Scherbak rises to top of Montreal Canadiens prospects heap

By Shawn Wilken

Photo: Michael McCarron’s three points helped the Oshawa Generals win the Memorial Cup Championship on May 31st. (Courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

Photo: Michael McCarron’s three points helped the Oshawa Generals win the Memorial Cup Championship on May 31st. (Courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

 

10. (10) Darren Dietz, D, 7.0 C
Drafted 5th round, 138th overall, 2011

For a defenceman that put up excellent numbers in the WHL prior to his transition into the AHL, one Dietz’s 4 goals and 17 points last season might be disappointing to some. Still, he secured a top-four role with the Bulldogs last year and played in all situations. With the Canadiens defensive depth being too deep to crack at this time, Dietz will get the chance to log big minutes in Saint-John’s, play a similar role to the one he was in last year, and hopefully improve his production numbers—provided strategies are altered.

9. (7) Zachary Fucale, G, 7.0 C
Drafted 2nd round, 36th overall, 2013

Zachary Fucale faced a surplus of shots in Halifax, and his stats took a dip. He lost as many games as he did the year previous in half the starts, and was eventually traded to the Quebec Remparts. He rebounded well in the playoffs and shone in the Memorial Cup Tournament, where he appeared in five games. Fucale put up an effort worthy of a nod and he did everything in his power to keep the score respectable and close enough for his team to win. Earlier in the year, Fucale went undefeated at the World Juniors, posting two shutouts en route to a Gold medal win. He will likely get ample starting time with Brampton in the ECHL.

8. (8) Martin Reway, LW 7.0 C
Drafted 4th round, 116th overall, 2013

Oozing with offensive talent, Martin Reway finds himself in the same spot as last year after a successful season with HC Sparta Praha. His size is a legitimate concern, as it is for any other undersized player, but Reway has packed on some significant weight and muscle mass. His pass-first mentality led to 28 assists in 34 games. He also posted one goal and seven points in eight playoff games, and tallied four goals and nine points in seven games for Slovakia at the World Juniors—winning the bronze medal. He has one year left with Sparta before he will think about heading back to North America.

7. (NR) Noah Juulsen, D, 7.5 C
Drafted 1st round, 26th overall, 2015

Noah Juulsen was a key to the Everett Silvertips success last season, playing in all situations for the team. Prior to last season, Juulsen had put up 10 points in 59 games, but last season he shocked the junior hockey world when he posted 9 goals and 52 points in 68 games. He also landed a spot on Team Canada’s Summer Showcase, putting on a display of defensive skills and gap control, becoming one of the better defenders on the team’s roster. He will be fighting for a spot on Team Canada’s roster this season, and will return to Everett for what should be a final season.

6. (5) Sven Andrighetto, RW, 7.5 C
Drafted 3rd round, 86th overall, 2013

Sven Andrighetto stormed onto the scene last year, playing a total of 12 games with the Canadiens and scoring two goals in his first few games. He managed three points in his time with the team, but his role was quickly reduced to a bottom-six role. He quickly found himself playing less, deployed in more defensive zone starts, and before long, was sent back to Hamilton. He still managed 14 goals and 43 points in 60 games with the Bulldogs and is highly-regarded as one of the more prominent offensive-minded forwards in the Canadiens prospect pool today.

5. (1) Jarred Tinordi, D, 7.5 C
Drafted 1st round, 22nd overall, 2010

Last year, Jarred Tinordi made progress towards capturing a spot with the Canadiens on a more-permanent basis. Playing in 13 games with the big club, he registered two assists and averaged 12:04 of ice time. His puck possession stats were average at best, but Tinordi provides much-needed physicality on the team’s bottom pairing. The time may be now or never for Tinordi, as he enters the 2015-16 season on a one-year deal and is no longer waiver-exempt. Last year took some unexpected twists when he was sent back down to Hamilton and then later suffered a concussion after being knocked-out in a fight.

4. (3) Charles Hudon, LW, 7.5 C
Drafted 5th round, 122nd overall, 2012

In his first full season in the AHL, Charles Hudon impressed everyone. He posted 19 goals and 57 points in 75 games and finished among the top scorers in Hamilton. He was named Rookie of the Month at the end of November after scoring 5 goals and 14 points in 12 games. Of those five goals, three of them were game-winners. Hudon also closed out the season strong by scoring five goals in the final ten games. Knowing a call-up was unlikely, he chose to focus on improving his game at the AHL level, and he was rewarded with an AHL All-Star Game appearance.

3. (4) Mike McCarron, RW/C, 7.5 C
Drafted 1st round, 25th overall, 2013

Heading into last season, Mike McCarron’s conditioning was a major concern. He split the season between the London Knights and the Oshawa Generals, traded after posting 22 goals and 41 points in 25 games. His production took a hit with Oshawa, but McCarron became a more complete player—and finished the season with 68 points in 56 games. He made a further case for himself during the playoffs, where he scored 9 goals and 18 points in 21 games. McCarron was then a force during the Memorial Cup, playing a pivotal role in the Generals victory.

2. (6) Jacob de la Rose, C, 7.5 C
Drafted 2nd round, 34th overall, 2013

No prospect in this year’s list played more time in the NHL last season than Jacob De La Rose. After putting up 11 points in 37 games with the Bulldogs primarily in a shut-down role, De La Rose went on to captain Team Sweden at the World Juniors before making his way to Montreal. It started off as a try-out, but then extended to a 33-game stint, where he would score four goals and two assists while taking on quality competition.

De La Rose was deployed in a shut-down role during the first-round match-up against the Ottawa Senators, and was even placed on the penalty kill and tasked with late-game assignments.

1. (2) Nikita Scherbak, RW, 7.5 C
Drafted 1st round, 26th overall, 2014

From runner-up to the top of the mountain in 2015, Nikita Scherbak is our most promising prospect this fall. When it comes to offence, there is no other prospect more exciting than the 19-year-old spark plug. In 65 games last season, he put up 27 goals and improved to a career-high 82 points. For a second consecutive season, he was a point-per-game player, and he also finished with an impressive plus-33 rating, up from his minus-6 from the season prior. He also managed three goals and eight points in eleven playoff games with the Silvertips, where he plays with fellow Canadien draftee Noah Juulsen.

Inexplicably left off of the Russian team at the World Junior Championships, it is expected that he will be a part of their roster for the 2016 tournament.

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