his top pair potential and great offensive abilities.
I would have thought Jake Evans could be closer to it but he may be the 11th guy. Another thought that came up was Primeau might have been too low but when you see who is ahead, whether goalies or skaters, you’d understand. I do expect him to climb the ladder as he is one of the biggest pillars on that Northeastern team that has a chance to win every night.
Remind you of someone on the Habs? Juulsen may have been a bit overrated by their crew as he has regressed a little with a severe face injury. Alexander Romamov and Ryan Poehling are ranked as well. Other than Brook, there is really no issue with this list.
Next edition’s top 100 could have the following contending for a spot:
Jordan Harris, D – Northeastern (NCAA)
For a freshman to play on the top pair for a strong school in the NCAA is not luck based. From some discussions I’ve had with some NU analysts, Harris is very raw as an athlete but he does so many things well already that his progression is healthy. His three zone play is already well balanced and manages to make ridiculous rushes look easy. He’s also beginning to make great strides in the defensive zone.
Scott Walford, D – Victoria (CHL)
From defensive defensemen to two-way defensemen, Scott Walford evolved his game into a more modern one. He started being a bigger presence on offense and managed to produce 15 more points in 5 less games which I found remarkable. He’s also a 6’2, left-handed defensemen which is what the Canadiens need the most. Expect him to play in Laval next year.
Allan McShane, C – Oshawa (OHL)
McShane is a fourth-round pick that elevated his game around the new year and made the most of his increased responsibilities. He finished the year with 69 points in 62 games, recording 4 more points in 7 less games. However, the biggest improvement in McShane’s game was his goal differential.
He scored 20 goals in his 2017-2018 season and scored 34 goals in his 2018-2019 season. A 14 goal increase. There’s no secret that he possesses a lethal shot. It’s just he needed to have confidence in it. One of my favourite players in the pipeline.
Joel Teasdale, LW – Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
A pillar for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada under then coach Joel Bouchard, Teasdale racked up great numbers on a less skilled team. This year, however, was a rebuilding season and saw Teasdale traded from the Armada to the powerhouse Huskies.
His numbers skyrocketed with a 42 point production in just 29 games played, surpassing his career high of 65 points in 2017-2018 with 80 points in 2018-2019. Teasdale is a hard working, skilled winger that may be a dependable player for Bouchard in Laval when he turns pro in 2019.