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With rookie camp now finished, it’s time to unveil HabsWorld’s
annual prospect rankings.  As always, these are voted on by members of our
staff.  A total of 42 prospects have been ranked, making this the most
comprehensive ranking list around.  Today, we look at players 42 through
31, which features a player who had a vote in the top-20.

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:

42) C Patrick Johnson, 7th round (206th overall) in 2008

He was drafted after a stellar freshman campaign in college but has done nothing
since then; his point totals the last two years don’t add up to his rookie
season.  The raw offensive skills are there, but not a whole lot else. 
He has to sign by August 15th, and he’ll need quite a senior year to have a shot
at being signed.

Stats: Wisconsin (NCAA) – 37 GP, 3-4-7, 14 PIMS
Previous Rating: 41st    High/Low: 34/42   
Average Rating: 36.57

41) D Scott Kishel, 7th round (192nd
overall) in 2007

The smooth skating blueliner made the most of his increased role last season. 
However, he still has a long way to go before he can earn himself a deal with
Montreal.  Undersized with strength concerns and it shows in the defensive
zone but his offensive skills are impressive.  At this point, it’s a long
shot that Montreal will sign him but he still has two years to prove his worth.

Stats: Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA) – 28 GP, 0-8-8, 14 PIMS
Previous Rating: 39th    High/Low: 28/42   
Average Rating: 36.43*

40) D Frederic St. Denis, undrafted free
agent in 2010

St. Denis has been a late bloomer, as he just finished his first full pro season
above the ECHL level last season with Hamilton.  He quickly became a key
part of their defence as his strong positional play and consistency caught the
eye of now departed coach Guy Boucher.  Working against him though is his
age as he’ll turn 25 in January.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 59 GP, 3-14-17, 38 PIMS, +20 rating
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 27/42   
Average Rating: 36.43*

*Note: St. Denis was rated ahead of Kishel as he had the highest non-eliminated

39) LW John Westin, 7th round (207th
overall) in 2010

A bit of an unknown on draft day (there was confusion over whether the Habs took
him or his older brother) but he made his mark at the World Under-18’s. 
He’s an energy winger with a bit of a scoring touch but it’s inconsistent as is
his defensive play.  If the Habs ever want to sign him, they’ll have to pay
as he’s under contract for three years while Montreal must sign him within two.

Stats: Modo J-20 (SuperElit) – 31 GP, 16-10-26, 18 PIMS
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 24/42   
Average Rating: 36.14

38) D Brendon Nash, undrafted free agent
in 2010

The Habs were one of several teams going after the Cornell grad as he should
quickly step into Hamilton’s lineup to start the season.  He plays a very
safe game but doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and at 6’3, he brings some much
needed size to the blueline corps.  If he can step up his physical game,
he’ll be a solid addition to the Bulldogs.

Stats: Cornell (NCAA) – 33 GP, 2-17-19, 48 PIMS
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 27/41   
Average Rating: 35.29*

37) G Petteri Simila, 7th round (211th
overall) in 2009

The final pick of the draft, the tall netminder struggled in the OHL last year,
eventually being dealt and waived out of the league before returning to Finland
after competing in the World Juniors.  He did show some flashes of
potential though, particularly when he went home where he’ll play again this
season.  The Habs have until the end of May to sign him so the pressure’s

Stats: Niagara (OHL) – 11 GP, 1-4-3 record, 4.14 GAA, .891 SV%, 0 SO
Previous Rating: 34th    High/Low: 28/41   
Average Rating: 35.29*

*Note: Simila was rated ahead of Nash as he had the highest non-eliminated,

36) LW Phillipe Lefebvre, undrafted free
agent in 2009

Earned himself a contract with the Habs after a solid rookie camp in 2009 and
improved, albeit marginally, on his scoring numbers in Drummondville.  What
he does have going for him though is the fact he’s now skating alongside Louis
Leblanc with the Montreal Juniors, developing chemistry along the way. 
He’ll turn pro next season.

Stats: Drummondville (QMJHL) – 66 GP, 26-29-55, 38 PIMS, +21 rating
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 26/40   
Average Rating: 35.14

35) C Dustin Walsh, 6th round (169th
overall) in 2009

His draft year had something a lot of NHL draft picks don’t have to deal with –
his original team folded midseason.  Fortunately for him, he caught on with
a new team and his raw offensive skills caught the eye of the Habs’ scouts. 
His goal total was 3rd highest on the team despite being in his freshman season
but he remains a long-term project.

Stats: Dartmouth (NCAA) – 22 GP, 8-2-10, 6 PIMS
Previous Rating: 33rd    High/Low: 15/41   
Average Rating: 34.57

34) LW Dany Masse, undrafted free agent
in 2009

The Habs signed him after he absolutely lit up the QMJHL in 2008-09 (110 points
in 68 games) but that success didn’t translate with Hamilton after he returned
from injury.  Still, there’s no denying he has the skills to be an impact
player, at least at the minor pro level.  With the depth in Hamilton, he
may find himself starting with Wheeling (ECHL) to give him more ice time.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 25 GP, 3-2-5, 6 PIMS, +2 rating
Previous Rating: 35th    High/Low: 20/40   
Average Rating: 33.43

33) D Greg Pateryn, 5th round (128th
overall) in 2008

The prospect acquired in the Mikhail Grabovski trade, Pateryn had a steady
sophomore season at Michigan.  Right now, he’s a stay-at-home, physical
blueliner with no real offensive game to speak of, save for a decent first pass
out of the zone.  Another long-term project, he’s a couple years away
before possibly turning pro.

Stats: Michigan (NCAA) – 33 GP, 1-5-6, 18 PIMS
Previous Rating: 28th    High/Low: 25/37   
Average Rating: 32.00

32) D Joe Stejskal, 5th round (133rd
overall) in 2007

A physical blueliner with a bullet for a shot but the rest of his game hasn’t
quite rounded out yet.  The good news is that he’ll be a key cog on his
team’s blueline this season and will be used in all situations so not all hope
is lost.  It’s a make or break season for him though as the Habs must sign
him by August 15th or release him.

Stats: Dartmouth (NCAA) – 32 GP, 3-7-10, 26 PIMS
Previous Rating: 38th    High/Low: 23/41   
Average Rating: 31.57

31) C Michael Cichy, 7th round (199th
overall) in 2009

A skilled offensive forward who didn’t exactly have a prolific freshman campaign
alongside Danny Kristo at North Dakota last year.  That said, his numbers
aren’t bad when you consider he was in the bottom six all season, something that
may not be the case this year.  If he can produce over the next three
college years, he’ll earn himself a pro deal.

Stats: North Dakota (NCAA) – 23 GP, 2-2-4, 6 PIMS
Previous Rating: 29th    High/Low: 20/40   
Average Rating: 30.57