Latest Updates on Montreal Canadiens' Top Prospects
The Montreal Canadiens feature a solid group of top prospects waiting for their chance to don the red, white and blue.
Although their talent pool recently graduated two of the best young players in the game (Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher), there are still plenty of intriguing youngsters left in the system.
Here are the latest updates on the Montreal Canadiens' top prospects.
Although a top prospect, injuries to Montreal's defense have given Jarred Tinordi a chance to start the 2013-14 season in Montreal.
The 21-year-old has appeared in all but two games so far in 2013-14. He has averaged 13:43 in ice time and is a minus-1. He also has seven penalty minutes, while he has yet to record a point.
A hot start to the season could have forced coach Michel Therrien's hand into keeping the youngster in the lineup once the rest of the defense is healthy. Instead, Tinordi has looked his age and hasn't seemed to earn any trust from Therrien.
Although Tinordi has dished out a few nice hits, he has also turned the puck over in key situations too many times. His role as a physical, shut-down defenseman should not involve taking many risks on the breakout. There's no reason he should be coughing the puck up as often as he is.
Tinordi will need to clean up his game in a hurry if he wishes to keep a roster spot in Montreal. Douglas Murray is returning to health, while Nathan Beaulieu tries to impress as well.
Nathan Beaulieu is another young defenseman who is looking to make a name for himself while Montreal's depth is depleted.
He has appeared in two games so far in 2013-14. He recently spent Montreal's four-game road trip rotating in-and-out of the lineup with Tinordi. The 20-year-old has averaged just 11:08 of ice time and is pointless with a plus-1 rating.
Unfortunately, Beaulieu has also failed to impress thus far in the young season.
His defensive play has been abysmal. He has been weak on the puck and seems to really struggle making the short breakout pass. Like Tinordi, he has turned the puck over far too many times.
To his defense, Beaulieu is known as an offensive defenseman. He has indeed shown flashes of creativity on the second power-play pairing, but it has been overshadowed by his defensive lapses.
Coach Therrien seemed to completely lose trust in Beaulieu in the game against the Winnipeg Jets on October 25. The young defender saw very little ice time with the Canadiens holding on to a two-goal lead in the third and trying to preserve a shutout for Carey Price.
Beaulieu might get one or two more opportunities to impress before the Canadiens back end returns to health. He'll be back in Hamilton soon after if he doesn't clean up his game in a hurry.
Michael Bournival is yet another one of Montreal's top prospects who has gotten a shot with the big club due to injury—George Parros in this case.
Bournival currently ranks as Montreal's top center prospect (not including Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk), according to Hockey's Future. He is a versatile forward, however, with the ability to play on the wing as well.
The Shawinigan, Quebec, native has begun the 2013-14 season rotating between the fourth line and the press box. He has appeared in three games and has averaged 7:55 in ice time per night. He has five shots on goal and a plus-2 rating.
Bournival has shown bursts of talent during the brief opportunities he has been given. He is quick on the puck and has decent top-end speed. He isn't shy with the puck and looks comfortable in the opponent's end.
Montreal's fourth line is crowded and will become even more so when George Parros returns from his concussion. Bournival will likely spend most of the season rotating in-and-out of the lineup with Parros and Ryan White, although the recent injury to Max Pacioretty could give him more of an opportunity.
Michael McCarron impressed in his first pro training camp, but was never really considered to crack the Canadiens this year. Instead, he'll play the season with the London Knights in the OHL.
In his first seven junior games, McCarron has been decent, scoring a goal and adding four assists. He's also a plus-5 and has racked up 13 penalty minutes, the majority courtesy of a fight in his first OHL game.
McCarron hasn't had a wildly hot start, but he is still adjusting to a new team and league. The 6'5", 230-pound native of Macomb, Michigan, will spend the season learning under the tutelage of Dale Hunter and will even get the chance to compete for the Memorial Cup as hosts in May.
Expect last year's first-round pick to start putting up dominant numbers in the coming months as he gets acclimated to life in the Ontario Hockey League. There's also a very good chance that he'll suit up for Team USA at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships in December and January.
Charles Hudon was Montreal's fifth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Hockey's Future ranks him Montreal's top left-wing prospect.
The 5'8", 178-pound native of Alma, Quebec, is playing out his 19-year-old season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL. He'll also have the chance to represent Canada at the World Junior's, an honor he earned last season but was forced to withdraw due to injury.
The 2013-14 season has started off well for the high-scoring winger. Hudon already has four goals and seven assists in just 10 games.
He is Chicoutimi's top offensive weapon and will be used in all situations. He'll be given every opportunity to dominate the Quebec league this season.
Sebastian Collberg was the 33rd overall selection in the 2012 Entry Draft and currently ranks as Montreal's top right-wing prospect, at least according to Hockey's Future.
The native of Mariestad, Sweden, is a talented sniper whom Montreal fans are eager to see in the red, white and blue. That time could be sooner rather than later, but it won't be in 2013-14.
Collberg has returned to his native country and is currently playing for the Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Hockey League (the highest level of professional hockey in Sweden).
The 19-year-old has appeared in eight games with Frolunda. He has registered three assists in just over 14 minutes of ice time per game.
Collberg will also be counted on to lead Sweden on home ice at the World Juniors. He'll return to the tournament in which he scored a point per game at in 2013.
The Montreal Canadiens made Zachary Fucale the first netminder taken off the board at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with the 36th overall pick. His future as a Canadien remains a few years off, however, and he'll spend this season with Halifax of the QMJHL.
Fucale returns to a Mooseheads team that won their first Memorial Cup last May. In junior hockey, that typically means a rebuilding year. Halifax, however, has had a decent start to the year, as they sit at 8-6 over their first 14 games.
They have been led by the 18-year-old Fucale. The Rosemere, Quebec native owns a 2.60 goals against average and a .903 save percentage while facing over 27 shots per game.
His highlight of the season so far likely came on September 28 versus Baie-Comeau, where he stopped 10-of-10 shootout opportunities, as reported by Neate Sager at Buzzing the Net.
Fucale will have a tough time repeating last season's success on a mostly depleted Halifax Mooseheads squad. He'll have to be heroic if the Mooseheads stand any chance of repeating.
He'll also be under consideration to be Canada's top netminder at the World Juniors in Sweden.