Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen played on Finland’s top line at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Like Sweden's SHL and the Czech and Slovak Extraligas, Finland's Liiga has been hit hard by the defection of top young players to the KHL for bigger contracts.
Photo: Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu leads the Montreal Canadiens Spring Top 20. Beaulieu has spent the 2013-14 season split between the AHL and NHL. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens have a wide variety of players in their talent pool, many of whom possess a great deal of upside. There are players with offensive skills, speed, size, and physicality, as well as ones known more for their character or leadership.
Photo: Center Teuvo Teravainen (C) and his Finland teammates celebrated their 2014 WJC gold medal win over Sweden with a party in Helsinki (courtesy of Roni Rekomaa/AFP/Getty Images)
Most hockey people will tell you that Finland's 2013 WJC squad was a more talented group than the team that skated off the ice in Malmo with the gold medal this year.
In fact, one of those people is defenseman Risto Ristolainen, who scored the "golden goal" in overtime in the 3-2 championship game win over Sweden.
Photo: Finland forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen played in his second U20 WJC, serving as an assistant captain for his country at the 2014 tournament (courtesy of ANDREAS HILLERGREN/AFP/Getty Images)
Finland's top five-man unit at the 2014 World Junior Championship was very effective, with that group posting 39 points in total over that country's seven-game run to the gold medal.
Photo: Photo: Charles Hudon is one of several offensively gifted forwards in the Montreal Canadiens system. Hudon was selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)
The Montreal Canadiens spent the 2013 off-season addressing various holes in their organizational depth chart and now have good balance throughout their system. Montreal's management philosophy is to give their prospects every opportunity to seize a spot on the NHL roster. The organization is not afraid to put rookies into regular season NHL games for evaluation purposes and the approach has worked very well so far.