2020 Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: Introduction

Before we begin the countdown to number one, this is how our list of 43 players was created.

It’s time to begin Eyes On The Prize’s 11th annual Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25!

The series focuses on the top young talent in the organization, projecting their skills to identify who will compete (or not) for places on the NHL roster in the future, slotting them in among those who’ve already made it. Any player born after September 15, 1995 — the cutoff date for the 2020 NHL Draft — was eligible for inclusion. The pool totals 43 players, which is the lowest number since 2017.

A few players left the organization, while only eight new additions were made (the members of the Canadiens’ 2020 Draft class) and therefore the number of prospects and roster players in the system has dropped. Part of that was by design, as Marc Bergevin traded away several of his picks for the recent draft in order to move down to next year. As it stands, the organization is set to make 14 selections in 2021, at a draft they’ll hope can be held at the Bell Centre. Many of the roster holes are now plugged for a few seasons, and only two players are set to graduate from this project over the course of this season, so the drop in number of players to rank could be just temporary, with a big explosion next year.

The players considered for this year’s ranking, sorted from oldest to youngest, were:

Eligible players

PlayerDOBAgePosEligible for 2021
Lukas Vejdemo1996-01-2524.8CNo
Jake Evans1996-06-0224.4CNo
Otto Leskinen1997-02-0623.7LDYes
Alexandre Alain1997-03-0323.7RWYes
Noah Juulsen1997-04-0223.6RDYes
Michael McNiven1997-07-0923.3GYes
Hayden Verbeek1997-10-1723.0CYes
Arvid Henrikson1998-02-2322.7RDYes
Arsen Khisamutdinov1998-02-2622.7LWYes
Michael Pezzetta1998-03-1322.6LWYes
Victor Mete1998-06-0722.4LDYes
Cale Fleury1998-11-1922.0RDYes
Ryan Poehling1999-01-0321.8CYes
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard1999-01-0621.8LWYes
Brett Stapley1999-02-2321.7CYes
Joël Teasdale1999-03-1121.6LWYes
Joni Ikonen1999-04-1421.6CYes
Josh Brook1999-06-1721.4RDYes
Nick Suzuki1999-08-1021.2CYes
Cayden Primeau1999-08-1821.2GYes
Jack Gorniak1999-09-1521.1LWYes
Jesse Ylönen1999-10-0321.1RWYes
Alexander Romanov2000-01-0620.8LDYes
Jacob Olofsson2000-02-0820.7CYes
Mattias Norlinder2000-04-1220.6LDYes
Cam Hillis2000-06-2420.4CYes
Jesperi Kotkaniemi2000-07-0620.3CYes
Jordan Harris2000-07-0720.3LDYes
Gianni Fairbrother2000-09-3020.1LDYes
Jacob LeGuerrier2000-11-2219.9LDYes
Cole Caufield2001-01-0219.8RWYes
Rhett Pitlick2001-02-0719.7LWYes
Frederik Dichow2001-03-0119.7GYes
Kieran Ruscheinski2001-03-0519.7LDYes
Jakub Dobes2001-05-2719.4GYes
Alexander Gordin2001-07-3119.3RWYes
Jayden Struble2001-09-0819.1LDYes
Sean Farrell2001-11-0219.0LWYes
Kaiden Guhle2002-01-1818.8LDYes
Luke Tuch2002-03-0718.7LWYes
Blake Biondi2002-04-2418.5CYes
Jan Mysak2002-06-2418.4CYes
Jack Smith2002-07-0618.3CYes

To determine the order, EOTP staff members were offered individual ballots, and two members of our community were chosen based on the number of comments that had been posted in our weekly prospect articles throughout the 2019-20 season, with past particpants and those with poor moderation histories passed over to find our selections. Joining 11 of our contributors on the voting panel are ‘be yours to hold it high’ (listed as “be yours“ for short on the series’ voting graphics) and Stefan70, whose ballots carried just as much weight in determining the order.

A final vote came from the hundreds of members who submitted a ballot. We received over 400 reponses this time around between staff and readers, so thank you to everyone who took the time to evaluate players and participate in the project.

I removed the 13 individual panellist ballots from the sample. From those that remained, I disregarded any ranks that went beyond the number a person said they had ranked (e.g. ranks 36-43 for someone who answered “35” for the length of their list).

After removing just two spoiled ballots, the result was 122 partial lists with at least 25 ranks and another 297 that ranked all 43 players (after one person wrote a number that was one less than the full list last year, this year the “cheeky vote” total reached five members, who answered “42”) for a total of 419 ballots to make up the EOTP submission. Ranks for each player were averaged across all ballots that had the player in question ranked, and those averages were sorted from lowest to highest to make the community vote.

The same procedure was ultimately used to determine the 2020 order from the 14 total ballots included.

If you didn’t save your list and would like to follow along as the players are revealed, make a request in the comments, and it will be sent to you.

Before we begin talking about the players in this year’s series, we will look back at the first 10 years of the project. We had ranked a total of 147 players over the first decade of the project, and we’ll see how we’ve done ranking the top 25 Montreal Canadiens under the age of 25 over that time.

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