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Top Shelf Prospects on the Habs


Commandant
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I suppose what I'm about to say is said with every "generation" I'll say of prospects, before they end up as busts, but does anyone else feel a real sense of optimism about the habs prospects right now? There's just so much depth in the system, especially after the las two drafts. And on top of that a lot of raw talent. Beaulieu Tinordi Hudon Collberg Dietz McCarron De La Rose Lehkonen Fucale Bozon Nygren Bournival Pateryn Thomas, hell even undrafted signings like Fornier. Wow, what a reserve, and I'm sure I missed a boat load.

I can't look at that group and not see a big portion making it to the show, Tinordi and Beaulieu are basically there. Just imagining the team around 2016 or 2017

Might be a bit of fun to speculate the lineup by that time if anyone's bored hahah

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I'm also very excited that Bergevin has decided to hold on to everyone,

I think that by signing Murray it shows MB's reluctance to move prospects for immediate help. (there were rumors of a deal with Vancouver, that no doubt involved one of our top prospects for Defensive help)

I am really excited for the next few years....but I just wish Bergevin was around before we lost Ryan McDonagh...

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Well, The Score Forecaster magazine - which, admittedlty, I tend to rate as crap - wrote this year that "no team is building better from within than the Habs." So no, you're not alone in thinking we're looking damned good for the future. Like others, though, I got burned by the Gainey Rebuild 1.0 and now take a wait-and-see approach to these projections. But it's hard to be TOO pessimistic given what we've got.

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Like others, though, I got burned by the Gainey Rebuild 1.0 and now take a wait-and-see approach to these projections. But it's hard to be TOO pessimistic given what we've got.

I understand this feeling, it's why I said "this is probably said about every generation of prospects" I remember Higgins komisarek chiphura d'agostini and Plekanec coming up through and feeling similarly, but this time I can't help but feel like it's different.

I feel like we not only have stronger prospects, we have more depth in our system. Not only that, this time around, I feel like we might have the proper staff in place to help these players mature the right way. Cautious optimism this time though!

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I find it interesting that Thomas is rated so highly. I think he's a good prospect and that we'll see him with the Habs at some point this year but he's such a boom or bust prospect that I'd have a hard time slotting him that high. He can't be a bottom six guy and with what Montreal has on the wing, he has just a very narrow window to prove himself. I haven't done my rankings yet but I think I'd have him closer to the back of the top-10. (Of course when it comes to HW's rankings, my thoughts don't matter as much as all the writers vote so perhaps Thomas winds up in the top-5...)

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I find it interesting that Thomas is rated so highly. I think he's a good prospect and that we'll see him with the Habs at some point this year but he's such a boom or bust prospect that I'd have a hard time slotting him that high. He can't be a bottom six guy and with what Montreal has on the wing, he has just a very narrow window to prove himself. I haven't done my rankings yet but I think I'd have him closer to the back of the top-10. (Of course when it comes to HW's rankings, my thoughts don't matter as much as all the writers vote so perhaps Thomas winds up in the top-5...)

What?

Everything I've read about him says his defense is ok, not great, but if Gallagher can play on the 3rd line then Thomas certainly can.

And as far as a narrow window... Gionta probably won't be back after this season. Briere probably won't be back the season after. Galchenyuk will probably move from the wing within the next 2 seasons. The prospects that can bring what Thomas brings aren't in the AHL yet. I'd say he has a fairly wide berth to the NHL at his current progression.

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What?

Everything I've read about him says his defense is ok, not great, but if Gallagher can play on the 3rd line then Thomas certainly can.

And as far as a narrow window... Gionta probably won't be back after this season. Briere probably won't be back the season after. Galchenyuk will probably move from the wing within the next 2 seasons. The prospects that can bring what Thomas brings aren't in the AHL yet. I'd say he has a fairly wide berth to the NHL at his current progression.

Most teams aren't ideally slotting a 5'9 guy on a third line wing. Gallagher's tenacity makes him passable (still far from ideal) for that role. Thomas is feisty given his size but he's no Gallagher. Also, Gallagher's all-around offensive game is better than Thomas who is a shooter above all else. That isn't to denigrate Thomas by any stretch - as I said, he's a good prospect - but his shot (and maybe his speed) is about the only thing he has over Gallagher so I don't think it can be stated that if he can play bottom six, so too can Thomas. That shot is a big asset though and that will get him a look this year barring injury (or lack of on the NHL team).

