Montreal Canadiens’ Junior Prospects Year End Review

By Chris Boucher

Montreal Canadiens’ Prospects

1999-2000 Year-End Review

Class of ’98

Eric Chouinard (c) 6’4″/192 Lbs. July 8/80 D-Mtl98(1/16)

99-00(final)Quebec 50 57 47 104 +23 105 16 6


#1 Strength– Scoring ability

#1 Weakness– Doesn’t use size

Chouinard was unable to match his point total of last year. But, he
finished the season with an average of 2.08 points per game. Up from
1.76 the year before. Eric had a 25 game point scoring streak October
12th through December 11th. The streak ended when
Eric went to the Canadian World Junior Team evaluation camp. He returned
after the tournament to add 3 more games to the streak. Chouinard’s play
at the world tournament was less than stellar. Although he scored 3
goals, he was unable to register an assist, and finished the tournament
-1. He proved to be a defensive liability and was not used in any key
defensive situations.

Chouinard was twice named the QMJHL’s player of the week, and was
once named player of the month. He scored 4 goals on 3 different
occasions, and reached 7 points during 1 particular game. The playoffs
will be an important time in Chouinard’s development. He is a key member
of a team that has a strong shot at the QMJHL’s championship.

Montreal Canadiens’ general manager Rejean Houle has already been
quoted as saying that he sees Chouinard as a member of the big team next
year. Eric’s talent has never been questioned. It is his desire that
will be the deciding factor.

NHL Projection– Second line center

Current Stock Status– On The Rise


Francois Beauchemin (D) 6’0″/190 Lbs. June 4/80 D-Mtl98(3/75)

1999-00 Moncton 71 19 67 86 +50 99 2 0=20

#1 Strength– Intelligence

#1 Weakness– Injuries

Beauchemin season held 2 key turning points. He finished this season
with more than 4 times the amount of points he had during the previous
season, which was shortened due to injury. He finished this season with
an average of 1.21 points per game. Up from 0.68 the season before.
Beauchemin’s year was rolling along without much happening in terms of
points until one particular game against Chicoutimi on November
14th. That night he exploded with 8 assists during
a 12-3 win. That game would prove to be a turning point not only in
Beauchemin’s season, but more than likely in his career.

The other turning point occurred on just after Christmas when
Beauchemin was traded from Acadie Bathurst to Moncton, in a multi-player
deal. He now found himself on a team with a strong shot at the QMJHL’s
championship, as well as the Memorial Cup. With Moncton, a much better
defensive team than Bathurst, Beauchemin was able to raise his +/- from
+7 to an incredible +50 in a span of 3 months.

Although Beauchemin’s name has not been mentioned by the Canadiens’
upper management. Francois can be sure that his performance in this
dream season has turned some heads within the Habs’ organization.

NHL Projection -Fourth defenseman

Current Stock Status– On the rise.

Michael Ryder (c) 6’0″/180Lbs. March 31/80 D-Mtl98(8/216)

1999-00 Hull 63 50 58 108 +26 50 18 5 20

#1 Strength– Natural scorer

#1 Weakness– Defensive awareness

Ryder started the season off very strong, winning the QMJHL’s player
of the month for September. He averaged 1.71 points per game, up from
1.26 the season before. Ryder had a couple of 10 game point scoring
streaks throughout the season. The first of which was halted when he
left for the Canadian Junior Team tryout camp. Michael had a
surprisingly good tournament. Killing penalties and playing sparingly on
the powerplay. He showed great defensive awareness, something his fellow
Hab draft-picks were unable to do. He finished with 2 goals and 1
assist, and was a solid +2.

For a player who was drafted in the 8th round, Ryder has
come a long way. His participation in the top tournament for junior age
players was a big step in his career. Ryder’s ticket to the Canadiens’
roster is his defensive play. He has offensive talent, but he plays best
when he’s taking care of his own zone.

NHL Projection -Second or Fourth line center

Current Stock Status– On the rise.

Mike Ribeiro (C) 5’10″/157Lbs. Feb 10/80 D-Mtl98(2/45)

1999-00 QMJHL 23 18 31 49 +19 30 4 2

#1 Strength– Vision and creativity.

#1 Weakness-Size.

Ribeiro surprised everyone when he made the Habs’ roster out of
training camp. He surprised even more people when he played enough games
to qualify for salary arbitration one year earlier than he would have

Ribeiro played games at every possible level this year. He played 19
games with Montreal. Scoring 1 goal and adding 1 assist. He ended his
time in Montreal with 2 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of -6.
Just prior to the World Junior tournament Mike played 3 games for the
Habs’ AHL affiliate in Quebec. In Quebec he was held pointless in 3
games, and left with a plus/minus rating of -4. Next stop was the World
Junior Tournament, where he again surprised many people. But this time
it was because of his poor play. Many scouts expected Ribeiro to
dominate at this level. He never was able to live up to his billing. He
had only 2 assists in 5 games, and was often a defensive liability.
Quite simply he was invisible throughout the tournament.

Upon returning home to Canada, Mike was back in junior hockey. He
played 2 games with his former team, Rouyn-Noranda. Before finding
himself on a line with fellow Hab prospect Eric Chouinard with the
QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. He started off Strongly winning the QMJHL’s
player of the week award during his first week back. He finished the
season with an average of 2.13 points per game, down from the previous
season; when he led the CHL in scoring with an average of 2.42 points
per game.

Ribeiro’s season has been nothing short of a whirlwind. He has found
himself in many different levels, with many different teams. The amazing
part of all this is that he still managed to perform as well as he did.
In the future the Habs need to be aware that sometimes what’s best for a
player is stability. Hopefully Mike will come out of this stronger, but
the fact still remains that team management has nearly destroyed the
confidence of an exceptionally talented 20 year old hockey player.

NHL Projection -Second line center.

Current Stock Status– Stagnant.