Montreal Canadiens prospects impressing throughout the CHL

By Jessica-Lyn Saunders
Photo: Daniel Audette's 52 points are good for second in scoring among Sherbrooke Phoenix skaters. (Courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

Photo: Daniel Audette’s 52 points are good for second in scoring among Sherbrooke Phoenix skaters. (Courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

 

 

The 2015-16 season may not have been too kind to the Montreal Canadiens lately, but their 6 prospects in the OHL, QMJHL and WHL have shown that they could have a very bright future in the NHL.

OHL

Jeremiah Addison, LW, Ottawa 67’s
7th round (207th overall), 2015

While Addison started off his first three games without any points, he quickly opened up and showed his offensive side. In 56 games with the 67’s, he has scored 22 goals and 43 points, which is coming close to last season’s outcome of 47 points in 63 games and a major improvement from his last two years with the Saginaw Spirit.

The 67’s rank 3rd in the Eastern Conference with a 30-28-3 record. Addison has become a natural team leader in Ottawa, sitting in 2nd behind Dante Salituro for points and goals while his shots (73) and dangerous shots (54) have helped contribute to the team’s 15 wins in the past 33 games. His past scouting reports may have noted that he never showed much offensively on the ice, but he’s starting to become a strong two-way forward who can not only create great chances and make great defensive plays but who also works hard to get his team far in the league à la Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller.

Michael McNiven, G, Owen Sound Attack
Signed as a free agent, 2015

Although McNiven only played 24 games during the 2014-15 season, he had an impressive record of 15 wins and 8 losses. McNiven attended the Canadiens Development Camp in July of 2015 as a try-out and agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with Montreal on September 24th.

With a similarity to Carey Price’s powerful yet relaxed lateral movement, McNiven puts his own flair into flashing the glove at opponents while also keeping a strong eye on the puck. He’s not afraid to get aggressive in the crease and uses his large 6-foot-1 frame to his advantage. His solid goaltending for the Attack this season has bumped his junior record up to 44-17-14, with 1147 saves.

QMJHL

Daniel Audette, C, Sherbrooke Phoenix
5th round (147th overall), 2014

Audette returned for his fourth season with the Phoenix in 2015. Over his past three QMJHL seasons, he has improved his points and goals total and looks to be on pace for a 70-point season this year. Audette hit a brick wall earlier in the season with shoulder surgery leaving him out for over a month, but was able to get back on track by collecting three assists in his first weekend back on the ice at the beginning of December. Audette’s hard work, fast play, and strong puck possession are three of the many skills that has led the 5-foot-9 center to second place in goals and points (17 goals, 50 points) and to a three-year entry-level contract with the Canadiens in July.

Simon Bourque, D, Rimouski Oceanic
6th round (177th overall), 2015

Simon Bourque’s first season with the Oceanic may not look too impressive on paper, but in the last two years, he has worked hard to improve his skill on the ice. In 55 games this season, he has 11 goals and 40 points, which beat his career-high of 38 points in 68 games last season.

Bourque, going from alternative captain to captain in 2015, has not only shown strong leadership skills but has also used his size, playmaking abilities, awareness, and solid stickhandling to help the Oceanic to 2nd in the East Division with 70 points (32 wins, 19 losses). His hard work also handed him the Joueur Étudiant par Excellence award, which goes to players who are selected for their academic involvement, academic achievement, their hockey education conciliation, their behaviour within the team and their sports performance.

WHL

Matt Bradley, C, Medicine Hat Tigers
5th round (131st overall), 2015

Like Bourque, Bradley has shown improvement in his play over the last 2 seasons. The two-way centerman is currently 3rd in points with the Tigers (19 goals, 22 assists in 58 games) and has beat his career-high of 40 points in 71 games last season. He has become an adaptable player who’s good at creating offense and bringing energy to the ice. He also possesses hockey smarts, allowing him to read his opponents and make good playmaking choices.

Noah Juulsen, D, Everett Silvertips
1st round (26 overall), 2015

Juulsen has had a very dry offensive season with the Silvertips. In 52 games, he has managed to pick up 24 points which are a major decrease from his career-high 52 points (9 goals, 43 assists) last season. With that said, he still possesses a lot of talent that the AHL and the Canadiens will benefit from in the future. The Silvertips’ top defenseman isn’t afraid to use his body to keep opponents out of his zone along with his smooth skating ability. He also keeps a strong sight on the puck and has a hard shot, which has helped improve his offensive play over his four years in the WHL. Looking at him on paper, he doesn’t seem like the most impressive player on the ice but with a three-year entry-level contract with Montreal, he’s got plenty of time to improve and earn a regular spot in the NHL.

Top Performing Non-Junior Prospects: February

The most notable player so far this season with the St. John’s IceCaps is Bud Holloway. Holloway, who was originally a Los Angeles Kings third-round draft pick, signed a one-year, two-way contract with Montreal on January 7th. In 49 games, he leads the team with 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists). After being recalled on November 27th to play with Montreal, Holloway was sent back down to the IceCaps. Despite only getting one chance so far in the NHL, the center has shown he’s an offensive minded player who knows how to put points on the board.

In Sweden, Artturi Lehkonen has had a positive year and warm approach on Canadiens fans who follow the 20-year-old LW for the Frölunda Indians. Lehkonen recently won the Champions Hockey League title, an honour that 48 European pro hockey teams fought for this season. In four years in both Finland and Sweden he has earned a total of 99 points, including 16 goals and 17 assists this season with the Indians.

February Prospect of the Month: Charles Hudon

Charles Hudon - Montreal CanadiensCharles Hudon’s two games with the Canadiens in December left Montreal with a clear vision of what the team could look like if the LW had a permanent spot on the roster. Hudon has shown he’s a powerful forward with great possession of the puck. Similar to Brendan Gallagher, he uses his size to his advantage and isn’t afraid to get on to the blue paint along with clear sight of the puck and possessing great passing ability.

While over the past 4 years Hudon has shown that he’ll soon be ready to make his full-time appearance in the NHL, the 2015-16 season has really given the Canadiens a good view of his talent. He currently sits behind Holloway for most points with the IceCaps (17 goals, 21 assists), it won’t be a shock if Hudon takes Holloway’s 1st place spot in the next few months.

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