Over the past few years, the Habs have had quite a few youngsters step into the lineup. This season, there aren’t many spots open but several prospects will get a chance at some point to make their mark. How could those players help your fantasy team?
Mike Condon: As things stand, he’s slotted in as the starter with St. John’s with the belief that he will become the new #2 in Montreal for 2016-17. It wouldn’t be all that shocking if he were to supplant Dustin Tokarski at some point this coming season though. If that happens, he’s a wise handcuff for anyone who has Carey Price on their team at the very least. Should Price get injured, Condon may make more sense to use as the starter, similar to Tokarski getting the nod over Peter Budaj two playoffs ago.
Darren Dietz: He’s going to be one to keep an eye on with the IceCaps this season. At worst he’ll be their #2 d-man (#1 if Mark Barberio doesn’t make it through waivers) and he’ll be asked to play an all-around game. If one of Montreal’s better blueliners goes down, Dietz could be called upon instead of asking a reserve defender to come in and play a bigger role than they’re used to. He has a strong shot which could make him a power play option but he’d have more value to a real team than a fantasy one.
Jarred Tinordi: His waiver status is what will give him every opportunity to make the team despite yet another subpar season in the grand scheme of things. He likely slots in as the #8 defenceman right now so he’s not worth carrying right away. Should injuries force him into the lineup more, he could be a passable sixth d-man for leagues that have PIMS, hits, and blocks all as scoring categories but he won’t help at all scoring wise.
(As Greg Pateryn is 25 and finished the season in the NHL last year, he’s no longer a prospect and will appear in the column about the rest of the roster. Barberio is the most likely call-up but he’s far from a prospect and wouldn’t bring any sort of fantasy value to the table.)
As things stand, there may be one spot up for grabs either as the 23rd player on the roster or if Jacob de la Rose starts in the AHL. (De la Rose, like Pateryn, will be covered in the next article discussing the rest of the roster having finished the season in Montreal.) Fortunately, a few of these players are more intriguing than their defensive counterparts.
Sven Andrighetto: Andrighetto handled himself relatively well with the Habs last year despite spending a lot of time in a role he wasn’t suited for. His defensive game improved after being sent down and he has bulked up as well. He’ll be up at some point during the season and if he gets a chance to play a top six role, Andrighetto should fare better this time around. He might be worth a flier in deep leagues.
Daniel Carr: I was more optimistic than most about him last season but I didn’t expect him to score as much as he did with Hamilton. He is Montreal’s best offensive option from the left wing and as he needs waivers next year, he’ll likely get a chance to prove his worth at some point. He’s more of a two-way player than Andrighetto which will please the coaches but may very well land him a bottom six spot more often than not. I think Carr can do well in that type of two-way role but he’s not worth adding to any fantasy squad when he’s with the Canadiens.
Charles Hudon: His offensive explosion last year as a rookie was a big surprise and will have him in a real battle for a roster spot in training camp. If he shows that his breakout wasn’t a fluke, he could very well make the team which should get him on the radar, especially in dynasty leagues. Unless he’s in a top six role though, he won’t carry much value in yearly redraft pools.
Michael McCarron: His NHL-ready frame will have many wanting him to make the opening roster. However, if the Habs want to develop him as a centre, he’ll need to start in the minors. If he gets recalled at some point, he could be worth a look. His size makes him an interesting power play option while he’ll pick up hits and PIMS as well.
Nikita Scherbak: I have a feeling I’ll be saying this a lot in the coming weeks but it’s important to remember he’s still 19. Unless he blows everyone away at camp, he shouldn’t be making the team. The Habs in the past have let their skill players play a full AHL season before considering them for a call-up and I wouldn’t be shocked if that was the plan here. However, if a top six opening arises, he’s likely to be the most skilled option available to take that spot which would make him an intriguing fantasy option. At this stage though, pick him in dynasty leagues only.
Christian Thomas: If the Habs are concerned about his waiver status, Thomas will get every chance to make the roster. I don’t think they’ll be that worried about him clearing or not though as, possession numbers aside, one point in 18 NHL games plus a lousy AHL season shouldn’t have too many teams salivating at the chance at claiming him. If Thomas gets a chance in a scoring role, he might be worth a gamble if you’re desperate but I don’t foresee him getting a big role whenever he winds up with the Canadiens.
(Bud Holloway, though not a prospect, is also an interesting option after being a strong scorer in Switzerland and Sweden. If he shows that touch in training camp, he might be worth a late round flier.)