There are some years where Montreal’s rookie crop isn’t all that interesting from a fantasy hockey perspective. This is not one of those years as quite a few prospects could make an impact.
Charlie Lindgren: At 25, he’s not really a prospect now but he’s not really in the mix to be a regular either. If one of Carey Price or Keith Kinkaid gets hurt, he’ll be up which could make him an injury handcuff option but he probably won’t carry much standalone value.
Cayden Primeau: It’s his first year of draft eligibility in most dynasty leagues which is about the only format he should be selected in. Given the hype surrounding him, he’ll likely go higher than I’d recommend considering there isn’t much of a path to him being a starter for a while. His time will come but that will probably be three years from now and probably only as a backup to Price.
Josh Brook: I think he’s further away from making an impact than a lot of people think. With that in mind, I expect that it would take a few injuries for him to really get a look this season, aside from perhaps a brief cup of coffee to get his feet wet. (Yes, I know he’s paired with Brett Kulak right now but I suspect that will change at some point.) His offensive acumen would make him an intriguing speculative add in deep formats if he got a chance but there should be better options available.
Cale Fleury: Fleury is someone that I think is ahead of Brook given that he has a full year of AHL experience under his belt. He doesn’t bring much to the table offensively though which means you’d be relying on hits and blocks (if you’re in a pool with those scoring categories) to make him a viable option. There will probably be safer options out there on the waiver wire.
Noah Juulsen: If he can manage to stay healthy, Juulsen should see some action with the Habs this season. I’d put him ahead of Christian Folin on the depth chart in a perfect world but the waiver situation could lead to Juulsen starting in the minors. Prior to his injury last season, he was averaging nearly two hits and three blocks per game which makes him a reasonable depth option for head-to-head leagues with those scoring stats.
Otto Leskinen: I think he’s the sleeper prospect in this training camp. Yes, he’s a little undersized, overly aggressive in the offensive end, and has his moments in his own zone. However, he’s quite adept at quarterbacking a power play which is something the Habs desperately need. If he’s in the lineup, it’s probably in a third pairing role but the potential for power play time makes him worth monitoring.
Gustav Olofsson: He narrowly misses the cut-off to qualify for being part of our prospect rankings but if he can stay healthy (and that’s a big if considering he’s hurt already), he should be in the mix for some ice time with the Habs at some point. However, while his mobility fits in well with Montreal’s up-tempo style, he lacks the offensive upside to be a serviceable option in fantasy.
Jake Evans: It seems as if he’s the forgotten prospect at this point but he showed enough offensively in Laval last season to make him an intriguing option if recalled. For him to really make an impact, he’d need to be in a top-nine role though which could complicate things as his faceoff ability and two-way game makes him a possible option to play on the fourth line as well. He’s one of those players whose role will ultimately determine his viability in fantasy. I’d be less inclined to take him in leagues that count shots on goal as that has never been a strength of his.
Ryan Poehling: No, he’s not going to get a hat trick every night. I fear that his performance last April may be putting too much in the way of offensive expectations on him. He shouldn’t be jumping into a top-nine spot right away when everyone is healthy and a fourth line role isn’t ideal from a development perspective. There will be a time where he’s a viable full-time option on a fantasy team but that’s probably a year from now. Like Evans, his ability to make an impact in pools will be based on if his opportunities come from somewhere other than the fourth line.
Nick Suzuki: If you’re inclined to stash a Montreal prospect that’s in the minors, it should be him. Assuming he doesn’t crack the roster in camp, he’s the type of player that should only be recalled if he’s going to play in an offensive situation. His ability with the puck on his stick makes him a viable power play option as well so if he’s up, Suzuki could produce enough to make him a worthwhile addition in quite a few formats.