Canadiens junior prospects 2009-10 review

By Ian Bross

With many of their prospects currently in the minor professional leagues, the Canadiens are scarcely represented in the junior ranks. Two forwards, a defenseman, and a goaltender made up Montreal’s junior contingent in 2009-10.

QMJHL


Gabriel Dumont, C – Drummondville Voltigeurs

Acquired: 5th round, 139th overall, 2009

Dumont’s production exploded this year, as Drummondville dominated the QMJHL during the regular season. When all was said and done, the Voltigeurs ranked second overall as a team in goals for, and second in the overall standings as well. Dumont managed to set new career-high marks in each of the major statistical categories. Through 61 games, the fifth-round draft choice and Ville Degelis native scored 51 goals and 42 assists for a total of 93 points, tying him for third in the QMJHL in scoring. Dumont put up 49 points a year ago. In addition to his production, Dumont also received the Guy Carbonneau Golden Puck award for Best Defensive Forward.

Though a smaller player at 5’10 180 pounds, Dumont battles hard (as evidenced by his 127 penalty minutes) and has undeniably strong hockey sense. He and his team are currently battling the Moncton Wildcats in third round of the postseason. Building on his regular-season success, Dumont has tallied 10 goals and seven assists in nine games, leading the team.


Philippe Lefebvre, LW – Drummondville Voltigeurs

Acquired: Free Agent (2009)

A 2009-eligible, Lefebvre was signed to a contract by the Canadiens not long before the 2009-10 season got underway. As a 19-year-old, Lefebvre spent his year with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL as a teammate of Gabriel Dumont. Lefebvre played in 66 total contests this season, and scored 26 goals while assisting on 29 others, eking out improvements over his previous bests. In the playoffs thus far, he has scored two goals and four assists, as Drummondville plays on as one of the final four active teams.

Lefebvre is 5’11 and weighs in at 186 pounds. He is a smart, two-way forward, and not a particularly physical player. Lefebvre is projected to have the upside of a third-line forward.

USHL

Mac Bennett, D – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Acquired: 3rd round, 79th overall, 2009

As a rookie defender, Bennett proved he could play in any situation. A USHL all-star,  Bennett logs ice time on special teams, both killing penalties and on the power play. Bennett compiled nine goals and 15 assists in 53 games this year. Of that, 14 points came with the man advantage. Three of Bennett’s goals were also game-winners.

Bennett is a smooth skater with excellent speed. He confident and poised when handling the puck, and makes a good first pass, thus avoiding unforced errors. Competing last year in prep school, Bennett played a much looser, more aggressive style. Bennett told Hockey’s Future that Montreal emphasized that he improve the defensive side of his game.

"I’m a lot better in my defensive zone than I was when I came from Hotchkiss," he said at the end of January. "I’m becoming more of a two-way player."

Bennett suffers from a lack of size at 5’11, 171 pounds, but nevertheless is not one to shy from contact. He is confident that he can handle higher levels of play.

"Obviously as you go up the ladder you’ve got to get a little bit bigger and a litttle bit stronger and I’m still trying to do that," he said.

The USHL is just a brief stop-off for Bennett.

"It was a pretty big jump coming from Prep," said Bennett. "But I’m having a blast."

The RoughRiders will play a deciding game five in their opening round playoff series April 14. After winning the first two games with Bennett in the lineup, Cedar Rapids lost the following two games in Bennett’s absence.

Next season, the 19-year-old will join the blueline corps of the University of Michigan Wolverines.

OHL


Jason Missiaen, G – Peterborough Petes

Acquired: 4th round, 116th overall, 2008

Missiaen is in his fourth full year in the OHL, currently a member of the Peterborough Petes. In the role of starter, the 19-year-old, Missiaen has seen his share of difficulty. On the year, he put together a 3.68 goals-against average, and .901 save percentage. He posted a record of 27-29-3 during the regular season. Peterborough was swiftly eliminated from postseason play, swept in the first round by Mississauga.

The Canadiens decided to take a chance in the fourth round of the 2008 draft on Missiaen, who is quite an intriguing prospect. He is very much a project, given his extraordinary stature, standing 6’8". At his position, there are numerous common technical challenges one is faced with – and Missiaen is not an exception. Like other lanky netminders that have preceded him, Missiaen has issues with his lateral movement. Not surprisingly, he relies heavily on his size in order to take away open net. Missiaen still has a significant amount of developing to do, wherever he plays next season.

Holly Gunning contributed to this article.