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Today we reach the halfway point of our 2012 Prospect Rankings series.  This
group interestingly enough has a pair of players who suited up with the Habs in
2011-12 but whose overall ceilings are pretty low.  There are also a pair
of prospects out of the 2011 draft here whose stocks are going in the opposite
direction of where they were rated last season.


As we did last season, 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

1) The player must be 24 years old or younger as of October 1, 2012
2) The player must have no greater than 50 games of NHL experience (including
regular season and playoffs)
3) The player has to be signed on an NHL contract

Here are the departures from last year’s list (in order of their previous

Graduated: Brendon Nash
Released: Mark Mitera, Olivier Fortier, Andrew Conboy, Dany Masse, Hunter
Bishop, John Westin, Scott Kishel
Traded: Brock Trotter


#25) Josiah Didier
Defenceman, Denver, WCHA
4th round pick (97th overall) in 2011

We knew going into last season that Didier would be a long-term project and
that he’d be starting out low on the depth chart.  Even with that said,
last year was a bit of a disappointment as the highlight for him was that he managed to
avoid being a regular healthy scratch.  His ice time was limited and his
performance was sporadic.  He’s at least two years away from being ready to
go pro and with the amount of defencemen either at or nearly ready to play at
the AHL level, he may be dropping a few spots on the depth chart by then.

2011-12 Stats: 41 GP, 0-3-3, 36 PIMS, +6 rating
Previous HW Ranking: 14th

#24) Andreas Engqvist
Centre, Hamilton, AHL
Undrafted free agent signing in 2009

This years’ biggest dropper on our list (after being voted
into the top-10 last year) slides due to a drop in his ceiling.  Going into
the year, most of us hoped that with some more time in the minors and an
improvement in his skating could make him a legitimate third line prospect. 
Although he played relatively well in Hamilton (after being thrust into a top
line scoring role), his deficiencies were more prominent in his stints with the
Habs.  Now, his ceiling is a fourth liner and with the Habs going towards a
more physical fourth line, that doesn’t bode particularly well for Engqvist. 
He is off to a good start in the KHL this year with four assists in seven games
but has yet to score.

2011-12 Stats: 60 GP, 20-23-43, 36 PIMS, even rating, 144 shots
(team high in goals)
Previous HW Ranking: 7th

#23) Alexander Avtsin
Left Wing/Right Wing, Hamilton, AHL
4th round pick (109th overall) in 2009

The other prospect who dropped from last years’ top-10 into the 20’s, Avtsin
had a simply miserable season with the Bulldogs last year.  After an
underwhelming rookie campaign as an underager in 2010-11 he managed to take
several steps backwards, at times even being benched in favour of roster fillers
on tryout deals.  Now with a lot more depth in Hamilton, it’s safe to say
his spot on the team heading into 2012-13 is far from a guarantee.  That
all said, he still has the talent to take over games and if he can put
everything together, he still has considerable upside which is why he hasn’t
slid even further down the list.

2011-12 Stats: 63 GP, 6-8-14, 34 PIMS, -24 rating, 101
shots (third worst +/- rating in the league)
Previous HW Ranking: 8th

#22) Daniel Pribyl
Centre, Berounsti Medvedi, Czech second division
6th round pick (168th overall) in 2011

Pribyl got to play quite a bit for a European-based prospect last year but he
sure bounced around a lot.  As a result, it’s hard to really make an
accurate assessment of his play as he rarely was in the same spot and the same
role for very long.  On the plus side, he played most of the year above the
junior level and earned a spot on the World Junior team (although an injury
stopped Pribyl from having much of an impact) but on the negative side, his
offensive game was inconsistent (I suspect the frequent team/role shuffling had
a say in that).  He remains one of the more intriguing prospects because of
his skill set and size but he is still very much a project.

2011-12 Stats: 21 GP, 9-4-13, 4 PIMS, -3 rating
Previous HW Ranking: 23rd

#21) Gabriel Dumont
Centre/Right Wing, Hamilton, AHL
5th round pick (139th overall) in 2009

I know lots of fans were encouraged by his play last year but I think he took
a step back.  He failed when placed into a regular offensive role and often
struggled in the defensive zone.  He looked okay in a, quite frankly,
undeserved recall to Montreal at the end of the season and improved his
discipline so it wasn’t all bad.  With a lack of depth and talent at centre
in Hamilton this year, he once again will be called upon to shoulder a larger
scoring load.  If he can step up, it would bode well for his NHL future but
if he struggles again, he will take a tumble down the depth chart.  Suffice
it to say, it’s a make-or-break year for Dumont.

2011-12 Stats: 59 GP, 13-11-24, 55 PIMS, -15 rating
Previous HW Ranking: 16th

As part of our prospect series this year, we want to hear from you, our readers,
about who you think the Habs’ top-10 prospects are.  If you haven’t
already, please vote for
your top-10
, the results will be revealed when we reach the top-10 in our