This is the first installment on what intends to be a bi-weekly overview of the prospects of the Montreal Canadiens from across North America and around the globe. While Brian Larose, a fellow Habsworld Collaborator, conducts a weekly recap of the Canadiens and the Bulldogs, this running series of articles intends to take a more in depth look at prospects that are not covered in his weekly recaps. I have gathered my information from a number of sources. First and foremost the excellent website “Habs Prospects” at http://habsprospects.hockeyhq.net/ was an immense help in gathering information for this article. Also important were the Montreal Canadiens website, the respective league websites for the various players, as well as websites such as TSN and Sportsnet. This series of articles therefore will not look at the Bulldogs prospects but will focus more on the CHL, NCAA, the USHL and the Russian Elite league.
While things are continuing to look gloomy for the Canadiens at the moment there are some positive stories coming from the prospects end of things. This past week on December 4, Canadiens prospect Max Pacioretty of the University of Michigan Wolverines was named rookie of the month for November in the NCAA. This is quite an honour for the freshman forward that has collected 18 points in 18 games for the Wolverines. Max also has a very impressive +14 plus/minus rating. It was also a double dose of good news for Pacioretty this past week as he was also invited to play for team USA at the upcoming World Junior Championships. On a more disappointing note from the NCAA David Fischer and Ryan MacDonagh were passed over during the team USA selection. The Canadiens organization has high hopes for these two first round sections, however they will have to continue to improve and grow in the NCAA for the time being.
In CHL news Yannick Weber led the way for his Kitchener Rangers this past weekend. On Saturday he helped his team with 2 assists and was named 3rd star in a victory over Kingston. On Sunday Weber added 2 goals to his season tally giving him 15, in yet another win, this time over the London Knights. Weber was also invited to play for the Swiss junior team at the World Junior tournament. Ryan White leads the Habs prospects in the WHL with 15 goals and 31 points. However, last week he was fairly quiet only collecting 1 assist in two games. In the QMJHL, Olivier Fortier is heating up for Rimouski. In his last 3 games Fortier has put up 3 goals and an assist giving him 15 goals and 11 assists on the season.
Across the pond in Russia, highly touted defenceman Alexei Emelin was held off the score sheet, just collecting 4 PIMs. As many scouts have said it will be his physical presence that will be his greatest asset in years to come, so the lack of offensive production comes as less of a concern.
Last week also saw Hockey Canada extend invitations to both P.K. Subban, of the Bellville Bulls and Ryan White, of the Calgary Hitmen to try out for the Canadian junior hockey team that will try and defend its gold medal. Although making the team will be very difficult it would be a tremendous experience if either one or both were to make it.
On the injury front one of Trevor Timmins favourite prospect’s Ben Maxwell continues to be sidelined indefinitely with a thigh injury. Nicholas Torp is also in the injury bay at the moment with a shoulder injury but should be returning back to action in Sweden in a few weeks.
The next installment will take a closer look at the world junior rosters and continue to update and point out the standout players over the next couple of weeks.
3 Stars from the week that was
1. Max Pacioretty – Being selected the rookie of the month for November in the NCAA and the sole American representative for the Habs on team USA at the World Juniors makes Max an easy pick for the first star. Tallying 3 assists and a +2 rating in two games last weekend does not hurt either.
2. Yannick Weber – Another solid past weekend for Weber. On Saturday December 8, he was named 3rd star and added 2 assists in a 6-0 victory over Kingston. On Sunday, Weber added 2 goals and was named 2nd star in a 4-3 victory over the London Knights. Weber was also named to team Switzerland for the upcoming World Juniors.
3. P.K. Subban – The OHL was well represented this week as Subban got 2 assists on Friday night versus the Ottawa 67’s and was a +1. On Saturday he helped Bellville get their second win of the weekend over the Owen Sound Attack 6-0. Although Subban was held pointless he ended the game a +1. P.K. Subban was also invited to the team Canada selection camp for the World Junior tournament coming up at the end of December.