Dom Lunardo | April 3rd, 2020
The Montreal Canadiens remain one of the most famous and recognizable franchises in the National Hockey League. We’ve all heard the names who have donned the white, red, and blue “Tricolore” of Montreal and marveled at icons such as Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Patrick Roy, Henri Richard, Guy Lafleur, and Yvan Cournoyer. Fast forward a generation (or two), to the current crop of players on the “Habs” with the likes of Max Domi, Carey Price, Tomas Tatar, and Shea Weber. Although these are all pretty good pieces, they’re a far cry from the “good old days” that so many Canadiens from across Canada and the United States were accustomed to during the 1970s.
Dark Days and the “Next Wave”
However, if we look at the prospects or “next wave” of players soon to suit up for the Canadiens, it’s a much happier (and hopeful) thought in the eyes of Canadiens fans from coast to coast. Luckily for the Habs, they have a plethora of young talent coming through the youth ranks, which bodes well for them and their passionate fan base in the years ahead.
Assuming the Habs miss out on this season’s playoffs, this would be their third consecutive season on the outside looking in and fourth time in five years. With this being said, the pressure to perform (and ultimately win) is certainly starting to mount on current head coach Claude Julien and general manager Marc Bergevin, the current architect of the Canadiens. With the NHL season on “pause” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the ideal time to take a sneak peek at what kind of talent is coming down the pipeline in Montreal, Quebec. Let’s dive in and examine what the future holds in Montreal by ranking their top-three prospects heading into next season.
Number 3: Jordan Harris, Defenseman, Northeastern University (NCAA)
Selected in the third round, 71st overall during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Canadiens have themselves a real gem on the blue-line with defenseman Jordan Harris. Currently plying his trade with the Northeastern Huskies of the NCAA, Harris has blossomed into a bonafide future top-pairing defenseman in just a few short seasons. His skating and puck-moving ability have improved leaps and bounds over the past eight months, in addition to his overall hockey sense and ability to read the game. Harris also made an appearance for Team USA during this 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships. Harris possesses all the tools to have a long and successful career in the NHL. Canadiens fans should be licking their chops at the thought of Harris in blue, white, and red.
Number 2: Cole Caufield, Center/Right-Wing, Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA)
Yup…yet another U.S. born prospect with game-breaking ability appears in the form of Cole Caufield aka “CC”. Drafted by the Canadiens in the first round, 15th overall in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, Caufield stands at a whopping 5’7″, but don’t let the diminutive frame fool you. Currently playing for the Wisconsin Badgers of the NCAA, Caufield is the real deal and an offensive dynamo both in transition and in the final third of the rink. Although that’s all fine and dandy, the real test for any highly touted prospect is his ability to put the puck in the net. Luckily for the Canadiens and their fan base, this is Caufield’s bread and butter. In 36 games this season with the Badgers, Caufield tallied 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points, equaling a point-per-game. CC’s has the puck skills, “shiftiness” and ability to evade defenders with his low center of gravity. Montreal has a star-in-the-making at the forward position in Cole Caufield.
Number 1: Alexander Romanov, Defenseman, CSKA Moscow (KHL)
Coming in at number one is none other than Russian-born defenseman, Alexander Romanov. Selected in the second round, 38th overall by the Canadiens in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Habs found their diamond in the rough with Romanov. The smooth-skating, offensively inclined Romanov, is the crown jewel from a long list of promising Canadiens prospects. The linchpin on a Russian team that finished runner-ups to Canada at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship, Romanov logged 24+ minutes of ice-time per game during the tournament and chipped in with six points in eight games.
Romanov will not only suit up for the Habs next season, but many “in the know” around the NHL are already touting him as a darkhorse Calder Trophy candidate as the league’s most outstanding rookie. An absolute steal in the second round, Canadiens fans will be on the edge of their seat watching Romanov in their historic colors come October. Romanov is the complete package on the back end and will nicely compliment the likes of Shea Weber, Victor Mete, Jeff Petry, and Cale Fleury, and fellow blue-chip prospect, Jordan Harris, to form a formidable D-core in the upcoming years. Believe the hype, Canadiens fans, the future is very bright in “La Belle Province”.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images