The Habs locked up a pair of prospects on Wednesday, signing OHL forwards Will Bitten and Michael Pezzetta to three-year, entry-level contracts. Both deals will begin next season.
Bitten was Montreal’s third-round pick (70th) overall back in 2016 out of Flint of the OHL, an organization that was in complete turmoil at that time. He held out for a trade at the start of last season and was eventually moved to Hamilton and after a sluggish start, he picked it up as the year went on and finished with 57 points in 65 games. In 2017-18, he has been more productive in the point department with 19 goals and 42 assists in 58 contests.
While he was drafted as a centre, he has split time between playing down the middle and on the right wing; lately, he has primarily been used as a winger. His projection is as an energy forward who probably slots in on a third line but at 5’10, he may have some challenges in that role as he transitions to the pro ranks.
Pezzetta was also selected in 2016, going 160th overall. Although he was a first-rounder back at the OHL level (11th overall to Sudbury in 2014), he has struggled considerably offensively for the bulk of his junior career. However, he has taken some strides forward in that department this season, compiling 50 points in 58 games between Sudbury and Sarnia, who acquired him in a midseason trade.
The soon-to-be 20-year-old has also split this season between centre and the wing although it’s worth noting that he has had a fair amount of success at the faceoff dot, winning 58.7% of his draws this season in 694 attempts. His overall upside is limited but he could become a physical fourth liner and if he can continue to be strong at the dot, he could play himself into a serviceable role down the road.