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Today, we finally arrive at the top-10 Habs
prospects.  As always, there’s a good mix of players with some NHL
experience, recent draft picks, and late bloomers.  For the first time
since 2008, we have a new top prospect as Max Pacioretty graduated from prospect
status.  So who is #1 this go-around?

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:

10) C Ryan White, 3rd round (66th
overall) in 2006

He plays well defensively and he can hit.  That in itself should make
him a useful NHL’er for years to come.  What will turn him from a useful to
an impact one will primarily be his offence and skating.  The former
improved last year but the latter didn’t.  If he can put it all together,
he could be a key building block moving forward.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 62 GP, 17-17-34, 173 PIMS, +9 rating
Previous Rating: 15th    High/Low: 6/17   
Average Rating: 10.29

9) C David Desharnais, undrafted free
agent in 2008

Everyone roots for the little guy and our writers are no exception. 
Desharnais took another step forward this season as he was one of the most
dominant forwards in the AHL and looked okay in a six pack of games with
Montreal.  Though he has his drawbacks (particularly skating), most of our
writers think he’ll buck the trend and become a successful NHL’er despite his

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 60 GP, 27-51-78, 34 PIMS, +30 rating
Previous Rating: 27th    High/Low: 7/19   
Average Rating: 10.00

8) C Ben Maxwell, 2nd round (49th
overall) in 2006

He’s shown he can score with the Bulldogs but that success has eluded him
thus far at the NHL level.  Fortunately for him, his defensive game
continues to improve which kept him with the Habs down the stretch last season. 
With so many centres in the system though, one can’t help but wonder if he’s
running out of chances.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 57 GP, 16-28-44, 22 PIMS, +11 rating
Previous Rating: 7th    High/Low: 7/15   
Average Rating: 9.57

7) D Jarred Tinordi, 1st round (22nd
overall) in 2010

Most fans were caught by surprise that Montreal traded up to get him but it’s
not hard to figure out why they did.  He instantly becomes the second
tallest defenceman in the organization (behind Hal Gill) and he loves to hit. 
His development should be expedited playing for the OHL’s London Knights this

Stats: US Under-18 Team (USDP) – 65 GP, 6-11-17, 105 PIMS
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 4/18   
Average Rating: 8.14

D Mathieu Carle,
2nd round (53rd overall) in 2006

Another year, another serious injury but
there’s no denying his talent.  In a brief stint with the Habs, he showed
that he has the potential to be an NHL regular in the near future.  When
healthy, he made positive strides both offensively and defensively.  One
possible concern though is that he’ll have to clear waivers this season.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 31 GP, 5-10-15,
26 PIMS, +4 rating
Previous Rating: 10th    High/Low: 4/12   
Average Rating: 7.71

5) D Yannick Weber, 3rd round (73rd
overall) in 2007

He took a step back in several respects this past season as his offensive
game declined while there were more concerns about his defensive game. 
That’s the bad news.  The good news is that most still project him to be a
regular d-man in the NHL that can run a powerplay.  He also made his
Olympic debut for Switzerland, going pointless in 5 games.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 65 GP, 7-25-32, 58 PIMS, +16 rating
Previous Rating: 3rd    High/Low: 5/12   
Average Rating: 6.00

4) RW Danny Kristo, 2nd round (56th
overall) in 2008

Kristo had a solid freshman season with North Dakota.  However, the
highlight of his season was a gold medal championship at the World Juniors where
he averaged a point-per-game in arguably his coming out party.  There were
concerns over whether he could be a top-6 winger in the NHL but those are quickly
being put to rest.

Stats: North Dakota (NCAA) – 41 GP, 15-21-36, 8 PIMS
Previous Rating: 9th    High/Low: 3/12   
Average Rating: 5.14

3) C Louis Leblanc, 1st round (18th
overall) in 2009

Leblanc had a strong freshman campaign at Harvard, leading the team in
scoring and PIMS, showing there’s some edge to his game.  Now that he’s
opted to play in the QMJHL, most feel his path to the NHL will be quicker. 
He’s projected to be a top-2 centre with size, something the Habs could
certainly use.

Stats: Harvard (NCAA) – 31 GP, 11-12-23, 50 PIMS
Previous Rating: 4th    High/Low: 3/14   
Average Rating: 3.43

2) C Lars Eller, 1st round (13th overall) in

The key return in the Jaroslav Halak trade, Eller will have a lot of pressure
on his shoulders this season.  Fortunately, his play last year suggested he
should be able to live up to the expectations.  Most figure he has a spot
on this year’s roster which explains the unanimous #2 selection from our

Stats: Peoria (AHL) – 70 GP, 18-39-57, 84 PIMS, -1 rating
Previous Rating: N/A    High/Low: 2/2   
Average Rating: 2.00

1) D P.K. Subban, 2nd round (43rd
overall) in

Showed he could produce offensively at
the pro level while making great strides in his own end.  He played quite well for
the Habs in their playoff run, making him a virtual shoo-in to crack the team
this year, and a surefire unanimous selection as the team’s top prospect.

Stats: Hamilton (AHL) – 77 GP, 18-35-53, 82 PIMS, +46 rating
Previous Rating: 2nd    High/Low: 1/1   
Average Rating: 1.00