HabsWorld.net -- 

Yesterday’s prospect rankings featured
primarily late round draft picks and undrafted free agents.  Today though,
we start to see some more well known players in rankings 30 through 21,
including several of this year’s draft selections, a player who saw NHL time last
season, and one who played in the World Championships back in May.   

About the Rankings:

This year, a total of 9 members of the HW staff cast their ballots.  To
avoid having one person skew the rankings too much, the high and low were
dropped for each player, so the rankings are determined based on the average of
the other 7 votes (denoted as Average Rating).  Where
applicable, the previous rating is noted for players who were in the Habs’
system last season.

Gone from last year’s list are the following:

Graduated: Max Pacioretty, Tom Pyatt
Released: Shawn Belle, Michael Busto, David Fischer, Mikael Johansson,
Jason Missiaen, Gregory Stewart, Nichlas Torp
Traded: Kyle Chipchura, Cedrick Desjardins

Eligible players must…
1) Be 24 years of age or younger as of October 1st, 2010 
2) Have less than 40 games of NHL experience (regular season + playoffs) 

3) Have NHL affilation to the Canadiens, AHL only contracts are not eligible

Ties are broken by the highest
non-eliminated (high or low) ranking.

The Rankings:

30) C Ryan Russell, 7th round (211th overall) in 2005

The diminutive checking centre saw his plus/minus fall significantly this past
season but still turned in solid production at both ends of the rink for the
Bulldogs.  In order for him to have any NHL success, he will need to take a
dramatic step forward in the offensive zone.  Provided he clears waivers,
he’ll be a key cog for Hamilton once again this year.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 74 GP, 19-18-37, 8 PIMS, +16 rating
Previous Rating: 30th    High/Low: 17/39   
Average Rating: 30.14

29) G Robert Mayer, undrafted free agent in 2008

He will be the main beneficiary of August’s trade that saw Cedrick Desjardins
move to Tampa Bay as he is now slotted as the fulltime backup for the Bulldogs. 
His success this season will go a long way in determining if he has an NHL
future or if he’s most likely a career minor leaguer.  He should have some
momentum on his side after being named co-MVP of the ECHL’s Kelly Cup playoffs.

Stats: Cincinnati (ECHL) – 31 GP, 19-10-1 record, 2.81 GAA, .889 SV%,
2 SO
Previous Rating: 37th    High/Low: 16/40   
Average Rating: 29.86

28) LW Hunter Bishop, undrafted free agent in 2010

Bishop earned himself a deal with the Habs (that kicks in this season) as a
result of his excellent work ethic along with his goal scoring abilities. 
Last year, he transitioned well to the Bulldogs, picking up 5 points in 9
regular season games.  Improving his skating will be key for him to move up
Hamilton’s depth chart and possibly one day, the Habs’.

Stats: Ohio State (NCAA) – 33 GP, 15-12-27, 22 PIMS
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 19/42   
Average Rating: 28.57

27) D Morgan Ellis, 4th round (117th
overall) in 2010

A steady stay-at-home defenceman who is good in the locker room, sounds like
just what the doctor ordered for the Habs’ future defence corps.  However,
despite his size, physical play isn’t his strong suit, nor is his offensive
game, at least yet.  He was a "safe pick" at the draft, one who worst case
scenario will have some good seasons at the minor pro level.

Stats: Cape Breton (QMJHL) – 60 GP, 4-25-29, 56 PIMS, +17 rating
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 22/33   
Average Rating: 26.43

26) RW J.T. Wyman, 4th round (100th overall) in 2004

Wyman got off to a very strong start with the Bulldogs last season, earning
himself a recall to the Habs in the process for a trio of games.  After he
was sent back though, his offensive game tailed off and he was bumped down the
lineup.  Working for him is the fact he can drop back to play defence, the
only forward prospect in the organization that can say that.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 76 GP, 17-20-37, 12 PIMS, +9 rating
Previous Rating: 36th    High/Low: 11/40   
Average Rating: 26.29

25) RW Brendan Gallagher, 5th round (147th overall) in 2010

A 40-goal scorer with lots of spunk, so why is he 25th on the list?  His
size, as he comes in at a (generous) 5-foot-8.  History has shown that
players his size usually don’t succeed in the NHL which explains why he fell to
the late 5th round of the draft.  Given his work ethic and grit though,
there’s no way you can rule him out just yet.

Stats: Vancouver (WHL) – 72 GP, 41-40-81, 111 PIMS, +9 rating
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 22/33   
Average Rating: 26.14*

24) LW Andrew Conboy, 5th round (142nd
overall) in 2007

One of the few prospects who is willing to drop the gloves for his teammates
(and is at least competent at it), his development has leveled off due the
stalling of his offensive game.  Still, his size and aggressiveness are
positives that should at least net him an NHL look, possibly as early as this

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 68 GP, 8-5-13, 73 PIMS, -1 rating
Previous Rating: 25th    High/Low: 15/38   
Average Rating: 26.14*

*Note: Conboy was rated ahead of Gallagher as he had the highest non-eliminated

23) C Mark MacMillan, 4th round (113th
overall) in 2010

A bit of an unknown commodity from this past entry draft, MacMillan is a
talented offensive forward whose biggest shortcoming is that he needs to bulk up
somewhere between 30-40 pounds.  He was traded to his hometown team in the
BCHL in the offseason, however, he broke his wrist in the first game and will
miss several months, stalling what was to be a long development process further.

Stats: Alberni Valley (BCHL) – 59 GP, 26-54-80, 44 PIMS
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 21/37   
Average Rating: 24.57

22) C/RW Gabriel Dumont, 5th round
(139th overall) in 2009

Likened by some to the hockey version of "The Little Engine That Could," he
doesn’t have the size but he has the heart and skills to make it as a pro. 
He lit up the QMJHL last year but the offensive success didn’t translate over to
the AHL playoffs.  With Hamilton’s depth, he’ll likely be fighting for a
4th line role with the Bulldogs this season.

Stats: Drummondville (QMJHL) – 62 GP, 51-42-93, 127 PIMS, +43 rating
Previous Rating: 24th    High/Low: 13/31   
Average Rating: 22.71

21) C Andreas Engqvist, undrafted free
agent in 2009

Engqvist may very well be nearly NHL ready right away after playing his
fourth pro season in the SEL as well as playing for Team Sweden at the World
Championships.  His ceiling isn’t anything more than a checking centre but
he has the skills to become a good one.  If he acclimates himself well in
Hamilton, we may see him up with the Habs in the near future.

Stats: Djurgarden (SEL) – 55 GP, 14-12-26, 30 PIMS
Previous Rating: 16th    High/Low: 11/42   
Average Rating: 21.00