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2020 Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: #1 Sprague Ribinsoin

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Perhaps the most enigmatic, ridiculous, and too-good-to-be-true Canadiens prospect of all time has returned to his rightful place.

Ribinsoin bus
Rest assured, the elusive Sprague is driving this bus.

It has been six long years since Sprague Ribinsoin was last named number one on EOTP’s annual list. It was a controversial selection at the time, given that a strict definition of the word “age” would have placed him at 28 when voting occurred.

As explained in 2014, Sprague’s age had actually regressed due to a number of factors that are beyond the comprehension of anyone with an IQ either above 40 or below 379, so he was actually 24 by Canadian standards. We realize that this would put him at 31 now, but some recently declassified Swiss intelligence documents that are only accessible via floppy disk and using an original Apple Macintosh computer have been provided to EOTP. To answer your next question in advance: no, you may not see these documents.

Sprague was involuntarily recruited into the Swiss space program, as part of a sealed court judgment involving himself and a Swedish beet-farming consortium that he (allegedly) trifled with in 2012. Part of his training included being administered an experimental serum designed to create super astronauts. According to a heavily redacted section in the aforementioned documents, this was a cocktail of vitamins, proteins, and trace amounts of the blood of Sergei Kostitsyn, Ribinsoin’s childhood idol.

Elitius Prospekta

The result of this experimental treatment is that his age has yet again regressed, and he is technically 23 years old by Canadian standards. After being expelled from the space program for what was essentially adultery amounting to high treason, and a failed cryptocurrency venture named GlöorpfBux, he returned to hockey penniless, but eligible for our list. No futher questioning of his eligibility will be tolerated.

In his first game of the 2014-15 season with with Glöorpf HK of the Swiss Liga Süpahappifunbäal, an official had the audacity to attempt crediting him with an assist after an errant rebound resulted in one of his linemates scoring. This enraged the young Ribinsoin, who had retrieved a blowtorch and several throwing stars from the dressing room before the team’s trainer convinced him to leave the arena.

He did so by stealing the Zamboni to lead police on a 39-hour slow-speed chase through the Swiss countryside, decimating several beet farms. He was suspended for a period of five seasons, including the remainder of 2014-15. He absconded to the Swiss Alps where he was eventually apprehended by Interpol and, as of course we’ve now learned, conscripted into the Swiss space program.

You would think that being out of hockey for five consecutive seasons would ruin any prospect, but this is Sprague Ribinsoin, so you’d be a fool. He made his triumphant return to the Liga in 2019-20, scoring at the absolutely absurd pace of 47 goals per game. This time, he ensured that no assists would tarnish his pristine stat sheet.

The HK most certainly would have made the Liga playoffs in 2020 if not for COVID-19. As recently minted head coach and Liga legend Tk Vr put it: “Sprague watched a little too much American television, and convinced half the team to inject Clorox on the say-so of some Florida man. Idiots.”

Voting

Eerily similar to the 2014 vote is the 2020 vote. All panellists ranked Sprague as the best under-25 prospect in the Montreal Canadiens organization. All, of course, with the exception of Patrik, who, like former EOTP managing editor Marc Dumont, holds a personal grudge with Sprague that he outright refuses to discuss to this day.

We believe that this contentious beef stems from a run-in they had at an underground cock fight in Tabarouette-Ça-Sent-Mauvais-Icite, Switzerland, in 2011. At any rate, it is why he has been noticeably absent from our European prospect reports.

Top 25 Under 25 History

Sprague was first way back in 2013, then again in 2014. As explained in detail, he has been absent for the last six years for incredibly legitimate reasons.

A two-time T25U25 champ, Ribinsoin regains his throne after a six-year absence. Since we have no earthly idea for how long his age will regress, it could very well be that he remains eligible for our list longer than players who haven’t even been drafted yet.

Rumour has it that Brexit and the current Bank of Canada Prime Rate may push him back to around 20 by next year, but there are many full moons to contend with before that, so we’ll have to wait and see.

History of #1

We are cancelling this section, as the absence of Sprague for six years has rendered every other ranking irrelevant. Frankly, we should have cancelled the series.

Strengths

Ribinsoin is a goal-scorer. It is quite literally the only thing he does, as he refuses to take part in any other part of the game of hockey. Outside of fighting, which he happens to be quite terrible at.

How much does he score? Well, Alexander Ovechkin playing pickup hockey against children and using a soccer goal would be incapable of coming anywhere close to his rate of production. Frankly, Ovechkin couldn’t hold a candle to Sprague if he was given a 900-goal head start in a Liga season. Sprague is everything Ovechkin wishes he was.

Once asked how he felt about the prospect of having to see Sprague in the NHL, Ovechkin said: “No. Please no. Please god no,” and abruptly left after speed-dialing Putin.

Weaknesses

If the fate of the entire universe rested on Sprague passing the puck to an open teammate, he would absolutely still not pass that puck.

Prior to his lengthy suspension, there were numerous incidents of him slapping officials for even considering the possibility that he may be responsible for an assist. He was quoted in the Glöorpf Gazette as saying “Yes, I slapped the ref. Maurice Richard slapped a ref once as well. Richard was also a nincompoop who allowed 422 of his points to be assists, so I shall be the greatest player in the history of the Canadiens.”

His unrelenting hatred of assists stems primarily from his deep hatred for his father, Habs legend Larry Ribinsoin. There was a brief attempt by a Danish television station to reunite them with a reality TV show in 2017, but it ended in fireworks. Literal fireworks; they blew up a firework factory and were banned from ever returning to Denmark.

The term ‘cancer in the room’ is often thrown around too much, but Sprague is quite literally a risk of actual cancer in the room, due to his insistence on smoking cigarettes exclusively indoors, despite this being against the regulations of almost every building in North America. This is something Marc Bergevin says he hopes to speak with Ribinsoin about on his next chartered flight to Switzerland to see his prospect.

Projection

Clearly this is a player who should be immediately inserted into the Canadiens lineup, as 47 goals per game is a lot of goals, and the Canadiens should win more games if they had more goals. We expect that his 47-goal-per-game pace should translate to an NHL equivalancy of 10 at worst in the NHL factoring in the quality of the Swiss Liga Süpahappifunbäal. That production would have made the Canadiens undefeated last season, so we feel that it would be important to make it happen.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to Sprague joining the Canadiens this season is the fact that after the Clorox fiasco, he declared himself immune to COVID-19, and has pre-emptively refused any sort of vaccine. He actually runs a combination pornography/COVID denial conspiracy blog called COVIDVerschwörung.edu that is only accessible on the dark web in certain parts of Switzerland, Germany, Northern Ontario, and Djibouti. It therefore seems unlikely that he would respect any NHL guidelines during the pandemic.

Given this, it seems quite unlikely that we’ll see Sprague in North America right away, but he is still fighting to be considered for Team Switzerland at the World Juniors, arguing that since he expects to be under age 20 by 2024, he should technically be eligible now as well. I’m not sure that Swiss traffic court is the right place to do that, but it’s where he’s doing it, so there’s that.