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Habs hopefuls glisten in 2016-17

From Memorial Cup championships to All-Star nods, this season showed that there's much to look forward to in the Canadiens system

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

It's been quite the season for a number of Canadiens prospects. From All-Star nominations to Memorial Cup championships and a Goalie of the Year nod, there were many future Habs who took things up a notch in 2016-17. Turning heads and drawing eyeballs from their NHL club with their play in Juniors or the AHL may earn some Habs prospects a chance to bring their talents to a bigger stage in the near future.

Here are some of the highlights.

Michael McNiven
Position: goaltender
Acquired: signed as a free agent in September 2015
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 220 lbs.
Born: July 9, 1997
Birthplace: Georgetown, ON
Spent 2016-17 with: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Netminder Michael McNiven enjoyed a career year in his third OHL campaign. The 20-year-old netminder led all goalies in regular-season wins (41) and goals-against average (2.30) and was tied at the top for shutouts (6) in the league, earning OHL Goaltender of the Year and First Team All-Star honors for 2016-17. McNiven was also named CHL Goaltender of the Year in May. Undrafted in 2015, McNiven joined the Canadiens' development camp on a tryout basis, and was subsequently signed to a three-year entry level deal. After a solid CHL season, he will vying to earn a spot on the goaltending rotation with the Laval Rocket, the Canadiens' AHL affiliate, in 2017-18.

Tweet from @CHLHockey: Congrats @CanadiensMTL prospect @McNivenMichael of @AttackOHL the 2016-17 recipient of the @VaughnHockey #CHL Goaltender of the Year Award

Charlie Lindgren
Position: goaltender
Acquired: signed as a free agent in March 2016
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 182 lbs.
Born: December 18, 1993
Birthplace: Lakeville, MN
Spent 2016-17 with: Saint John's IceCaps (AHL)

In his first season with the IceCaps, goaltender Charlie Lindgren firmly established himself as the team's starter, appearing in 48 games in 2016-17. Among rookie netminders, his 24 wins and 48 games played both ranked second in the league, and his save percentage (.914) and goals-against average (2.56) were good enough for fifth-best. Lindgren's efforts earned him a spot on the North Division's squad for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic.

Jeremiah Addison
Position: left wing
Acquired: Canadiens' 7th-round draft pick (207th overall) in 2015
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 190 lbs.
Born: October 21, 1996
Birthplace: Brampton, ON
Spent 2016-17 with: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

In his first year with the Windsor Spitfires, Jeremiah Addison appeared in 51 games, racking up 24 goals, 19 assists and 62 penalty minutes. Addison enjoyed a solid performance in the Memorial Cup tournament, scoring a hat trick against the Erie Otters to help send Windsor to the final. His five-goal haul tied him for second in the tournament. The Brampton, ON native also added five goals in as many games for the Spitfires in the OHL playoffs.

Tweet from @CHLHockey: "Make it rain baby!"������ for @CanadiensMTL prospect @addy1zero of @SpitsHockey at #MCMemorialCup.HIGHLIGHTS:

Charles Hudon
Position: center
Acquired: Canadiens' 5th-round pick (122nd overall) in 2012
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 195 lbs.
Born: June 23, 1994
Birthplace: Alma, QC
Spent 2016-17 with: Saint John's IceCaps (AHL)

Charles Hudon finished second in team scoring on the IceCaps in 2016-17, posting 27 goals and 22 assists, along with a plus-3 differential, in 56 appearances. The native of Alma, QC produced at a point-per-game clip in four playoff contests for Saint John's, and also suited up for three games with the Canadiens this season, contributing two assists and 11 hits. Hudon recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Habs.

Simon Bourque
Position: defenseman
Acquired: Canadiens' 6th-round pick (177th overall) in 2015
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 195 lbs.
Born: January 12, 1997
Birthplace: Longueuil, QC
Spent 2016-17 with: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

After arriving in Saint John in a mid-season trade from Rimouski, defenseman Simon Bourque continued his nearly point-per-game pace to lead all defensemen on the Sea Dogs with 56 (15G, 41A). Bourque tied for fourth in scoring among defensemen in the QMJHL playoffs, netting four goals - including a pair of game winners - and nine assists in 18 tilts to help Saint John to a President Cup win, before adding two assists in four games in the Memorial Cup tournament. The Longueuil native was named a QMJHL Second Team All-Star for 2016-17.

Zachary Fucale
Position: goaltender
Acquired: Canadiens' 2nd-round pick (36th overall) in 2013
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 187 lbs.
Born: May 28, 1995
Birthplace: Laval, QC
Spent 2016-17 with: Brampton Beast (ECHL)

Laval native Zach Fucale appeared in 46 games with the Brampton Beast in 2016-17, posting an impressive 25-12-2 record, and his four shutouts were tied for second among all ECHL netminders. Fucale enjoyed a solid playoff run, posting a .932 save percentage and 2.13 goals-against average in 11 games - both good for third in the league in the postseason. The pro puckstopper was selected as an alternate for the 2017 ECHL All-Star Classic. Fucale also backstopped Team Canada to a Spengler Cup win with a .934 save percentage and 2.00 GAA in four games in Switzerland. He also appeared in three games for the IceCaps this season, winning once and losing twice, finishing with a .919 SV% and 2.36 GAA.

Nikita Scherbak
Position: right wing
Acquired: Canadiens' 1st-round pick (26th overall) in 2014
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 190 lbs.
Born: December 30, 1995
Birthplace: Moscow, RUS
Spent 2016-17 with: Saint John's IceCaps (AHL)

In his sophomore AHL season, Nikita Scherbak almost doubled his point totals over the previous campaign, placing him third on the IceCaps in that category with 41 (13G, 28A). The Russian right winger also added a goal and an assist in four playoff contests, and suited up for three games with the big club, scoring his first NHL goal in his first game.

Noah Juulsen
Position: defenseman
Acquired: Canadiens' 1st-round pick (26th overall) in 2015
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 190 lbs.
Born: April 2, 1997
Birthplace: Abbotsford, BC
Spent 2016-17 with: Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Noah Juulsen nearly doubled his goal total from last season, scoring 12 and adding 22 assists in just 49 games for the WHL's Everett Silvertips in 2016-17. The 20-year-old defenseman also added a pair of assists in the playoffs, and was named a WHL First-Team All Star. The Abbotsford, BC native was a member of Team Canada's roster for the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship and helped his country to a silver medal, registering two assists and a plus-4 differential in seven games. Juulsen was loaned the IceCaps for the AHL playoffs after the Silvertips' playoff elimination and suited up for two games with Saint John's.

Victor Mete
Position: defenseman
Acquired: Canadiens' 4th-round pick (100th overall) in 2016
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 180 lbs.
Born: June 7, 1998
Birthplace: Woodbridge, ON
Spent 2016-17 with: London Knights (OHL)

Defenseman Victor Mete had a productive year in his third OHL campaign with the London Knights, scoring 44 points (15G, 29A) in 50 games, good enough to tie for second on the team among defensemen. His 15 goals were almost double his total from the previous year. Mete added a goal, six assists and 21 shots on net in 14 playoff games for the Knights, who were eliminated by the eventual champions, the Erie Otters.

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