Canadiens 2016 Top 25 Under 25: The biggest rises, and largest falls

A number of players stood out in the prospect pool this year — in good ways and bad — and those performances were reflected in the 2016 rankings.

Another summer of the Top 25 Under 25 is behind is, and there were some big changes from our 2015 rankings.

The most notable change was the debut of 2016 ninth-overall selection Mikhail Sergachev, making his first appearance in the series at #3. The young Russian defenceman will be a mainstay on the list for many years to come.

We also have third-round selection Will Bitten making the cut, slotting into the 14th position. He earned the highest starting position of any player selected in the third round or later in the seven-year history of the project.

Victor Mete also made the Top 25 after his selection in the fourth round, at #19. Other first-time members were Phillip Danault (11th), goaltender Charlie Lindgren (16th), Ryan Johnston (24th), and Max Friberg (T-25th).

Among those who were eligible for last year’s rankings, only Michael McCarron (10th), Brendan Gallagher (2nd), and Alex Galchenyuk (1st) held onto their placing. A few enjoyed some big leaps in their position, while others dropped after not meeting expectations.

Biggest Rises

Jake Evans (+15)

2015: #35  →  2016: #20

No one enjoyed a larger jump from his 2015 position than Jake Evans. He had an impressive season with Notre Dame in the NCAA, and put himself on the radar as a prospect to watch. He will be an interesting one to follow in our weekly Catching the Torch prospect updates all season long.

Daniel Carr (+9)

2015: #16  →  2016: #7

Voters were impressed enough with Carr’s goal-scoring in the AHL to rank him 16th in 2015. When he showed he could hit the scoresheet at the NHL level also, his stock among the prospects in the system got a big boost for his final year of eligibility. He will have a chance to make the roster out of training camp, and may be a key contributor to a revamped offence.

Simon Bourque (+9)

2015: #30  →  2016: #21

Bourque had a decent season in his draft year, and built upon that in 2015-16, while also being named captain of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. There’s a lot to like about his game, and that saw him comfortably slot into the prospect rankings this year.

Artturi Lehkonen (+7)

2015: #12 →  2016: #5

Lehkonen dropped from ninth to 12th after a difficult set of circumstances derailed his 2014-15 season. He marched up the ranks in 2016 with a bounce-back campaign and exceptional playoff performance in the Swedish Hockey League. That showing was noticed by the Canadiaens’s management, who got him signed to his entry-level contract soon afterward, and now he has a very real chance at playing for the NHL team.

Full List

Player 2015 Rank 2016 Rank Change
Jake Evans 35 20 +15
Daniel Carr 16 7 +9
Simon Bourque 30 21 +9
Artturi Lehkonen 12 5 +7
Noah Juulsen 18 13 +5
Brett Lernout 26 22 +4
Jeremiah Addison 34 30 +4
Lukas Vejdemo 21 18 +3
Daniel Audette 19 17 +2
Hayden Hawkey 36 34 +2
Martin Réway 13 12 +1

Largest Drops

Dalton Thrower (-10)

2015: #28  → 2016: #38

Already outside the Top 25 heading into the 2015-16 season, Thrower struggled to perform even in the ECHL. After a relatively impressive junior career that got him drafted in the second round in 2012, he has never displayed any offence in the professional ranks, instead becoming more of a pugilist in North America’s third tier. He won’t turn 25 until after the 2018 rankings, so there’s still an opportunity for him to turn things around.

Tim Bozon (-10)

2015: #18  → 2016: #28

Bozon scored 30 goals in each of his four years in the Western Hockey League, including the one following his battle with a life-threatening medical condition. That amazing recovery earned him a spot within the top 20. The offence didn’t materialize in his first year in the AHL, and a demotion to the ECHL didn’t improve matters. Based on past performance, there’s a good chance his scoring will return, but for now he stands on the outside of the rankings looking in.

Jacob de la Rose (-9)

2015: #6  → 2016: #15

He received a long stint in the NHL at just 19 years of age, even adding six points with a murderous deployment, and that garnered a spot at sixth in the following summer’s rankings. The past year didn’t bring the kind of defensive improvements one would expect in a player lauded for his skating and positioning, while he had his name recorded on the shoresheet just once in 22 games. Clocking in at less that half a point per game in an injury-plagued AHL season did nothing to alleviate concerns about his game among the panelists.

Connor Crisp (-6)

2015: #33  → 2016: #39

Already well outside the rankings, the benefit of the doubt Crisp received as a third-round pick with a respectable history of offence in the junior ranks is no longer a factor in judging his ability. He’s now regarded as a physical force and not much more, and that doesn’t give him much value to the Montreal Canadiens.

Full List

Player 2015 Rank 2016 Rank Change
Dalton Thrower 28 38 -10
Tim Bozon 18 28 -10
Jacob de la Rose 6 15 -9
Connor Crisp 33 39 -6
Jeremy Grégoire 20 25 -5
Matt Bradley 31 35 -4
Nikolas Koberstein 37 40 -3
Mark MacMillan 29 32 -3
Charles Hudon 5 8 -3
Nikita Scherbak 4 6 -2
Colin Sullivan 40 41 -1
Zachary Fucale 22 23 -1
Sven Andrighetto 8 9 -1
Nathan Beaulieu 3 4 -1

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