With regards to the narrow window statement, I had those exact three players in mind when I made the statement. One of those spots (in particular, Gionta's) will be filled by Leblanc unless he has another abysmal year. I expect the role will be for a bottom six player, his two-way game (and lack of waiver exemption) gives him the nod not to mention his first round pedigree - he'll get the longer leash to try to justify the selection. I also have to think that if Briere and Gionta both leave after their contracts are up, at least one of them will be replaced with a UFA.

That leaves the spot likely to be vacated when Galchenyuk goes to C if one of the other centres gets dealt. By the time that happens, Thomas will be contending with Collberg, Bozon, and Hudon (provided they all make a quality transition to the AHL game, two of which already have AHL experience) for that single spot. Before long, that spot will be Collberg's so that leaves a small window where Thomas could get his chance, the time between when Galchenyuk switches positions and when Collberg is NHL ready. Management seems to be talking up Collberg saying he's pretty close to ready now which could further reduce that window...or at least bump him to a not-so-ideal spot on the depth chart.

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Montreal doesn't play an ideal top six/bottom six system. The classic NHL line breakdown is:

First line: offensive power

Second line: Offensive power

Third line: shut down/defensive

Fourth line: grind/muck

Montreal last season and what's looking to be this season is playing:

First line: offensive power/second pairing

Second line: shut down/offensive power/top pairing

Third line: offensive power/easiest match-ups

Fourth line: defensive/grind/muck

So Gallagher on the third line meant he played against easier competition but still played a scoring role. When Prust or Eller was on the line it still meant you had someone to play two way and grind a bit but the purpose of that line was never to play top lines like the old Carbonneau/Gainey lines used to. That role is for Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque.

I've heard that while nothing is set in stone, Montreal will be looking to have Galchenyuk, Eller and Briere together. That would probably slot them on the third line with easier match-ups but be expected to score. That leaves Pacioretty/DD/Gallagher for the top line and Bourque/Plekanec/Gionta for the shut down line. If Gionta is not ready at camp, we'll probably see Prust with Plekanec and Bourque on his natural right.

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Most teams aren't ideally slotting a 5'9 guy on a third line wing. Gallagher's tenacity makes him passable (still far from ideal) for that role. Thomas is feisty given his size but he's no Gallagher. Also, Gallagher's all-around offensive game is better than Thomas who is a shooter above all else. That isn't to denigrate Thomas by any stretch - as I said, he's a good prospect - but his shot (and maybe his speed) is about the only thing he has over Gallagher so I don't think it can be stated that if he can play bottom six, so too can Thomas. That shot is a big asset though and that will get him a look this year barring injury (or lack of on the NHL team).

With regards to the narrow window statement, I had those exact three players in mind when I made the statement. One of those spots (in particular, Gionta's) will be filled by Leblanc unless he has another abysmal year. I expect the role will be for a bottom six player, his two-way game (and lack of waiver exemption) gives him the nod not to mention his first round pedigree - he'll get the longer leash to try to justify the selection. I also have to think that if Briere and Gionta both leave after their contracts are up, at least one of them will be replaced with a UFA.

That leaves the spot likely to be vacated when Galchenyuk goes to C if one of the other centres gets dealt. By the time that happens, Thomas will be contending with Collberg, Bozon, and Hudon (provided they all make a quality transition to the AHL game, two of which already have AHL experience) for that single spot. Before long, that spot will be Collberg's so that leaves a small window where Thomas could get his chance, the time between when Galchenyuk switches positions and when Collberg is NHL ready. Management seems to be talking up Collberg saying he's pretty close to ready now which could further reduce that window...or at least bump him to a not-so-ideal spot on the depth chart.

Also add Parros to those who are leaving. I could definitely see Leblanc on a 4th line with Moen and Prust. He certainly won't be called up for an offensive role at this point (if ever)

Injuries will hit this season (heck, Gionta might not be good to go for training camp), so Thomas will have the chance to prove he can score in the NHL long before Hudon, Collberg and Bozon (and Holland, and Andrighetto) even get a sniff.

And I don't think you're right about the UFA replacement for one of Briere/Gionta. The cap may be going up, but Subban and Eller are getting hefty raises after this season. Emelin probably is as well, possibly Diaz. The season after next Galchenyuk and Gallagher will be looking to cash out. Cap space could (and should) be tight for awhile.

