The Habs have had some youngsters make an impact for them over the past several years and that’s likely to happen again this year. Here is a look at how some of those prospects could help in fantasy leagues.
Charlie Lindgren: Lindgren has established himself as the top goalie prospect in the organization and has impressed so far in limited NHL action. If Carey Price was to go down with any sort of significant injury, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lindgren get more starts than Al Montoya. It seems like he’ll be the backup come 2018-19 so there’s a decent chance he’ll get a handful of games no matter what this season and he’ll be a plug-and-play option when he’s in Montreal’s lineup.
Noah Juulsen: With Montreal’s lack of depth on the right side of the blueline, Juulsen could possibly the first one in line for a recall when injuries strike (and when he returns from his broken foot). While he has been a point producer in junior, he’s going to be more of a stay-at-home player in the pros with a willingness to hit and block shots. Leagues with those categories are where he’ll have some fantasy value.
Brett Lernout: The youngster has seen brief NHL action in each of his two seasons and should be in line for at least a few games again this season. However, he hasn’t been much of a point producer yet in the minors so his only real fantasy upside would be hits and maybe penalty minutes.
Victor Mete: His rise through training camp has been a pleasant surprise to pretty much everyone. As long as he is paired with Shea Weber, there is some upside for him to pick up some points. While the Habs are likely to run with Weber as the lone defender on the top power play unit, Mete could still slide in on the second wave. That said, he could also be back in junior in the near future so don’t be rushing to draft him based on his preseason play.
Daniel Audette: Audette had an up-and-down rookie season with St. John’s but figures to be more involved in the offence this year. He’s a player that isn’t going to come up to play a fourth line role so if he does get a look with the big club, he should be flanked by some quality wingers which could make him an intriguing gamble in deeper leagues.
Charles Hudon: After another strong season in the minors, Hudon looks like he’ll get his first real chance to stick at the NHL level and found some early chemistry with Tomas Plekanec and Artturi Lehkonen in the preseason. If he can hold down that spot on either the second or third line, he’s worthy of a late round selection in deep leagues based on his history of scoring wherever he plays.
Michael McCarron: McCarron has seen a fair bit of action with the Habs in his first two years and that will likely be the case as well in 2017-18. However, he has yet to be particularly productive offensively which limits his upside to hits and penalty minutes. Unless you’re in a really deep head-to-head league where there isn’t much on the waiver wire, there will be better options out there.
Martin Reway: He’s the biggest wild card of the group. If he can get back into regular game action in Laval and work his way back into top form, his offensive upside should intrigue management, especially if/when Montreal starts to struggle to score. He’s another player who makes little sense in a fourth line role so if he’s up, he should be in a spot where he can produce quickly which will make him worthy of an addition.
Nikita Scherbak: While many are down on him after a so-so training camp, Scherbak did show signs of progression last season and assuming that continues, he’ll be one of the first to be recalled. Considering they want him to be better defensively, he’s someone that I could see thrown onto the fourth line with the Habs so his fantasy value will be tied to whatever role they happen to have him in for that particular game which makes him a bit of a riskier add when he’s up.
There are some interesting fantasy options among Montreal’s prospect group. While Hudon is probably the only one to make a full-time impact this season, there are some that will be worth watching for when they get their chance with the Habs, particularly up front. There are some years where the recalls don’t produce much but 2017-18 shouldn’t be one of those.