With the playoffs and regionals now finished, the NCAA has set the bracket for the upcoming Frozen Four tournament. The Habs will be well-represented at the event with a total of five prospects participating, some of which could find themselves signing NHL deals sooner than later. Here is a look at each Montreal prospect that will be suiting up.
Jakub Dobes (Ohio State)
After a freshman season that was simply dominant, it was going to be interesting to see what he could do the second time around. Dobes’ numbers took a small step back but overall, he still has had a strong year. He turns 22 in a couple of months and with Cayden Primeau’s development stalling out (or at least going slower than expected), Dobes is now Montreal’s best prospect. It’s possible that they look to turn him pro after this season as a result and if that’s the case, he’s in his final days and weeks with the Buckeyes.
First-Round Opponent: Harvard
Sean Farrell (Harvard)
Farrell’s freshman campaign last season was a strong one. While he was a bit older for a true freshman thanks to the Ivy League not playing in 2020-21, he still impressed for someone adapting to the higher level. This season, Farrell’s production simply took off as he enters the tournament tied for third in NCAA scoring. There isn’t much left for him to prove as a result and the fact he’s close enough to graduating since he fast-tracked his courses means he could have free agent power this summer if he wanted to push to go that route. Accordingly, it’s safe to say he’ll be burning the first year of his contract down the stretch in Montreal. We’ll see how much longer we’ll have to wait for him to have that chance.
First-Round Opponent: Ohio State
Lane Hutson (Boston University)
There were some questions about how he’d fare against tougher competition. Offensively, Hutson has put an end to those pretty quickly as he’s the highest-scoring defenceman in DI this year while having a chance to take aim at the modern-day record for the most productive D+1 year for a blueliner. Having said that, Hutson probably isn’t going to be offered a contract for next season after the Terriers are eliminated. There are still some defensive improvements to work on while the lighter college schedule is better for him as he tries to fill out his frame.
First-Round Opponent: Western Michigan
Rhett Pitlick (Minnesota)
I was a bit underwhelmed with Pitlick’s sophomore season although he finished on a high note (and I don’t just mean this goal):
This was WAY too nasty not to post.
Pure filth from Pitter 🤢 pic.twitter.com/QwINWpfkMr
— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) March 19, 2023
Pitlick is a secondary piece for the Golden Gophers who feature two first-rounders from last year’s draft (including Logan Cooley) plus Matthew Knies who will be turning pro as soon as their tournament is done. That hasn’t left a lot of top offensive minutes for Pitlick or anyone else outside of that top trio. At 22, there’s a case to be made to turn him pro after this season but one more year in Minnesota where he should have a more prominent role might be the better way to go from a development perspective.
First-Round Opponent: Canisius
Luke Tuch (Boston University)
I have to admit, I had fairly high hopes for the 2020 second-rounder and he didn’t quite live up to them. The good news is that he stayed healthy for the full campaign but offensively, he has still underwhelmed with 19 points in 37 games. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is his final college campaign. While it’s true that staying for his senior year would give him a higher spot on the depth chart, he’s someone that has a pro-ready frame and doesn’t project to play all that high on the lineup in the pros so getting him into Laval might be the better long-term strategy.
First-Round Opponent: Western Michigan
The tournament gets underway on Thursday and with Dobes and Farrell playing each other in the first round, at least one Montreal prospect will be eliminated early.