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Also add Parros to those who are leaving. I could definitely see Leblanc on a 4th line with Moen and Prust. He certainly won't be called up for an offensive role at this point (if ever)

Injuries will hit this season (heck, Gionta might not be good to go for training camp), so Thomas will have the chance to prove he can score in the NHL long before Hudon, Collberg and Bozon (and Holland, and Andrighetto) even get a sniff.

And I don't think you're right about the UFA replacement for one of Briere/Gionta. The cap may be going up, but Subban and Eller are getting hefty raises after this season. Emelin probably is as well, possibly Diaz. The season after next Galchenyuk and Gallagher will be looking to cash out. Cap space could (and should) be tight for awhile.

Why write off Parros or another goon that fast ? Maybe the experience will be a sucess/bring in great results and both MT and MB could decide that it's an important aspect of their lineup... Who knows ?

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And I don't think you're right about the UFA replacement for one of Briere/Gionta. The cap may be going up, but Subban and Eller are getting hefty raises after this season. Emelin probably is as well, possibly Diaz. The season after next Galchenyuk and Gallagher will be looking to cash out. Cap space could (and should) be tight for awhile.

I just can't see the team looking to replace top six players internally in consecutive years. You're right that the cap should be tight (barring a major cap increase which depending on who you listen to, may or may not happen) but there still should be room to bring in a secondary forward to fill one of the voids and I think that will hurt Thomas' chance of getting a real look as that player would take the spot where he'd likely be otherwise. He may very well get a chance at the start of the year if Gionta can't go (though my early money would be on Dumont staying up and avoiding the waiver wire but that may change between now and October) but it would be a short stint. He'll get his injury recalls but in terms of there being a time where there's a regular spot in the lineup in the ideal role for him, I don't see there being one for too long, at least not as things stand (and obviously much can change between now and two years from now when it would become an issue).

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Why write off Parros or another goon that fast ? Maybe the experience will be a sucess/bring in great results and both MT and MB could decide that it's an important aspect of their lineup... Who knows ?

I think in 2 to 3 years habs are hoping Mccarron is ready for at least 3rd or 4th line, and that his size and physicality will somewhat negate the need for an enforcer only type. I think his upside is a 20 goal mean and tough 2nd/3rd liner. Also, they really like Connor Crisp, and are hoping he becomes our Chris neal. Our prospects look as good or better now then they ever have, evidence of that is how far down our expectation list leblanc has fallen the last year or so, remember, this guy looked pretty good a couple of years ago in 45 games with the habs. His problem is that we have so many wing prospects with higher offensive potential. I've watched Colberg play a few times, and I can't imagine him not evolving into a top 6 scoring winger, he has a devastating shot and seems to have that talent that only goal scorers do, of slipping into scoring position without anyone noticing (like Ryder, although he's a much better skater than Ryder). I think Galchenyuk is going to evolve into a superstar, not just a top line centre. I'm not alone, as hockey usa has invited him to olympic tryout, they really like him obviously. I haven't felt so high on a habs prospect since Koivu, who was approaching superstar status before the string of knee injuries reduced his game to just very good. Gallager I feel is not going to dominate, I think his game now is pretty much where it is going to be, which is fine, he's a legit top 2 line winger. And our defence, well, it might look a little scrappy until Emelin is healthy, but can you imagine in a year or 2 when Tinordi and Beaulieu Are playing in top 4? I'm confident that will be the case, alone with a Norris winner, maybe an aging Markov, and our list of defensive prospects is so long that there are certainly 2 or more who will be capable of top 6 minutes by then. In fact, I think in a year or 2 the habs may have to move a defenceman or 2 because of the logjam there. It seems too good to be true, but barring a total disaster, this team should be a powerhouse in 2 years.

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I find it interesting that Thomas is rated so highly. I think he's a good prospect and that we'll see him with the Habs at some point this year but he's such a boom or bust prospect that I'd have a hard time slotting him that high. He can't be a bottom six guy and with what Montreal has on the wing, he has just a very narrow window to prove himself. I haven't done my rankings yet but I think I'd have him closer to the back of the top-10. (Of course when it comes to HW's rankings, my thoughts don't matter as much as all the writers vote so perhaps Thomas winds up in the top-5...)

