The Montreal Canadiens have been promoting prospects, waiving depth players, and trading for young assets in recent days, shaking up the alignment of the organization in preparation of a new NHL season. Here is how the players in the system slot in among the various tiers.
The 2018 NHL Draft brought significant additions to the prospect pool, especially at centre, and also netted the club a player who will make his NHL debut immediately. Jesperi Kotkaniemi will at least be on the roster when the team plays its first game on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t just via the draft that the Canadiens bolstered the middle of the ice. It came at the expense of two of their top offensive players, but they added Max Domi and Nick Suzuki, while also adding an NHL winger in Tomas Tatar. Signings of Michael Chaput, Matthew Peca, and Hayden Verbeek have also helped out at the AHL level, and with everyone clearing waivers (perhaps something unexpected when they were all signed), the minor-league depth is overstuffed with replacement players.
The goaltending depth has shifted to a quality over quantity approach, and by now everyone knows just how good a prospect Cayden Primeau is.
The biggest weakness in the organization is the defence, with few promising players at the AHL level to replace those on a defence corps that was among the NHL’s worst last season. But there is a handful of exciting prospects now in the system, with good players on both sides of the ice, so that area has at least been somewhat addressed over the last few years.
The NHL roster is mostly finalized, with the impending return of Andrew Shaw threatening to toss a monkey wrench into what has been a surprisingly smooth pre-season shuffle throughout the organization. How the team handles that situation is the main storyline regarding the makeup of the 2018-19 Canadiens roster as the season gets set to begin.
The depth chart, updated regularly, can always be found here.