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Canadiens 2017 Top 25 Under 25: Graduates, departures, and newcomers

Before we begin the reveal of this years rankings, a reminder of what has happened with the young prospects over the past year.

Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Be sure to read our Introduction to the 2017 Top 25 Under 25 if you missed it earlier.

There was quite a bit of turnover from the players and prospects eligible for the Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25 from 2016 to now. Of the 41 players who were ranked by the EOTP staff and community members last summer, just 29 remained to be ranked this time around.

An additional 10 players under the age of 25 have since joined the organization, for a total of 39 eligible for inclusion, and a net result of two fewer young players from one year ago.

A large portion of the attrition was seen among players who ranked highly last year. Only five of last year’s top 10 remain.

Graduates

Player 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Player 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Brendan Gallagher #2 #2 #2 #5 #7 #14 #24
Daniel Carr #7 #16 #28 - - - -

The biggest name to surpass 25 years of age and graduate from eligibility for the rankings is 2016’s #2 player, Brendan Gallagher. He turned 25 in May, now acting as a young veteran on the team, even earning an alternate captaincy for the relentless work ethic that had him ranking so high on the list. He had been ranked within the top 25 in each year of this project’s existence, dating back to his draft year in 2010.

Gallagher is joined by last year’s #7, Daniel Carr, as the two players still with the organization but outside the scope of this project.

After an exceptional NHL debut that had many of us comparing Carr to Gallagher, he struggled to find that form last season, recording just nine points in 33 games with the Habs before spending the rest of the season in the AHL. Even time in the minor league didn’t help him find his stride, finishing with 11 points in 19 games with the St. John’s IceCaps.

Departures

Player 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Status
Player 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Status
Mikhail Sergachev #3 - - - - - - Traded to TBL
Nathan Beaulieu #4 #3 #3 #6 #5 #5 - Traded to BUF
Sven Andrighetto #9 #8 #8 #26 - - - Traded to COL
Ryan Johnston #24 N/R - - - - - Signed in SHL
Stefan Matteau #27 - - - - - - Signed by VGK
Tim Bozon #28 #18 #15 #11 #18 - - Traded to FLA
Mark MacMillan #32 #29 #32 #30 #30 N/R #30 Unsigned
Matthew Bradley #35 #31 - - - - - Playing in CHL
Dalton Thrower #38 #28 #18 #23 #16 - - Unsigned
Colin Sullivan #41 #40 #40 #40 #44 N/R - Unsigned

Two of last year’s top four were traded within days of each other in June. Mikhail Sergachev, who claimed the title of top prospect immediately upon being selected ninth overall in 2016, was exchanged for Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Shortly afterward, Nathan Beaulieu was flipped to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round selection in the 2017 Draft. The result was the loss of the organization’s top two young defenders. The Canadiens did target that area in the draft, even using the pick gained in the Beaulieu trade to add a blue-liner.

Sven Andrighetto was traded to the Colorado Avalanche after having difficulty gaining a spot in the lineup where he could use his offensive talents. Coming back from the Mile High City was Andreas Martinsen, who has since signed a one-year extension with the Canadiens.

Another player who finished in the top 25 last year who is no longer with the team is offensive defenceman Ryan Johnston. He was never able to put those puck skills to practical use in his time with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. He did get to play 10 NHL games in his time in the organization, though was unable to get his name on the scoresheet.

The other players to depart the organization are: Stefan Matteau, who has signed with the Vegas Golden Knights after being left unqualified by the Canadiens; former T25 mainstay Tim Bozon, who was traded before the start of last season; defensive centre Mark MacMillan; 2015 draft prospect Matt Bradley; once-promising defender Dalton Thrower, and; 2011 seventh-round pick Colin Sullivan.

Newcomers

Player Pos DOB Acquired
Player Pos DOB Acquired
Ryan Poehling C 1999-01-03 2017 #25 pick
Josh Brook RD 1999-06-17 2017 #56 pick
Joni Ikonen C 1999-04-14 2017 #58 pick
Scott Walford LD 1999-01-12 2017 #68 pick
Cale Fleury RD 1998-11-19 2017 #87 pick
Jarret Tyszka LD 1999-03-15 2017 #149 pick
Cayden Primeau G 1999-08-11 2017 #199 pick
Antoine Waked RW 1996-05-17 Signed as FA
Jonathan Drouin LW 1995-03-28 Trade with TBL
Joe Morrow LD 1992-12-09 Signed as FA

With the organization deciding to go with a more veteran approach for their AHL team in 2017-18, not many of the minor-league free agents added in the off-season qualify for the rankings. Matt Taormina, Byron Froese, and Peter Holland were all born earlier than the September 15, 1992 cutoff date. Defenceman Joe Morrow just squeaked in under the limit to get one year of eligibility.

Antoine Waked was signed after a productive year with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL. He exploded for 39 goals and a total of 80 points, and will hope to carry that momentum with him to the Laval Rocket next season.

Drouin is not just eligible for the 2017 list, but will see two more years in the rankings as well. The young forward should give the Habs an immediate offensive boost, and it will be fun to see how his style meshes with some of the more offensive players the Canadiens have.

There are also seven new members who were added at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Centres Ryan Poehling and Joni Ikonen, defencemen Josh Brook, Scott Walford, Cale Fleury, and Jarret Tyszka, and goaltender Cayden Primeau will all have their careers followed closely by fans of the Canadiens over the next several years.

Where will Poehling rank after being a first-round selection? How high will Drouin place in his Canadiens debut? Who were the biggest surprises since we finalized our ballots one year ago? These questions and more will begin to be answered starting tomorrow when we reveal those who finished just outside of a spot on the official list of the Canadiens 2017 Top 25 Under 25.