2023-24 HabsWorld Prospect Rankings: Fan Vote Results

As part of our annual prospect rankings series, we asked our readers to vote for their top ten prospects.  Here are the results of the poll.

Players were awarded ten points for a first-place vote, nine for second, all the way down to one point for a tenth-place selection.

#1 Prospect – D Lane Hutson

Hutson’s dynamic freshman season with Boston University was one for the record books which made him the top prospect in the eyes of two-thirds of our voters.  He was also the only player to receive a vote from everyone.  Fans might not have to wait much longer to see him in an NHL lineup as it feels like there’s a decent chance he could turn pro at the end of his college season, a move that would burn the first year of his entry-level contract in the process (and make him ineligible to play in Laval for their potential playoff push).

#2 Prospect – D David Reinbacher

While Montreal’s selection of Reinbacher with the fifth pick back in June wasn’t exactly the most popular, he was still easily the consensus second choice, getting over 18% of first-place votes while over half put him in this second slot.  A core right-shot defender is one of the hardest spots to fill on a depth chart and if Reinbacher pans out, that box may very well be checked off.  Unfortunately, an early-season injury has set him back for the time being but shouldn’t be out for too long.

#3 Prospect – F Joshua Roy

Roy actually appeared on the second-most number of ballots, checking in at 98.6%.  He followed up a dominant year with Sherbrooke in 2021-22 with another high-end showing last season while displaying some defensive upside, previously viewed as an area of weakness for him.  Between improvements there and his skating coupled with a strong offensive game, Roy is poised to be one of the steals from the 2021 draft class after going 150th overall.

#4 Prospect – D Logan Mailloux

Mailloux had a full season for the first time in a while and he showed considerable improvement while being one of the top offensive defencemen in the OHL last year.  Of course, his production isn’t the only important element as his defensive play still needs plenty of work.  Still, the raw upside remains that of a top-pairing defender if everything comes together.  Mailloux was the only blueliner to receive a vote in each of the top ten positions.  The gap between him and Roy for the third spot was quite tight.

#5 Prospect – F Owen Beck

Beck made headlines last season in training camp when he legitimately made a push for a roster spot.  A strong first half of the year eventually earned him a roster spot for Team Canada at the World Juniors as an injury replacement while Montreal was confident enough in him to make him a brief emergency recall.  His overall offensive upside is still in some question but most would agree that there’s a strong chance he’ll play an important role for the Habs at some point.  Beck and Roy were the only forwards to receive a vote in each of the ten slots.

#6 Prospect – D Adam Engstrom

The smooth-skating defender was already moving up the rankings going into last year but the fact he was able to establish himself as a key defender with SHL Rogle has taken the enthusiasm to another level.  With Montreal looking to have their blueliners get involved in the attack (especially in transition), it’s easy to see where he could fit in down the road.  The new transfer agreement with the Swedish Federation may delay Engstrom’s signing with the Habs as sending him to the AHL will basically be out of the question.

#7 Prospect – F Rafael Harvey-Pinard

Harvey-Pinard narrowly qualified for the rankings this year.  He certainly made a positive impression in the second half of last season after being recalled, basically forcing the Habs to keep him up for the stretch run.  He’s the type of player who sort of fits as a ‘Swiss Army knife’ on the wings in that he can play in a few different roles and hold his own.  His production with Montreal last season is entirely unsustainable but his versatility makes him a safe bet to be a capable bottom-six piece as a floor and if his offence comes around, perhaps a bit more than that.

#8 Prospect – F Emil Heineman

His current injury aside, things have been looking up for Heineman lately.  He finished up his year strong with Laval which helped wash away some of the concern of what had been a bit of a quiet year with Leksands while he was one of the final cuts at training camp.  The smaller ice surface seems to fit his skill set well as he has an above-average shot, can play a physical game when he wants to, and has the versatility to play up and down a lineup.  There’s a reason he was targeted in the Tyler Toffoli trade and there’s a good chance he’ll make his NHL debut this season.

#9 Prospect – G Jacob Fowler

While Montreal typically drafts a goalie each year, it’s usually with a late-round dart throw.  While they still did that back in June, they also took one of the higher-ranked goalies in Fowler.  While he’s a bit undersized for the position at 6’1 (teams seem to prefer 6’3 or taller now), he was the top goalie in the USHL last season and the playoff MVP for that league.  He’s still a few years away from turning pro but there’s some optimism that he can be part of the future plans in goal.  He’s the highest-picked goalie since Zach Fucale…here’s hoping Fowler pans out better than Fucale did.

#10 Prospect – F Sean Farrell

A Hobey Baker Award finalist last season, there was little left for Farrell to prove at Harvard after last season where he was one of the top scorers at the NCAA level.  Clearly, he was ready to make the jump to the pros.  He didn’t have a great showing down the stretch with Montreal but still flashed enough skill to stay in the mix when it comes to having a future with the big club.  Some time with Laval to adapt to the tighter checking will certainly be beneficial for him but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Farrell get some NHL action again this season.

Honourable Mentions

11) D Bogdan Konyushkov
12) F Filip Mesar
13) D Mattias Norlinder
14) D William Trudeau
15) F Riley Kidney

The HabsWorld rankings were set at the end of training camp and in the coming weeks (and months), we’ll be revealing them in the usual groups of five.

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