MONTREAL - It's relatively rare for a player drafted in the final few rounds to crack an NHL roster. But, there have certainly been a few good surprises over the years. Think of Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg - selected 210th overall in 1999 - or even Brendan Gallagher, selected 147th overall in 2010.
Jeremiah Addison is hoping to mimic the likes of Zetterberg of Gallagher to one day sport a Canadiens jersey on an everyday basis. The left-winger was selected in the seventh round, 207th overall out of a possible 210 picks in 2015.
This year, the 20-year-old Brampton, ON native enjoyed a solid training camp with the Canadiens, earning the opportunity to play a pre-season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 2. Addison logged 14:18 of ice time, registered one shot on goal, and dished out six hits on the night.
That brief stint in the big leagues was a huge help going forward.
"I learned a lot from so many players, especially that you always have to keep moving your feet and you have to be able to read all of the plays," said Addison.
Addison did what every youngster needs to do when they find themselves in an NHL locker room.
"When you're there, you really want to stay, so you work really hard and you transform yourself into a sponge and absorb everything you can," he admitted.
Addison describes himself as "a player who plays well on both sides of the puck, good on defense."
"I'm capable of making plays offensively, but I'm good defensively, too," said Addison, adding that his speed is one of his biggest strengths.
At 6-foot-2 and 182 pounds, Addison might not be the biggest player out on the ice, but he still demonstrates plenty of toughness.
"Another one of my strengths is my willingness to jump into scrums and get my hands dirty," said Addison, who likens his playing style to that of Gallagher or Daniel Carr.
His goal this season was to improve those two aspects of his game.
"I need to work on getting bigger and stronger in order to keep progressing. I want to be faster," said the young forward.
The 2017 Memorial Cup
Addison could have made the jump to the pros this season, but he chose to remain in the junior ranks. Over the summer, he was traded from the Ottawa 67's to the Windsor Spitfires.
That deal couldn't have worked out better for him since the Spitfires will play host to the Memorial Cup in May.
"When I found out that I was traded to Windsor, I was excited about the opportunity that I'd been given. I'm one of the oldest players in the OHL, so it's very exciting to know that I'll be taking part in the Memorial Cup," confided Addison.
The Spitfires also have another Canadiens hopeful on their roster in 18-year-old defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
Addison and Sergachev sit right next to each other in the locker room. Since both players got a taste of the NHL - with the Russian rearguard spending the month of October with the Canadiens and suiting up for three games - the pair often talk about their experiences.
"We share different things. We both learned a lot from watching the guys. You learn so much in practices just by watching the way they use their sticks and seeing their work ethic. We talked about that and we're both excited. When you see all that, you want to get there," mentioned Addison.
He actually saw a noticeable difference in Sergarchev's game when the first-rounder returned from the NHL.
"You can see that he spent a lot of time with the team because his game is more polished. Now that he's with us, though, he's ready to make the most of the opportunity that we have," said Addison.
Even if next season is a crucial one for him, Addison isn't necessarily feeling any additional pressure in his final junior campaign.
"We have a good group with the Spitfires. We all have confidence in each other. I wouldn't say that there's pressure, but we're all excited to jump on the ice. My only goal for now is to win the Memorial Cup," said Addison, who also achieved another key goal recently by signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Canadiens on March 24.
An avid reader - and a fan of working on puzzles on his iPad - Addison will also continue studying psychology.
"I've been taking online psychology classes since last year. I just like being able to study human beings. It's crazy just how much they can do," concluded Addison.