In Timmins we trust
So the man of 2012 in Habs land is Mr. Alex Galchenyuk Jr., eh? Well I am honestly convinced that this young gun could have given his Sarnia teammate Nail Yakupov a run for first overall at the entry draft had he not been injured for the entire OHL season, save two games and a playoff round. In comparison, Alex has two inches and ten pounds on Nail despite being almost a year younger. The on ice stats are tipped slightly in Nail’s favour during the regular season but almost identical in the 2012 playoffs. That being said, a season missed is a season missed and the Canadiens’ new top prospect will only benefit by returning to the Sarnia Sting for another season and help fuel the debate. Not that he showed any signs of missing a step when he returned in time for the playoffs and but there is still room for his development at that level. Another year in the O would help him learn to dominate and to win at his own level and more importantly pick up some leadership qualities along the way as he will undoubtedly be looked up to by his teammates next year. Also, as far as the current CBA states, if he does not make the NHL after training camp this spring then he can only return to his CHL team. So realistically speaking, Habs fans will have to wait at least another year before they get to see Alex Jr. playing for the Canadiens. And that’s only the bad news……
The good news is, as impatient as die hard Habs fans can be for the next young superstar to bear the CH (myself included), the upcoming AHL season looks quite promising with a new coaching staff and a huge influx of young talent, especially on the blue line. The prospects are as follows:
Brendan Gallagher (RW) captain and all-time leading scorer of the Vancouver Giants in the WHL. The second all-time for said club is Milan Lucic. Reminds some people of a young Brian Gionta due to his skill set and size but he also has a knack for crashing the net.
Jarred Tinordi (D) captain of the London Knights in the OHL. Was a questionable for being picked so high after scoring only one goal in the 2010-2011 season and finishing minus 9. He quickly silenced any criticism last season by finishing with a plus 39 and leading his Knights on to win the OHL playoffs and on to the Memorial cup finals where they lost to Shawinigan. If that doesn’t spark your interest then how does 19 years old, 6’07” and 218 lbs. sound?
Michael Bournival (C) captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes who he led to a Memorial Cup win this year. He has become a superstar in Shawinigan and is on billboards with a young Guy Lafleur photoshopped in, leading down the hallway to the ice.
Morgan Ellis (D) also played for Shawinigan last year. Was picked 117th overall by Montreal in the 2010 NHL entry draft. Ellis never caught too much attention until he was traded from Cape Breton, where he had 25 points in 34 games and was minus 3, to Shawinigan where he had 27 points in 26 games and was plus 21.
Nathan Beaulieu (D) assistant captain for the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL who went on to win the league’s championship. Also won the Memorial cup with the Sea Dogs the previous year.
Steve Qualier (RW) drafted 86th overall in the 2008 entry draft and just recently signed to a two way contract out of the USHL. He played for the Sioux City Musketeers which coincidentally is the same team Max Pacioretty played for. Pacioretty had 63 points in 60 games and was plus 20. Qualier had 49 points in as many games and plus 16. Oh, and did I mention He’s 6’04” and 200lbs.
All of these youngsters are eligible for the AHL in the coming season so is anyone excited yet?!!!!
It’s quite the roster makeover from last years’ unsuccessful AHL campaign, however one that I feel should still have Louis Leblanc amongst its ranks. He is arguably one of Montreal’s best prospects and has proven he can score in the NHL given adequate ice time. However my arguments are as follows; there is still a year left on his two way contract, he can move up and down as much as management needs. Mr. Bergevin has already expressed his preference in developing players properly and not taking risking ruining their careers by throwing them in too young. Next, some have said that he has learned everything he can in the A but I’ll disagree and my reasons are similar to the points I made of Galchenyuk returning to Sarnia. Leblanc needs to learn to dominate and win at his own level in order to take it to the next one. Ice time with Gallagher will help build chemistry down the road and develop some leadership qualities and we can most likely expect three years down the road that they will be line mates.
In the end, we can thank Trevor Timmins for all this budding talent. He has given us some already proven talent, most recently in Price, Subban, Pacioretty and McDonagh and now a new generation is stepping in. Yes he has made some mistakes in the past but his overall success rate is only rivaled by perhaps Conte and Nill. Hands down he is one of the best people you could ever have at your table during a draft whilst trying to rebuild the most storied franchise in the NHL.
Contributing Editor - Robert Ford