I agree about the point that "with what Montreal has on the wing" he's really in tough, especially at RW and what is already on the team and all the guys he's competing with, and the fact he's really gotta be top 9 or bust (i think top 6 has changed to top9).

That said, I don't take those things into account when ranking prospects... they are pure best player without looking at org depth.

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I think in 2 to 3 years habs are hoping Mccarron is ready for at least 3rd or 4th line, and that his size and physicality will somewhat negate the need for an enforcer only type. I think his upside is a 20 goal mean and tough 2nd/3rd liner. Also, they really like Connor Crisp, and are hoping he becomes our Chris neal. Our prospects look as good or better now then they ever have, evidence of that is how far down our expectation list leblanc has fallen the last year or so, remember, this guy looked pretty good a couple of years ago in 45 games with the habs. His problem is that we have so many wing prospects with higher offensive potential. I've watched Colberg play a few times, and I can't imagine him not evolving into a top 6 scoring winger, he has a devastating shot and seems to have that talent that only goal scorers do, of slipping into scoring position without anyone noticing (like Ryder, although he's a much better skater than Ryder). I think Galchenyuk is going to evolve into a superstar, not just a top line centre. I'm not alone, as hockey usa has invited him to olympic tryout, they really like him obviously. I haven't felt so high on a habs prospect since Koivu, who was approaching superstar status before the string of knee injuries reduced his game to just very good. Gallager I feel is not going to dominate, I think his game now is pretty much where it is going to be, which is fine, he's a legit top 2 line winger. And our defence, well, it might look a little scrappy until Emelin is healthy, but can you imagine in a year or 2 when Tinordi and Beaulieu Are playing in top 4? I'm confident that will be the case, alone with a Norris winner, maybe an aging Markov, and our list of defensive prospects is so long that there are certainly 2 or more who will be capable of top 6 minutes by then. In fact, I think in a year or 2 the habs may have to move a defenceman or 2 because of the logjam there. It seems too good to be true, but barring a total disaster, this team should be a powerhouse in 2 years.

I mostly agree with your assessments, and the future certainly looks bright.

A couple things: I wouldn't be surprised if McCarron does two years in London, and then another two in Hamilton, and hopefully by then he's ready for the big show. He has a lot to learn, and fouth line goon isn't where you want to put in young first round picks.

Also, I read all the time how sure people are that Galchenyuk is going to be a superstar, often within a year or two. I think he looks good, but where would he have been picked in this year's draft? He might peak around the 70-80 point mark, which isn't 'top 5 in the league' territory which I often see projected for him, and that would be just fine IMO. He'll be a solid offensive player, no doubt, but fans' hopes tend to be a little unrealistic. We almost certainly don't have a Crosby or Malkin on our hands.

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I mostly agree with your assessments, and the future certainly looks bright.

A couple things: I wouldn't be surprised if McCarron does two years in London, and then another two in Hamilton, and hopefully by then he's ready for the big show. He has a lot to learn, and fouth line goon isn't where you want to put in young first round picks.

Also, I read all the time how sure people are that Galchenyuk is going to be a superstar, often within a year or two. I think he looks good, but where would he have been picked in this year's draft? He might peak around the 70-80 point mark, which isn't 'top 5 in the league' territory which I often see projected for him, and that would be just fine IMO. He'll be a solid offensive player, no doubt, but fans' hopes tend to be a little unrealistic. We almost certainly don't have a Crosby or Malkin on our hands.

We almost certainly do not. Almost is the key, there. The sky is the limit and no one knows how good or how not good he will end up being. Fun to watch for a fan.

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I mostly agree with your assessments, and the future certainly looks bright.

A couple things: I wouldn't be surprised if McCarron does two years in London, and then another two in Hamilton, and hopefully by then he's ready for the big show. He has a lot to learn, and fouth line goon isn't where you want to put in young first round picks.

Also, I read all the time how sure people are that Galchenyuk is going to be a superstar, often within a year or two. I think he looks good, but where would he have been picked in this year's draft? He might peak around the 70-80 point mark, which isn't 'top 5 in the league' territory which I often see projected for him, and that would be just fine IMO. He'll be a solid offensive player, no doubt, but fans' hopes tend to be a little unrealistic. We almost certainly don't have a Crosby or Malkin on our hands.

Depends, is the one year younge Galchenyuk still injured in his draft year? If yes he's taken 5th in the draft after Jones IMO.

