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The Habs have largely had the same group of right wingers for several seasons now.  It’s a group that features some veteran underachievers while in terms of prospect depth, it’s not the deepest spot in the organization.

For the purpose of breaking down the wingers, it will be done by handedness.  Martin St. Louis often plays players on their off-wings so many are largely interchangeable anyway.


Signed: Josh Anderson, Joel Armia, Cole Caufield, Brendan Gallagher
RFAs: Jesse Ylonen
UFAs: None

Caufield didn’t exactly score as much as many anticipated this season but his playmaking was better than expected while his defensive game showed some improvement as well.  He won’t be a Selke contender but it’s still good to see him take some strides in that end.  While he generally lines up on his off-wing, he at least should be a fixture on Montreal’s top line for the long haul.  At worst, he’s on the second line.  He’s the one right-shot core forward they have.

There are times when Anderson can almost take over a game.  With his size and speed, he can wreak havoc on defences when he’s at his best.  The problem is that he hasn’t been at his best anywhere near enough lately.  With three years left on a pricey contract and the fact he’s one of the few power forwards they have, he’s going to keep getting his chances in an impactful role.  They’ll be counting on him to provide more moving forward than he did this season though.

Most nights, you can’t fault Gallagher’s effort as he typically plays hard.  Unfortunately, he is a shadow of the player he was just a few years ago.  He managed to stay healthy and put up 16 goals which isn’t a great return on a $6.5 million price tag but his days of being an impact piece for this team are long gone.

Armia had an odd year.  After a poor training camp, he cleared waivers and spent a good chunk of the year early on in Laval.  But after being recalled, he was the good version of himself much more often than he had been, setting a new benchmark for goals in the process.  That type of player is one they might want to keep around beyond next year although the safer bet is that he’s moved between now and the trade deadline.

Ylonen didn’t make a great impression in his first full NHL campaign.  Granted, he didn’t see much time in a scoring role but he didn’t play well enough to merit a higher spot in the lineup either.  If he returns, it’ll probably be on another low-cost one-year deal but they may opt to move on from him and give someone else a look, either a prospect or someone better suited for a depth role.

Needs Assessment: Medium – Don’t get me wrong, there’s work that needs to be done at this position.  I’m just not sure that it’s happening until some of their pricey contracts have less time left on them, making them slightly easier to move out.


Signed: Filip Mesar, Jacob Perreault
RFAs: None
UFAs: None
AHL Contracts: None
AHL Free Agents: John Parker-Jones, Alex-Olivier Voyer

Perreault was acquired near the trade deadline for Jan Mysak in a swap of underachieving prospects.  Somehow, he played even worse in limited duty with Laval before getting hurt.  A full training camp and a new coach now might help but his stock isn’t particularly high; he’s probably not in their future plans as things stand.

It was a tale of two seasons for Mesar.  He got off to a great start after being sent back from Laval where he didn’t fare well in his two appearances.  But after the World Juniors, he started to taper off before picking things up in the playoffs.  His stock has also dropped considerably over the last two seasons and it will be interesting to see how he’s deployed in Laval.  He’s a top-six type of player but can he handle that as a rookie?  That will be one of the more intriguing storylines for their early season.

Parker-Jones certainly improved from his first season in the system although it didn’t result in much playing time for the Rocket.  If it were up to me, I’d probably bring him back to see if there’s another leap forward development-wise.  Voyer was solid for Trois-Rivieres and if he wants to stay close to home, he’s worth keeping around.

Needs Assessment: Medium – It’s safe to say they need at least one proven piece to add for the Rocket although that may be simply filled by a centre or left winger moving over.  They also need multiple players on AHL deals, someone who is probably a regular on the roster plus a couple others for the Lions.

Other Prospects

It was surprising when word came out that Vincenz Rohrer was leaving the OHL to play in Switzerland, a very atypical development path.  Doing so extended his signing timeline by a couple of years and the move worked out relatively well.  He didn’t play a ton but logged nearly 13 minutes a night in a good program which keeps his stock on the rise.  He could be a possible bottom-six piece in a couple of years assuming he keeps progressing and gets signed.

Blake Biondi is someone who I’ve been higher on than most but he didn’t have a great year.  As a senior, he should have been over the point-per-game mark, especially for someone who can play a power forward type of game.  Instead, he barely cracked half of that.  He opted to enter the transfer portal to play his bonus year next season so the Habs will retain his rights for an extra year but he looks unlikely to sign at this point.

Needs Assessment: High – I think Rohrer has NHL upside but he’s probably not a high-scoring threat.  If you have a forward spot where you don’t have a top-six-calibre prospect, something should be done about that.

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