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Getting Ready for Camp: Four Prospects looking for a full-time spot.
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- Did you know?
- Peter Budaj received just 2.13 goals per game in support from the Habs last year. That's the lowest goal support total for a Montreal goalie (min. 10 GP) since Jocelyn Thibault (2.10) in 1998-99 (before getting traded to Chicago).
A lot can change in a year with prospects. Some come out of nowhere to become impact players, others seemingly fall off the face of the planet despite being highly touted to start the season, and some just play as expected. Not surprisingly, the Habs have some prospects who fall in each category. Here is a look at some of the risers and fallers in the Canadiens' system.
1) D Brendon Nash - He was an afterthought after he signed with Montreal late in the 2009-2010 season but didn't make his debut in the organization until this year. He was expected to be a depth blueliner with Hamilton but instead has become an impact rookie at both ends of the rink. With a recent hot streak, Nash has cracked the top-25 not only amongst rookie pointgetters but also in terms of points from defencemen in the entire league. He still has a lot to work on in terms of decision making and isn't quite NHL ready yet, but he is quickly playing his way into the organization's plans. (HW Preseason Ranking: 38)
Season stats: 46 games, 3-20-23, +13, 41 PIMS, 51 shots
2) RW Brendan Gallagher - He has tailed off a bit recently after a torrid start to the season but remains in the top-10 in WHL points and is within striking distance of the league lead in goals. That success earned him an invite to Team Canada's World Junior camp, although he was an early cut. Size will always be the knock on him but you simply can't teach goal scoring ability and Gallagher has it. That alone will give him a chance to succeed at the next level. (HW Preseason Ranking: 25)
Season stats: 50 GP, 33-33-66, +20, 76 PIMS, 8 PPG's
3) RW J.T. Wyman - Coming off his entry level deal, he was starting to fall into that irrelevant depth prospect category whose NHL hopes may have faded away. But the injuries and recalls to Montreal have given him a chance to show off his offensive game and he has made the most of it, as he took over the active Hamilton lead in goals at one point. At the beginning of the year, he was one of those depth call up options and with the little run he's on now, you can make a legitimate argument that he's earned another look as a 4th line option before the end of the year. (HW Preseason Ranking: 26)
Season stats: 47 GP, 12-9-21, +5, 22 PIMS, 95 shots
1) RW Danny Kristo - For the season straight year, he got off to a slow start but has really picked up his play as of late. Going into the season, many had him pegged as a future 2nd line winger and he hasn't done anything to change that for better or for worse. If he can keep up his recent scoring pace and continue to bulk up, he should be ready to turn pro at the end of his college campaign. (HW Preseason Ranking: 4)
Season stats: 29 GP, 5-17-22, +1, 16 PIMS, 101 shots
2) C Olivier Fortier - No one really knew what to expect from the former 3rd round pick in this, his rookie AHL season after missing nearly all of 09-10 with injuries. Having gone through the first half of the year, the same can still be said now. He has shown flashes of his offensive abilities but his ceiling still looks as if he will be primarily a defensive player at the next level. Like Wyman and the other Bulldogs, he'll have a chance to hone his offensive game due to all the injuries and Montreal callups. (HW Preseason Ranking: 20)
Season stats: 37 GP, 7-4-11, -5, 11 PIMS, 47 shots
3) C Dustin Walsh - When the Habs draft long-term college prospects like Walsh, they're looking for gradual but continued improvement. Walsh has done just that this year. As a sophomore, he's getting a little more ice time and responsibility and is entrenched in the top-10 for team scoring. He'll still need most if not all of his college eligibility to be ready for the pros but so far, so good. (HW Preseason Ranking: 35)
Season stats: 21 GP, 7-5-12, +4, 4 PIMS, 35 shots
1) RW/C Ryan White - Despite the fact he still hits and fights, he has taken a step back in his development this season. As a 3rd year pro, he was expected to take on a bigger chunk of the scoring load, especially after Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais were recalled to the Habs full time. Instead, the opposite happened, as he has just 2 goals in 30 games with Hamilton. His strengths as noted earlier will get him to the NHL in their own right, but without an offensive game to speak of, his ceiling may be more of a 4th line energy player rather than a 3rd line two-way gritty forward with NHL upside which is where he looked like he was headed just last year. (HW Preseason Ranking: 10)
Season stats: 30 GP, 2-8-10, -5, 68 PIMS, 57 shots
2) RW Ian Schultz - Despite his offensive success in his last season in junior, no one expected him to light up the AHL in his rookie year. But it wasn't too much to expect that he'd have a point by the midway point of the campaign - he is pointless in 26 games and has been a complete non-factor, especially in the physical department. It's still too early to write him off outright, but he is much further away from being NHL ready than anyone thought at the beginning of the season. (HW Preseason Ranking: 14)
Season stats: 26 GP, 0-0-0, -5, 21 PIMS, 26 shots
3) G Robert Mayer - Every game he has played in with the Bulldogs could be characterized as 'interesting,' and I don't mean that in a good way. He failed to capitalize on the momentum gained from last year's Kelly Cup Finals co-MVP award and basically has forced Hamilton to roll Curtis Sanford, who has fought injuries all season, every opportunity possible and then some. The only reason he's still in Hamilton is that the Habs have no other goalie under contract (aside from Peter Delmas on an AHL deal) so he will get every opportunity to turn it around. Based on his play so far, I don't see that happening though. (HW Preseason Ranking: 29)
Season stats: 17 GP, 8-7-4 record, 3.06 GAA, .887 SV%, 0 SO (14/19 in shootouts)
- 2010 HW Prospect Rankings: Top-10 posted by B. La Rose
- 2010 HW Prospect Rankings: 20-11 posted by B. La Rose
- 2010 HW Prospect Rankings: 30-21 posted by B. La Rose
- 2010 HW Prospect Rankings: 42-31 posted by B. La Rose