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31 in 31

Top prospects for Montreal Canadiens

Hudon has scoring ability, could make jump this season

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal Canadiens traded their top prospect, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, to the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15, but that was the price to acquire forward Jonathan Drouin.

The Canadiens still have several prospects who likely will contribute in the NHL before 18-year-old center Ryan Poehling, who was selected in the first round (No. 25) of the 2017 NHL Draft after his freshman season at St. Cloud State.

 

[CANADIENS 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the numbers]

 

Here are the Canadiens' top five prospects, according to NHL.com:

 

1. Noah Juulsen, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 26 pick in 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Everett (WHL): 49 GP, 12-22-34

Juulsen, 20, joined St. John's in the American Hockey League and appeared in two playoff games after Everett was eliminated from the Western Hockey League playoffs. Montreal's AHL team now plays in Laval, which is where Juulsen (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) is expected to start the season.

A right-handed shot, Juulsen won a silver medal with Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship and impressed Canadiens management at development camp by taking younger players under his wing and demonstrating leadership qualities.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


 
2. Charlie Lindgren, G

How acquired: Signed as free agent March 30, 2016

Last season: Montreal: 2 GP, 2-0-0, 1.48, .949; St. John's (AHL): 48 GP, 24-18-6, 2.56, .914

Lindgren (6-2, 190) has played for Montreal in each of the past two seasons, though he is unlikely to unseat Al Montoya as Carey Price's backup this season.

The move of St. John's to Laval, a city north of Montreal, will make it easier for management to follow the 23-year-old goalie's development. He likely will spend another season in the AHL.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: MTL@DET: Lindgren makes big stop on Helm's one-timer


 
3. Charles Hudon, LW

How acquired: Selected with No. 122 pick in 2012 NHL Draft

Last season: Montreal: 3 GP, 0-2-2; St. John's (AHL) 56 GP, 27-22-49

Will this be the season Hudon finally sticks with the Canadiens? The 23-year-old forward has been knocking on the door and has impressed during very brief NHL stints in each of the past two seasons.

Hudon (5-10, 195) has demonstrated his scoring ability with three straight productive seasons in the AHL, though he might have to show more of that unless he has a strong enough camp to begin the season with the Canadiens.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 

4. Nikita Scherbak, RW

How acquired: Selected with No. 26 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Montreal: 3 GP, 1-0-1; St. John's (AHL) 66 GP, 13-28-41

Scherbak, 21, is a rare commodity as a Russian in the Canadiens system with Sergachev having been traded and the departures of veterans Alexander Radulov, Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin.

Scherbak's size (6-2, 190) and skills eventually will be welcome additions with the Canadiens, who want to see consistency and plan to be patient with his development.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 
5. Joni Ikonen, C

How acquired: Selected with No. 58 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Frolunda (SHL): 10 GP, 0-0-0; Frolunda U-20 (SuperElit) 40 GP, 22-19-41

Ikonen, 18, won a silver medal for Finland at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship and played 10 games for Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League.

The 5-11, 172-pound forward will play for former NHL forward Sami Kapanen with KalPa of the Finnish Elite League this season, and hopes to play for Finland at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in December. He likely will need a few more seasons before he makes the jump to the NHL.

Projected NHL arrival: 2019-20

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