With the Montreal Canadiens so far out of the playoff picture, it’s as good a time as any to check in on their prospects.
In October and November, we turned to key people in the organization—from director of player development Martin Lapointe to Laval Rocket coach Sylvain Lefebvre—for in-depth assessments of the players closest to piercing through at the NHL level. And, in December, we took a closer look at the draft class of 2017.
Now that the World Junior Championship is behind us, we’re stepping back and taking a broader view. Here’s a look at how Canadiens prospects are doing in the various leagues they’re playing.
REASON FOR OPTIMISM
Cayden Primeau, G
Drafted: Seventh round, 199th overall, 2017
Team: Northeastern University Huskies | GP: 16 | Record: 8-3-3 | SP: .924 | GAA: 1.90
The kid who everyone passed on at the draft is having a whale of a season as a rookie at Northeastern.
He was the NCAA’s rookie of the month in December, and was also named goaltender of the month, with a 4-0-1 record, an eye-popping .957 save percentage and a 1.19 goals-against average.
AHL, LAVAL ROCKET
Nikita Scherbak, RW
Drafted: First round, 26th overall, 2014.
GP: 17 | G: 6 | A: 15 | P: 21 | -1
That Scherbak is over a point-per-game this season is a major step forward in his development. He turned 22 on Dec. 30 and has five goals and seven assists in 11 games since returning from minor knee surgery. Scherbak has played two games with the Canadiens this season and there’s a chance he’ll play some more considering how well he’s doing in the AHL. But there’s plenty of merit in keeping him down so he can play big minutes and continue to build up his confidence as an offensive producer.
Noah Juulsen, D
Drafted: First round, 26th overall, 2015.
GP: 17 | G: 1 | A: 1 | P: 2 | +2
A western conference scout based in Montreal, who has attended several Rocket games recently, had a lot of good things to say about Juulsen’s development.
“He’s a good one,” said the scout.
It may not show in the offensive zone, but Juulsen’s all-around game is what compels the Canadiens most. He makes good decisions with the puck, a good first pass more often than not, and he has a physical edge to his game. All of that has been on display through his first 17 games at the pro level, …read more