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2016 Top 25 Under 25: Graduates, departed, and newcomers

Before we delve into the 2016 list, we will take a look at the players that are no longer eligible this year for the Top 25 Under 25, and those joining the fold for the first time.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last year we saw eight players graduate or depart from the Top 25 Under 25 master list.

Dustin Tokarski, Mike Condon, Magnus Nygren, and Greg Pateryn graduated, whereas Patrick Holland, Maxim Trunev, Jiri Sekac, and Jack Nevins were either released or traded.

This season we only have three players that graduated off the list.

Player 2015 Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Rank Current Status
Mac Bennett 25th 26th 24th Graduated
Joel Hanley 39th N/R N/R Graduated
Joonas Nattinen 38th 31st 28th Graduated

As you can see, the Canadiens did not lose much talent in terms of graduated players. Hanley had a solid stint with the St. John's IceCaps last year, although he definitely projects as a depth defender. The same can be said for Mac Bennett, who is unsigned at the time of publication.

Player 2015 Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Rank Status
Michael Bournival 11th 5th 12th Signed with Tampa Bay
Gabriel Dumont 23rd 22nd 20th Signed with Tampa Bay
Morgan Ellis 27th 24th 16th Signed St. Louis
Christian Thomas 14th 17th 19th Traded to Arizona
Jared Tinordi 9th 4th 7th Traded to Arizona
Devante Smith-Pelly 15th N/R N/R Traded to New Jersey
Darren Dietz 24th 23rd 18th Signed with Washington
Zack Kassian 7th N/R N/R Traded to Edmonton
Josiah Didier 32nd 33rd 31st Signed AHL contract
Stefan Fournier 41st 38th 37th Traded to Arizona

There was a fair amount of turnover among players 25 and under, as evidenced by the list above. Fortunately, the Canadiens once again did not lose much in terms of talented players, although the IceCaps did lose their best defender last season in Ellis.

Player Acquired
Will Bitten 2016 Draft
Mikhail Sergachev 2016 Draft
Michael Pezzetta 2016 Draft
Victor Mete 2016 Draft
Casey Staum 2016 Draft
Arvid Henrikson 2016 Draft
Phillip Danault Trade with Chicago
Max Friberg Trade with Anaheim
Ryan Johnston NCAA Free Agent
Charlie Lindgren NCAA Free Agent
Tom Parisi NCAA Free Agent
Michael McNiven OHL Free Agent
Stefan Matteau Trade with New Jersey

With the help of the draft, the Habs definitely bolstered their under-25 prospect pool. Names like Sergachev and Bitten might join the team sooner rather than later. In Sergachev's case, he joins the Canadiens with a lot of hype behind him, although from what we've seen the hype is well-deserved.

They also added depth by finding quality players in the NCAA, such as Johnston (who was signed after the voting process began last year) and Lindgren. As for professional players, the Canadiens acquired a few depth forwards like Friberg and Matteau, whereas the only NHL-quality player that joined the fold was Danault.

Several of the newcomers are sure to debut among the top 25 players on our list, whereas some will definitely miss the cut.

Who makes it? Who misses the cut? Stay tuned as we roll out the Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25 throughout the next month, starting tomorrow with those who just missed the cut.