If not hurt, Galchenyuk would put up the season he was having in the OHL this year (before going to MOntreal) and gets taken second overall by Florida.

And no, we don't have a Crosby or Malkin, but Nathan MacKinnon isn't Crosby or Malkin either.

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Depends, is the one year younge Galchenyuk still injured in his draft year? If yes he's taken 5th in the draft after Jones IMO.

If not hurt, Galchenyuk would put up the season he was having in the OHL this year (before going to MOntreal) and gets taken second overall by Florida.

And no, we don't have a Crosby or Malkin, but Nathan MacKinnon isn't Crosby or Malkin either.

Let's just say that the two drafts are combined. Would people really draft Galchenyuk over Jones or Drouin? It's true that he was injured and that may have caused him to drop to third (but we also shouldn't compare his post-draft year to other players' pre-draft year).

And my point was that Galch isn't a Malkin or Crosby, not that MacKInnon is. He's just another promising young player with the potential to be an elite scorer, the kind that stocks the top of each draft class. If we had Seguin or Huberdeau there would be similar outlandish predictions for them at the expense of everyone else in the league. If Galchenyuk becomes a reliable 65-75 point guy I'll be happy.

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Let's just say that the two drafts are combined. Would people really draft Galchenyuk over Jones or Drouin? It's true that he was injured and that may have caused him to drop to third (but we also shouldn't compare his post-draft year to other players' pre-draft year).

And my point was that Galch isn't a Malkin or Crosby, not that MacKInnon is. He's just another promising young player with the potential to be an elite scorer, the kind that stocks the top of each draft class. If we had Seguin or Huberdeau there would be similar outlandish predictions for them at the expense of everyone else in the league. If Galchenyuk becomes a reliable 65-75 point guy I'll be happy.

Sad to say, but if Galchenyuk never becomes a PPG player, I don't believe the Habs will ever draft another PPG player then.

He is the most promising player we drafted since I was born. (1984)

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Guest Stogey24

Let's just say that the two drafts are combined. Would people really draft Galchenyuk over Jones or Drouin? It's true that he was injured and that may have caused him to drop to third (but we also shouldn't compare his post-draft year to other players' pre-draft year).

And my point was that Galch isn't a Malkin or Crosby, not that MacKInnon is. He's just another promising young player with the potential to be an elite scorer, the kind that stocks the top of each draft class. If we had Seguin or Huberdeau there would be similar outlandish predictions for them at the expense of everyone else in the league. If Galchenyuk becomes a reliable 65-75 point guy I'll be happy.

Galcheyuk's release and hands are at an elite level right now. You can see his sense of calm when he has the puck; which gives him excellent vision on top of everything else. It's the kids first season and he still became a threat when he had the puck. I would say he has a brighter future than Max Pac in every aspect of his game.
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Sad to say, but if Galchenyuk never becomes a PPG player, I don't believe the Habs will ever draft another PPG player then.

He is the most promising player we drafted since I was born. (1984)

I think he's capable of PPG seasons, but I'm not sure if I'd expect it out of him each year, à la Patrick Kane. Actually, if he reaches Kane's level of consistent production I'll be pleasantly surprised. Very few players can put up PPG numbers year in year out.

Galcheyuk's release and hands are at an elite level right now. You can see his sense of calm when he has the puck; which gives him excellent vision on top of everything else. It's the kids first season and he still became a threat when he had the puck. I would say he has a brighter future than Max Pac in every aspect of his game.

I definitely agree that he should be able to put up better numbers than Patches when he's in his prime. Something like 75 points versus 65 points. I just don't see a 75-80 points season out of Patches like many have been predicting.

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Let's just say that the two drafts are combined. Would people really draft Galchenyuk over Jones or Drouin? It's true that he was injured and that may have caused him to drop to third (but we also shouldn't compare his post-draft year to other players' pre-draft year).

And my point was that Galch isn't a Malkin or Crosby, not that MacKInnon is. He's just another promising young player with the potential to be an elite scorer, the kind that stocks the top of each draft class. If we had Seguin or Huberdeau there would be similar outlandish predictions for them at the expense of everyone else in the league. If Galchenyuk becomes a reliable 65-75 point guy I'll be happy.

He'd be right with Jones and Drouin IMO.

He's got potential to be a consistent 75-80 point guy with a few monster seasons above that.

Reaching that potential? Now thats the question.

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