2022 Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: Community Vote

We will rank 52 players under the age of 25 in this year’s edition of the project, the most in EOTP’s history.

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)

Lucas Condotta1997-11-0624.7LW
Michael Pezzetta1998-03-1324.4LW
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard1999-01-0623.6LW
Brett Stapley1999-02-2323.4C
Nate Schnarr1999-02-2523.4C
Joël Teasdale1999-03-1123.4LW
Nick Suzuki1999-08-1023.0C
Jack Gorniak1999-09-1522.9LW
Jesse Ylönen1999-10-0322.8RW
Cam Hillis2000-06-2422.1C
Cole Caufield2001-01-0221.6RW
Kirby Dach2001-01-2121.5C
Rhett Pitlick2001-02-0721.5LW
Xavier Simoneau2001-05-1921.2C
Alexander Gordin2001-07-3121.0RW
Sean Farrell2001-11-0220.8LW
Emil Heineman2001-11-1620.7LW
Ty Smilanic2002-01-2020.5LW
Luke Tuch2002-03-0720.4LW
Blake Biondi2002-04-2420.3C
Jan Mysak2002-06-2420.1C
Jack Smith2002-07-0620.1C
Jared Davidson2002-07-0720.1C
Riley Kidney2003-03-2519.4C
Oliver Kapanen2003-07-2919.0C
Joshua Roy2003-08-0619.0RW
Filip Mesar2004-01-0318.6RW
Owen Beck2004-02-0318.5C
Juraj Slafkovský2004-03-2018.4LW
Cedrick Guindon2004-04-2118.3LW
Vinzenz Rohrer2004-09-0917.9C

Defencemen (16)

Arvid Henrikson1998-02-2324.4RD
Mattias Norlinder2000-04-1222.3LD
Jordan Harris2000-07-0722.1LD
Gianni Fairbrother2000-09-3021.8LD
Arber Xhekaj2001-01-3021.5LD
Jayden Struble2001-09-0820.9LD
Justin Barron2001-11-1520.7RD
Petteri Nurmi2002-01-1220.6LD
Kaiden Guhle2002-01-1820.5LD
Miguël Tourigny2002-02-0920.5RD
Dmitri Kostenko2002-09-2519.9RD
William Trudeau2002-10-1119.8LD
Daniil Sobolev2003-03-0319.4RD
Logan Mailloux2003-04-1519.3RD
Adam Engström2003-11-1718.7LD
Lane Hutson2004-02-1418.5LD

Goaltenders (5)

Cayden Primeau1999-08-1823.0G
Frederik Dichow2001-03-0121.4G
Jakub Dobes2001-05-2721.2G
Joe Vrbetic2002-10-2419.8G
Emmett Croteau2003-12-0718.7G

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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