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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
In Part 3 of our 2011 Prospect Rankings, we start to see some more familiar names including a pair from the most recent entry draft. A lot of these players qualify as projects, ones who have the tools to be useful at a higher level but will need a fair bit of work in order to realize their potential.
This year, we changed things up a little. The top-10 have been voted on by members of our HW writing staff while the remainder of the rankings were done by yours truly. Here are the criteria that each player had to meet to be eligible to be in these rankings:
1) The player must be 24 years old or younger as of October 1, 2011
2) The player must have no greater than 40 games of NHL experience (including regular season and playoffs)
3) The player has to be signed on an NHL contract
As the Habs brought several youngsters up last season, this year's list will look a lot different as many of the top prospects are no longer eligible. Here are the departures from last year's list:
Graduated: David Desharnais, Lars Eller, Frederic St. Denis, P.K.
Subban, Yannick Weber, Ryan White, Alexei Yemelin
Released: Patrick Johnson, Petteri Simila, J.T. Wyman
Traded: Mathieu Carle, Ben Maxwell, Ryan Russell
#30) Greg Pateryn
Defenceman, Michigan, CCHA (NCAA)
5th round pick (128th overall) in 2008 (acquired via trade from Toronto)
Slow and steady is the best way to describe Pateryn's progression so far. Last season was his best to date with the Wolverines as he moved up on the depth chart to the point where he received significant minutes on a nightly basis. His offensive game, though still quite raw, also took a step forward. He will return to Michigan for his final season (where he will continue to mentor Mac Bennett) and as long as he stays healthy and has a decent campaign, we should see him earn an entry-level deal with the Habs.
2010-11 Stats: 40 GP, 3-14-17, 28 PIMS
Previous HW Ranking: 33rd
#29) Darren Dietz
Defenceman, Saskatoon, WHL
5th round pick (138th overall) in 2011
This hard hitting blueliner is something of a late bloomer considering two years ago, he spent most of his time playing midget hockey. He didn't play a lot last year with the Blades being a veteran-laden team but is expected to log significant minutes in the upcoming WHL season. In terms of a typical development curve, he's starting off a little later than most but his first step last year is certainly encouraging.
2010-11 Stats: 68 GP, 8-19-27, 66 PIMS, +17
Previous HW Ranking: N/A
#28) Olivier Archambault
Left Wing/Centre, Val D'Or, QMJHL
4th round pick (108th overall) in 2011
There's no denying the fact that Archambault has very good offensive upside. He was the top pick in the QMJHL draft back in 2009 (ahead of 3rd overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau) but unfortunately, the consistency just hasn't been there for him yet. He was moved to Drummondville in the offseason and if that can kick start his offence, the Habs could have a steal on their hands. If the move doesn't help him though, his ceiling will basically become that of a mediocre minor leaguer. Still though, that's not a terrible risk to take in the latter stages of the 4th round.
2010-11 Stats: 65 GP, 20-33-53, 28 PIMS, -7
Previous HW Ranking: N/A
#27) Peter Delmas
Goalie, Wheeling, ECHL
Free agent signing in 2011
At the beginning of 2010-11, the former Colorado 2nd rounder was the forgotten one. There was no room for him in Hamilton or in Wheeling so he was off to an even lower level in Wichita. As injuries and recalls plagued Pittsburgh's prospects in Wheeling (the team is a shared affiliate), Delmas finally got his chance and he certainly made the most of it, taking over the starter's job down the stretch and into the playoffs. This year, he'll be battling with Robert Mayer (ranked 36th) for a full time spot with the Bulldogs.
2010-11 Stats: 24 GP, 15-6-2 record, 2.03 GAA, .928 SV%, 3 SO
Previous HW Ranking: N/A
#26) Dustin Walsh
Centre, Dartmouth, ECAC (NCAA)
6th round pick (169th overall) in 2009
Walsh is another of the Habs' more recent collegiate late round gambles and he appears to be one of the ones who could very well turn into a decent prospect. He took a significant stride forward offensively in 2010-11 and quickly moved up in the Big Green's lineup. As a 3rd year player, he should slide in on one of the top two lines this season and could be poised for a breakout campaign. Of note, he is the only NCAA prospect at Montreal's rookie camp; he has to pay his own way to attend the camp as well.
2010-11 Stats: 65 GP, 20-33-53, 28 PIMS
Previous HW Ranking: 35th
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