The Most Exciting Part of Each Top Montreal Canadiens Prospect's Game
The Montreal Canadiens feature a deep prospect pool ripe with talent. The Habs have drafted well in the past few years, and the future of the organization looks bright.
Forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher graduated from the prospect class to the pro ranks last season, yet there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about the next generation.
Here is a look at a few of the Montreal Canadiens top prospects and the most exciting part of each of their game.
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2013 (36th overall)
2012-13 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (CHL)
Projected 2013-14 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (CHL)
The most exciting part of his game: His poise and maturity
When thinking about exciting attributes, the words poise and maturity usually don't stand out. But when describing an 18-year-old netminder, adding those qualities to elite talent makes you the first goalie selected in the NHL entry draft.
Zachary Fucale is as calm as they come between the pipes. He plays his angles well and forces shooters to be at their best to beat him.
"[Fucale’s] got good net coverage. The one thing about him is he’s so poised—he’s always in the right position, very economical in his movement. Very rarely do you find him out of position and he essentially forces shooters to take a perfect shot."
He also wins games. A lot of them.
Fucale had a phenomenal 2012-13 season which saw him post a 45-5-2 regular season record before losing just once in the QMJHL playoffs and backstopping the Halifax Mooseheads to the 2013 Memorial Cup.
He will return to junior for the upcoming season and is a top candidate to lead Canada in goal at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships.
Drafted: 1st Round, 2011 (17th overall)
2012-13 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)
Projected 2013-14 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)
The most exciting part of his game: His ability to quarterback the power play
Nathan Beaulieu is an offensive defenseman capable of creating scoring chances and putting the puck in the net himself.
The 2012-13 season was his first playing professional hockey and Beaulieu impressed, scoring seven goals and 24 assists. His 31 points tied for a team-high and he was named the Hamilton Bulldogs most valuable player. Beaulieu also added a pair of assists in six games while getting his first taste of the NHL.
Stephane Cooper at Habs Eyes on the Prize calls Beaulieu's skill set "top level" while noting he "boasts a rare blend of size (6'1", 184 pounds), skating and puck skills."
If the end of last season was any indication, then it would appear that Jarred Tinordi has the inside track to be the Canadiens' sixth defenseman. However, it shouldn't be long before Beaulieu becomes an everyday fixture in the red, white and blue.
Drafted: 1st Round, 2010 (22nd overall)
2012-13 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)
Projected 2013-14 Team: Montreal Canadiens
The most exciting part of his game: His hitting ability
At 6'7", 205 pounds, Jarred Tinordi is a very big man, and he uses that size to play an excitingly physical brand of hockey. He likes to hit, and doesn't shy away from dropping the gloves, either. One look at this highlight tape of his junior career proves that.
While hitting is the most exciting part of Tinordi's game, he is much more than that as a defenseman. He uses his size well to dominate opponents in front of the net and in the corners. HockeyFutures.com also points out he "possesses multiple talents that cannot be learned, such as an NHL pedigree."
Scouts like what Tinordi brings to the ice, but most importantly, so does Habs coach Michel Therrien. With Alexei Emelin out for the season, it was Tinordi who was called on to fill the void on defense during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Emelin is unlikely to be completely healthy come puck drop on October 1, and with a solid training camp, Tinordi should dress in the Canadiens opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2012 (33rd overall)
2012-13 Team: Frolunda HC (Sweden)
Projected 2013-14 Team: Frolunda HC (Sweden) / Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)
The most exciting part of his game: His shot
Sebastian Collberg is a sniper. The Swedish winger features an NHL-ready wrist shot and release that few others his age possess.
HockeysFuture.com calls Collberg's shot "elite," one that can be "released in a hurry with great accuracy and velocity."
The 5'11" right-winger can also skate. Ross MacLean of the International Scouting Services (via The Hockey Writers) says "Collberg is seemingly effortless out of the blocks and has very good top end speed. He is also quite agile on his skates."
His offensive talents were on full display at the 2013 World Juniors where he scored six points (four goals) in six games for Team Sweden while leading them to a silver medal. He also pulled off this beautiful game-winning move in the semi-finals shootout against Russia.
It seems unclear whether Collberg will suit up for Hamilton or Frolunda HC this season, but look for him to lead Sweden on their quest for gold at the World Juniors.
Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 (25th overall)
2012-13 Team: US National Development Team
Projected 2013-14 Team: London Knights (CHL)
The most exciting part of his game: His combination of size and skill
Michael McCarron is a big boy. Standing 6'5", the Macomb, Michigan native already weighs in at 229 pounds, and still has room to grow. But just being big doesn't make you a first-round pick in the NHL.
McCarron has that coveted combination of size and skill that NHL general managers salivate over. He can use his size to fend off defenders while working down low, but he is also blessed with touch around the net.
Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting, says (via NHL.com), "[McCarron's] got soft hands for a big man and complements that with good puck handling and skills". Marr also comments that he features a "wicked shot".
McCarron recently decided to play for the London Knights of the OHL this season, and he should also represent the United States at the World Junior Hockey Championships.
The Montreal Canadiens could certainly use a big body with skill to add to their top-six forwards. If McCarron develops like the Habs hope he will, he could be a very exciting player to watch for in the near future.
Drafted: 5th Round, 2012 (122nd overall)
2012-13 Team: Chicoutimi Sagueneens (CHL)
Projected 2013-14 Team: Chicoutimi Sagueneens (CHL)
The most exciting part of his game: His offensive talents
Charles Hudon simply knows how to score. In 178 career junior games, the 5'11" native of Boisbriand, Quebec has scored an impressive 197 points (78 goals and 119 assists).
Hockey's Future sees offensive skill in the smallish forward:
The talented winger is blessed with superior hockey sense, a great vision and quick hands which allow him to control the play in the offensive zone and create scoring opportunities for him and his line-mates.
Equally as impressive is his ability to play in his own zone—Hudon has a plus-69 rating over his QMJHL career. Team Canada brass took notice of Hudon's all-around play last season and he was named to the 2013 World Juniors roster before a back injury forced him off the roster.
Hudon will likely spend the 2013-14 season developing in the QMJHL and has a good shot to represent Canada at the 2014 World Juniors.