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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