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September 19, 2013
Top 10 Prospects 2013
Montreal Canadiens

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Montreal Canadiens Top 10 Prospects

1. Nathan Beaulieu, Defense
2. Artturi Lehkonen, Left Wing
3. Sebastian Collberg, Right Wing
4. Jacob De La Rose, Left Wing
5. Jarred Tinordi, Defense
6. Charles Hudon, Left Wing
7. Michael McCarron, Right Wing
8. Magnus Nygren, Defense
9. Darren Dietz, Defense
10. Louis Leblanc, Right Wing

Organizational Ranking: 13th

System Overview

With the graduation of Alex Galchenyuk, the Habs no longer have a true top-end prospect in their system, but their pipeline boasts great depth in terms of good prospects and regular depth as well. Notables like Mark MacMillan, Zach Fucale, Chrstian Thomas, and Mac Bennett did not make the Habs' top 15, which is a testament to the system's depth.

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1. Nathan Beaulieu, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 12/05/1993
Age: 20
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 184
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 67 GP, 7 G, 31 P (Hamilton, AHL)
Acquired: First round, 17th overall in 2011 by Montreal

Year in Review: Beaulieu had a great season in Hamilton, where he carried a very poor team, co-leading them in scoring. He was convicted of assault in the offseason, but he can still play pro hockey.

The Good: Beaulieu is a very gifted player with a lot of offensive tools. He is a high-end skater and puck handler who can create a lot of offense individually. He has the speed to burn players on the rush, and the four-way mobility to stay with even the fastest forwards. Beaulieu can flash very good vision as well, which makes him dangerous on the power play and when he is on the rush with numbers.

The Bad: Beaulieu's defensive game has improved, as he can show some good moments in his own end, but he remains inconsistent in that regard. His decision making and reads continue to be his biggest issue, as he plays a high-risk game. His off-ice incident is also an obvious knock on him.

Projection: He could be a top pairing defenseman, but he has a fair amount of risk on his projection.

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2. Artturi Lehkonen, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 07/04/1995
Age: 18
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 163
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 45 GP, 14 G, 30 P (KalPa, SM-Liiga)
Acquired: Second round, 55th overall in 2013 by Montreal

Year in Review: Lehkonen was the rookie of the year in the SM-Liiga, where he had a simply outstanding season for a U18 player. He also played well in international competition.

The Good: Lehkonen is a very gifted all-around offensive player. He skates well, with a solid top gear and pretty impressive first step quickness. With his agility and puck skills, Lehkonen can be a nuisance to check. He regularly displays above-average vision, with flashes of top-end skill in that area. Lehkonen's best offensive skill may be his shot, as scouts regularly describe him as a "goal scorer" who can finish from anywhere. He works hard and will grind out battles.

The Bad: Lehkonen's size and frame are his most notable weakness. He is small and still needs a ton of bulk. He has suffered from concussion issues as well.

Projection: He could be a quality second line forward who plays on a top power play.

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3. Sebastian Collberg, Right Wing
2011-12 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 02/23/1994
Age: 19
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 181
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 35 GP, 6 G, 9 P (Frolunda, SHL)
Acquired: Second round, 33rd overall in 2012 by Montreal

Year in Review: Collberg bounced around between the SHL and Allsvenskan. He was decent to solid in league play, and he played pretty well in U20 competition.

The Good: Collberg is a very dangerous player to deal with in open ice. His first few steps and standstill agility are top end, and he has an above-average top speed. He is a skilled puck handler who has notably improved his playmaking to the point where his passing game is a clear strength. Collberg's shot is high end, if not better. He stands out on the power play when he gets open, and he has a bullet of a one timer. He makes quick decisions and has a fair amount of flash to his game.

The Bad: Collberg's small frame and lack of strength are his most notable issues. His defense has improved; in fact, he has even played the penalty kill in U20 play, but he could still work on his positioning. His consistency (especially at even strength) can be a problem, as he will go long stretches without doing much.

Projection: He could be a quality second line forward who plays on a top power play.

