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2022 Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: Community Vote

It has been a busy off-season already with the 2022 NHL Draft happening less than a month ago, then free agency beginning a few days later — and still ongoing with players being signed every day. Now as we approach two months until the start of the 2022-23 regular season, it’s time to begin our annual series determining the top 25 players under the age of 25 in the Montreal Canadiens organization.

When this project began back in the summer of 2010, there were 34 players who met the age criteria for the inaugural vote. In 2022, there are 31 forwards alone who qualify, and a total of 51 52 players [Lucas Condotta was omitted from the original ballot, but has since been added] who were born after September 15, 1997, the cutoff date for inclusion that we borrow from NHL draft eligibility. That is by far the most players we’ve had to rank, breaking the previous record of 46 from both 2012 and 2019.

The players are separated below by position and sorted in descending order by age.

Forwards (31)

Player DOB Age Pos
Lucas Condotta 1997-11-06 24.7 LW
Michael Pezzetta 1998-03-13 24.4 LW
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard 1999-01-06 23.6 LW
Brett Stapley 1999-02-23 23.4 C
Nate Schnarr 1999-02-25 23.4 C
Joël Teasdale 1999-03-11 23.4 LW
Nick Suzuki 1999-08-10 23.0 C
Jack Gorniak 1999-09-15 22.9 LW
Jesse Ylönen 1999-10-03 22.8 RW
Cam Hillis 2000-06-24 22.1 C
Cole Caufield 2001-01-02 21.6 RW
Kirby Dach 2001-01-21 21.5 C
Rhett Pitlick 2001-02-07 21.5 LW
Xavier Simoneau 2001-05-19 21.2 C
Alexander Gordin 2001-07-31 21.0 RW
Sean Farrell 2001-11-02 20.8 LW
Emil Heineman 2001-11-16 20.7 LW
Ty Smilanic 2002-01-20 20.5 LW
Luke Tuch 2002-03-07 20.4 LW
Blake Biondi 2002-04-24 20.3 C
Jan Mysak 2002-06-24 20.1 C
Jack Smith 2002-07-06 20.1 C
Jared Davidson 2002-07-07 20.1 C
Riley Kidney 2003-03-25 19.4 C
Oliver Kapanen 2003-07-29 19.0 C
Joshua Roy 2003-08-06 19.0 RW
Filip Mesar 2004-01-03 18.6 RW
Owen Beck 2004-02-03 18.5 C
Juraj Slafkovský 2004-03-20 18.4 LW
Cedrick Guindon 2004-04-21 18.3 LW
Vinzenz Rohrer 2004-09-09 17.9 C

Defencemen (16)

Player DOB Age Pos
Arvid Henrikson 1998-02-23 24.4 RD
Mattias Norlinder 2000-04-12 22.3 LD
Jordan Harris 2000-07-07 22.1 LD
Gianni Fairbrother 2000-09-30 21.8 LD
Arber Xhekaj 2001-01-30 21.5 LD
Jayden Struble 2001-09-08 20.9 LD
Justin Barron 2001-11-15 20.7 RD
Petteri Nurmi 2002-01-12 20.6 LD
Kaiden Guhle 2002-01-18 20.5 LD
Miguël Tourigny 2002-02-09 20.5 RD
Dmitri Kostenko 2002-09-25 19.9 RD
William Trudeau 2002-10-11 19.8 LD
Daniil Sobolev 2003-03-03 19.4 RD
Logan Mailloux 2003-04-15 19.3 RD
Adam Engström 2003-11-17 18.7 LD
Lane Hutson 2004-02-14 18.5 LD

Goaltenders (5)

Player DOB Age Pos
Cayden Primeau 1999-08-18 23.0 G
Frederik Dichow 2001-03-01 21.4 G
Jakub Dobes 2001-05-27 21.2 G
Joe Vrbetic 2002-10-24 19.8 G
Emmett Croteau 2003-12-07 18.7 G

There have been several reports that the Canadiens won’t be offering a contract to Brett Stapley, leaving him to become a free agent. However, the team still retains his rights until August 15, so he has been included in the vote.

With a spectrum ranging from newly drafted teenagers (one of whom is yet to turn 18) to players who have seen multiple years of action in the NHL, some guidelines for the project are needed. The best way to approach the ranking is to consider the projected value of the players.

Many people preferred the “would you trade Player A for Player B?” method of weighing the options in the past. One issue with this particular method is that you may end up placing more importance on current NHL players than top-end prospects.

The goal of the project is to rank players according to their projected impact at the NHL level. This does not necessarily mean with the Montreal Canadiens, and not necessarily for this upcoming season. Assume every player has an open shot at claiming the place in a lineup that their skill set suggests.

On the flip side, a player already producing in a third-line role in the NHL is likely more valuable than a longer-term prospect who has a small chance of becoming a top-six player. Your decision in those situations will depend on how confident you are that a prospect will reach his projected ceiling.

With that in mind, instead of asking which player you would rather trade, ask which player you’d rather lose. If you would be more upset at the organization parting with a certain prospect than a particular established NHL player, the prospect should be higher on your list. The player at the bottom of your ballot should be the one the organization (and you) would miss the least if he left. The player at the top will be the one you’d happily rebuild your franchise around from scratch, whether that’s a current top-six NHL forward, a minor-league goaltender, or a teenage defenceman.

Any obvious troll ballots (e.g. placing a current NHL player at #52) will be disqualified. The hundreds of community votes we receive will be averaged together to serve as one of our panel entries — a wisdom-of-the-crowd ranking — that we incorporate in the final results.

As we have done the past few years, two EOTP community members will be granted individual ballots. To choose them, I will be tallying the individual comments made on our weekly prospect reports this year, limiting candidates to those with no warnings on their account in the past 12 months, and who hadn’t had an individual vote in the series in the past four years. The two representatives will be contacted to have their ballots receive equal weight to those of staff members in determining the rankings.

Should you decide to do some research for your ballot, you can read up on Hadi Kalakeche’s Catching The Torch series, Patrik Bexell’s European Prospect Report, and our comprehensive coverage of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. I ask that you refrain from discussing the specific or relative order of the players in the comments of this article as to not influence other members’ decisions.

The survey you are asked to fill out has three questions.

The first one asks for your EOTP username so we can validate ballots and find the ones from our panellists (all participating staff members will be filling out this same ballot during the same window as well).

The second is a randomized drag-and-drop list of the 52 players. Move the players around until you’re happy with your order, from the best at the top to the worst at the bottom.

The final question asks how many players you ranked. You must have ranked at least the top 25 players for your ballot to count in the average. Ranking all 52 would be ideal, and the more the better, but just rank as many as you’re comfortable with and let us know how long your list was so we don’t factor in the ranks for the players you skipped.

There is no option to edit a ballot after it’s been submitted as there has been in past years, but you can save your progress and revisit it later. Please take your time to consider each player. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your list for reference throughout the series as the reveal takes place.

The results will be collected at 5:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, August 9, with preliminary articles beginning in the following days.

Your ballot can be filled out below, or you can open it in its own tab here:

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