Charles Hudon was pegged to be selected somewhere in the first three rounds
of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft but surprisingly fell to the Habs in the 5th round.
One year removed from being drafted, he finds himself as one of the fastest
rising prospects in the organization. As Trevor Timmins and his staff did
in 2010 with the selection of Brendan Gallagher, it appears they’ve landed
another late steal in Hudon.
Shooting: B (quick and accurate, deceptive
Hockey Sense: A+
Hudon has to work on his core strength to get strong enough to play in the
pros and stay healthy (chronic back and concussion issues have affected him so
far in junior). Despite being undersized, his compete level is very high;
he is more than willing to battle, be it in front of the net for rebounds or in
the corners going after loose pucks. If this wasn’t enough, he has great
defensive positioning combined with great penalty killing instincts.
I see Charles Hudon in the NHL in the very
near future but he will play another year in the QMJHL after being cut recently
at training camp. He should find himself on Chicoutimi’s top line while
playing first line powerplay and penalty kill minutes as well. If Hamilton
is still playing when his junior season ends, he should finish up his year down
there like he did in 2012-13. Next season, Hudon should be able to jump
into a top six role with some special teams time, lining him up for a promotion
to the NHL either late in the year or in 2015-16.
Hudon’s hockey sense is what sets him apart from the pack, it’s well beyond
his years. He reads his
opponents’ body movements and anticipates the play very well, something that
particularly comes in handy while playing shorthanded. His work ethic and
adaptability are also positives, he rarely takes a shift off and he has little
difficulty adjusting from playing a scoring role to a defensive one or vice
Barring his back issues becoming a permanent problem (GM Marc
Bergevin noted that it appears to be something he’s going to have to learn to
play through), Hudon looks
like a surefire NHL’er. It isn’t often that a late round pick gets his
entry-level contract less than a calendar year after being picked but he earned
it. If he continues to improve, he should become a top
six forward down the road; the Canadiens have certainly found themselves a gem
in the fifth round once again.