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4. Jacob De la Rose, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 05/20/1995
Age: 18
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 38 GP, 6 G, 12 P (Leksand, Allsvenskan)
Acquired: Second round, 34th overall in 2013 by Montreal

Year in Review: De la Rose was the top scoring U18 player in the SHL-2. He also was a top line forward at the U18 international level, and he earned some brief responsibility in U20 play.

The Good: De la Rose is an all-around forward. He can play every forward position, and he has two-way value. De la Rose skates well, if not very well. He works hard and plays physically, and when you combine that with his speed, he can be a nuisance on the forecheck. He also skates hard in his own end, displaying advanced defensive awareness at the same time. De la Rose has above-average vision, and he can make some creative plays.

The Bad: De la Rose doesn't have a major hole in his game, other than his skill level being roughly average. He does not have a real game-breaking element, and he needs to continue to gain strength.

Projection: He could be a good second line forward who plays tough minutes.

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5. Jarred Tinordi, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 6th
Date of birth: 02/20/1992
Age: 21
Height: 6'6''
Weight: 218
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 67 GP, 2 G, 13 P (USA Under-18, USHL)
Acquired: First round, 22nd overall in 2010 by Montreal

Year in Review: Tinordi was a quality player in the AHL, logging tough minutes and earning a brief amount of NHL time with Montreal.

The Good: Tinordi is a huge defenseman who projects as a elite or better physical player in the NHL. He is a decent skater, very mobile for a man as tall as he is. Tinordi reads the game well on defense, making a lot of stops due to his combination of sense, mobility, and grit. Tinordi is also a pretty good stick checker due to his large wingspan. He has all the defensive components you want in a top defensive defenseman.

The Bad: Tinordi can show flashes of average offensive sense, but overall, he is a replacement-level offensive player with poor puck skills. He does not have much to his game in terms of creativity, and he still has room to fill out his frame.

Projection: He could be a second pairing defenseman with his value tilted towards defense.

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6. Charles Hudon, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: 8th
Date of birth: 06/23/1994
Age: 19
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 170
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 56 GP, 30 G, 71 P (Chicoutimi, QMJHL)
Acquired: Fifth round, 122nd overall in 2012 by Montreal

Year in Review: Hudon continued to excel, as he was quite impressive in the QMJHL. He would have been on Canada's WJC team if it were not for a last minute injury.

The Good: Hudon is a very intelligent forward who displays great creativity and two-way reads. He makes a lot of good passes, reads the play off the puck well, puts himself in good defensive positioning, and always finds a way to be around the play. Hudon is a highly-skilled player who can make defenders miss while creating chances. He works hard, and will hustle in footraces. He is a decent to above-average skater as well, but not great for his size.

The Bad: Hudon's frame is his most notable weakness, as he is small and slight. He will likely be a fringe physical player at the pro level, even with a good work ethic.

Projection: He could be a second line forward with good defensive value.

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7. Michael McCarron, Right Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 03/07/1995
Age: 18
Height: 6'5''
Weight: 228
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 59 GP, 16 G, 37 P (USA Under-18, USHL)
Acquired: First round, 25th overall in 2013 by Montreal

Year in Review: McCarron's development trended upwards, with an emphasis on his second half, as he got more comfortable in a scoring role.

The Good: McCarron is a huge, tough, if not overly physical power winger who projects as elite in that area in the game. He is a big man with above-average skill as well, who can make unique plays for his size and see the ice at a solid level. McCarron is very strong; when he protects the puck or drives the net, he usually does so effectively. He has the raw talent to be one of the best players on the ice during games.

The Bad: McCarron has several holes in his game, and he is a ways away. His hockey sense comes and goes; while he can make nice reads, at times, he can get lost in the pace, and he tends to make inconsistent decisions. His skating, while improved, still remains slightly below average. He has a tendency to take dumb penalties and to be overaggressive. His defense needs work as well.

Projection: He could be a quality second line power forward, although he carries above-average risk in his projection.

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8. Magnus Nygren, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 06/07/1990
Age: 23
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 192
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 51 GP, 13 G, 32 P (Farjestad, SHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 113th overall in 2011 by Montreal

Year in Review: Nygren took significant steps forward last season, when he was named the SHL Defenseman of the Year.

