Two years ago, prospects played a big role for the Habs with the likes of
Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk making their mark. Last season, that
wasn’t exactly the case as there weren’t many spots open and as a result only
Michael Bournival played regularly. This year should be a different story
as there appear to be a couple of spots available for the taking. Which
ones might step up and how can they help your fantasy team?
Nathan Beaulieu: As he was the youngster who got to play in the
postseason at times, Beaulieu likely comes to camp as the favourite to play on
the third pairing alongside Mike Weaver. There’s no denying the offensive
potential is there and if Beaulieu is in the lineup, he should see some
powerplay time. However, he has yet to produce much in his limited NHL
time so far (zero goals and six assists in 30 games) so keep the expectations in
check. He’s a late round flyer at best in deep leagues but one with a bit
Magnus Nygren: Offensively, he’s ready to be in the NHL now and
there’s little doubt that he could be a useful powerplay weapon for the
Canadiens. What may work against Nygren is that the top three spots on the
right side are taken by veterans (Subban, Gilbert, and Weaver) which could limit
his chances to be more than a #7. If his role/play in training camp
suggests he could be a regular, snag him towards the end of your draft. If
not, he could still be an interesting plug-and-play option off the waiver wire
if you’re trying to find some quick offence on the cheap.
Greg Pateryn: If the Habs decide to keep a young #7 defenceman,
Pateryn may very well be the favourite as he’s the most well-rounded blueline
prospect (and at 24 years old, the oldest as well). While that may work in
his favour in terms of making the team, it means nothing for his fantasy value.
Pateryn doesn’t really excel in one particular area so he’s not going to be a
guy you pick up to fill a certain category and he won’t provide enough
production to justify adding him for offence. Expect him to spend some
time with the Habs this year but keep him off your fantasy radar.
Jarred Tinordi: With the Habs losing some of their size in George
Parros and Douglas Murray, there’s a case to be made that Tinordi’s size and
grit are needed badly right away which could give him an edge over Beaulieu for
the #6 spot. If he gets it, he could be a last round option for leagues
that have all of PIMS, hits, and blocks as scoring categories. His best
fantasy value, however, is as a late week plug-and-play in head-to-head leagues
if you’re looking for a boost in one of those stats.
If you project out the opening roster, there may be a spot for one
youngster to make the team out of training camp. The current best guess is
that the opening would be on the third line wing, allowing the likes of Weise,
Prust, Moen, and Bournival to battle for the fourth line spots alongside Manny
Sven Andrighetto: I think his odds of making the team are lower than
most as there are a few forwards who I’d have ahead of him in the pecking order
for now. If he does get the spot out of camp, he should be in a role where
he can pick up at least a few points but he won’t bring much else to the table
to supplement his production. I’d stay away from Andrighetto in drafts and
wait to pick him up off the wire if he finds himself in a potential top six
situation if injuries arise.
Jacob de la Rose: As a player who has been playing in a pro league for
the last couple of years, de la Rose is someone that shouldn’t need much time to
adapt to the rigors of the pro game in North America. That’s going to help
get him a look with the Habs before too long. If he gets a chance to play
a regular role with Montreal, he could be worth a look in deep leagues as
someone who can pick up a few points and hits (for those with that as a scoring
Charles Hudon: As we sit here a few weeks before training camp starts,
Hudon is my pick to be this year’s Michael Bournival, a prospect who does all of
the little things well and quickly earns the trust of the coaching staff.
While that could make him a useful member of the team, doing the little things
does little for his fantasy value. He’d be worth a lot more to the Habs
than he would on a fantasy team.
Jiri Sekac: Given his pedigree and the fact that nearly half the
league was trying to sign him, Sekac has to be the odds-on favourite to get a
spot out of training camp and he would fit well in the potential third line
vacancy as he can play a two-way game. That said, expectations need to be
kept in check. He wasn’t lighting the lamp in the KHL so it’s not likely
that he’s going to be a high-end scorer right away in the NHL.
If I was doing a full Fantasy Focus write-up for Sekac, I’d have him
somewhere around the 25 point mark, assuming he has a regular role this year.
I don’t see him getting a lot of powerplay time ahead of the likes of Gallagher,
Pacioretty, Parenteau, and Galchenyuk so most of his production should come
5-on-5 (and in the bottom six). The hype surrounding him will likely see
him get drafted earlier than he should but if he’s still on the board late in
the draft, he’s a viable option as a low risk, medium reward type of player.
Christian Thomas: As he’s entering the last year of his entry-level
deal, I think Thomas will get a look at some point with the big club though it
likely wouldn’t be out of training camp. He has shown in the past that he
can be a strong goal scorer so if he finds himself on a scoring line with the
Habs when he’s called up, he might be worth keeping an eye on in the waiver
wire. Stay away from him on draft night though.