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Hudon, Juulsen, Scherbak and Reway ranked among top 100 prospects

Prospect specialist Corey Pronman released his top 100 NHL prospects list for the upcoming season

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Following the release of his team farm system rankings, where Corey Pronman ranked the Montreal Canadiens 17th in the league, ESPN has published its top NHL prospects list for 2015-16.

To view the entire list you have to pay for an 'ESPN Insider' subscription, but it's worth noting that the service is great value it in my eyes, since both Pronman and Craig Custance constantly churn out quality articles. It also gives you access to articles for various other sports. We've quoted Pronman's work a couple times this week, so I would like to strongly encourage anyone that's interested to subscribe.

Prospect definition

For our purposes, a prospect is defined as a player who has 25 or fewer regular season games played during the last NHL season, or 50 or fewer career NHL regular season games played.

Montreal has four players in the top 100, which may seem like a very low number, but considering there's 30 teams involved, it meshes with ESPN's previously released team rankings,  in that the Habs' ranking is quite average. It's rare for competitive teams to keep a stocked prospect cupboard, seeing as how their draft positions are usually towards the end of every round.

The Canadiens have picked quite late in recent years, going 25th, 26th, and again 26th overall respectively in the last three drafts. Four years ago the Habs picked third overall, although the pick in question, Alex Galchenyuk, is no longer eligible to be ranked, due to his quick ascension to the NHL.

Whereas a team like the Maple Leafs, for example, have drafted twice in the top five in the last four years, as well as owning a top 10 pick in 2014. So it's only natural that they'd have a strong prospect pool at this point.

42. Charles Hudon, LW, Montreal Canadiens

Age: 21 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 179 | 2014-15 team: Hamilton (AHL)

Previous ranking: Honorable mention

Hudon had a strong rookie pro season, being among the top rookie scorers all season and at times the top AHL scorers. He's a "smart, highly skilled playmaker" said one NHL source, although while small, still engages physically. He'll need more bulk if he wants to play that way in the NHL though. Hudon didn't show great defensive output this season, but I think that area of his game can grow like it did when he was an amateur player.

81. Noah Juulsen, D, Montreal Canadiens

Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 174 | 2014-15 team: Everett (WHL)

Previous ranking: Not eligible

Pronman noted that Juulsen was a key part of Everett's roster last season, which helped develop his offensive tools since he was used in all situations. He likes Juulsen's combination of skill, mobility, vision, and size. He points to Juulsen's recent performance at the World Junior Summer Showcase as a reason to be excited by the recent first-round pick.

83. Nikita Scherbak, RW, Montreal Canadiens

Age: 19 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 174 | 2014-15 team: Everett (WHL)

Previous ranking: 92

Scherbak is a great playmaker with size who continued to excel at the WHL level in 2015. He's a player with a really high hockey IQ who displays creativity and patience with the puck. He could improve his defense and an extra gear while skating would be nice. Still, with Scherbak you have a player who works hard and has a high talent base with which to work. He's probably one or two years away from pushing for a full-time gig with the Habs.

89. Martin Reway, LW, Montreal Canadiens
Age: 20 | Ht: 5-8 | Wt: 178 | 2014-15 team: HC Sparta Praha (Czech)
Previous ranking: 98

Pronman liked Reway's point-per-game pace in the Czech Extraliga, as well as his excellent performance during the World Junior Championship. Reway's offensive prowess, speed, and smooth hands are the main assets that make him a prospect to watch, although Pronman does note that his size is a legitimate concern when projecting him in an potential NHL scenario.

  • It's hard to disagree with Hudon being Montreal's top prospect by this particular definition, especially considering his breakout season in the AHL.
  • Interestingly, Juulsen is ranked ahead of Scherbak, which I don't necessarily agree with, however it's a strong endorsement of Juulsen's potential
  • It's impossible to ignore Reway's offensive awareness, and Pronman recognizes that the 2013 fourth-round pick is oozing with talent.