The Good: Nygren is a skilled offensive defenseman who can move the puck really well. In past years, he had been known for his good puck skills and big shot from the point, but he has really improved his even strength play with the puck, as well as his ability to make plays in every zone. Nygren's hockey sense is pretty impressive, thanks to his good off-the-puck positioning, quick decision making, and his ability to make good plays without much time.

The Bad: Nygren's skating is just decent, and while he moves around at an average level, his stride is a little sluggish. He is not a really physical player, and he will still have some defensive lapses.

Projection: He could be a fringe second pairing defenseman.

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9. Darren Dietz, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 13th
Date of birth: 07/17/1993
Age: 20
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 205
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 72 GP, 24 G, 58 P (Saskatoon, WHL)
Acquired: Fifth round, 138th overall in 2011 by Montreal

Year in Review: Dietz had a very good season, where he was one of the top WHL defenseman. He was named a First-Team All Star in his conference.

The Good: Dietz is a quality offensive defenseman who has continued to develop well over the last few seasons. He is a skilled puck mover who can flash plus offensive instincts. His great vision, puck play, and ability to make plays with little time are impressive, allowing him to push the play in the right direction. Dietz is a creative player who can make opponents miss. He has decent size and enough strength to win battles at a fair level.

The Bad: Dietz's skating is just average, and while I heard a scout say that area of his game is fine, others point to a sluggish stride and call him below average in this area. His defense is inconsistent as well; while he will make stops, he is loose in coverage at times, and he can be overaggressive offensively.

Projection: He could be a fringe second pairing defenseman.

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10. Louis Leblanc, Right Wing
2011-12 Ranking: Graduated
Date of birth: 01/26/1991
Age: 22
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 62 GP, 10 G, 18 P (Hamilton, AHL)
Acquired: First round, 19th overall in 2009 by Montreal

Year in Review: Leblanc had a very poor season, as injuries on top of poor performance saw his stock take a notable decline.

The Good: Leblanc is a very good skater with a high-end top gear and a pretty good first step. He works hard, plays with pace, and he pressures defensemen well. Leblanc has quality defensive skills, and he will stay with his check on defense. He flashes above-average offensive instincts in terms of vision and creativity.

The Bad: Leblanc's offense just disappeared last season, and while his power play time was cut, he had stretches where he did not really display a lot of ability with the puck. He was quite inconsistent during the season, and he had spurts of poor decision making.

Projection: He could be a good third line forward.

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The Next Five

11. Tim Bozon, Left Wing: Bozon is a well-rounded offensive player. He works hard, skates well, and has above-average skill. He could improve his defense.

12. Michael Bournival, Center: Bournival skates well, works hard, has good physicality to his game, and displays quality awareness. His scoring ceiling is a question mark.

13. Sven Andrighetto, Left Wing: Andrighetto skates really well, and he has above-average puck possession skills. He is small, but he has the potential to put up points if he develops well.

14. Patrick Holland, Right Wing: Holland did not put up a ton of points this season, but he displayed a good skill level and really good hockey sense. It is worth waiting on him for another year to see if he can take that next step.

15. Brady Vail, Center: "He's trending up," said one NHL scout on Vail. He is a good defensive player who showed more confidence with the puck last season.

The Sleeper: Martin Reway, Left Wing

Reway is a very shifty forward with very good offensive upside. He is small, but he still finds a way to make plays, and he could put up big numbers soon.

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Montreal Canadiens Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2013 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Alexander Galchenyuk, Center
2. Nathan Beaulieu, Defense
3. Brendan Gallagher, Right Wing
4. Artturi Lehkonen, Left Wing
5. Sebastian Collberg, Right Wing
6. Jacob De La Rose, Left Wing
7. Jarred Tinordi, Defense
8. Charles Hudon, Left Wing
9. Michael McCarron, Right Wing
10. Magnus Nygren, Defense

Galchenyuk put his injured season behind him with an exclamation point, as he had an excellent post-draft campaign, showing flashes of why he could be a potential star player in the NHL. His great combination of speed, puck skills, and hockey sense will give defensemen nightmares for many years. Gallagher was great in the AHL, and that continued in the NHL, as he earned Calder consideration. He is small, but he works his tail off with a good skill level and a great shot.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/18)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/18)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/23)
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