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2019 Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: Introduction

Before we begin the countdown to number one, this is how our list of 46 players was created.

NHL: JUN 26 Montreal Canadiens Development Camp Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to Eyes On The Prize’s 10th annual Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25!

The series focuses on the top young talent in the organization, profiling the strengths and weaknesses of players who will compete for places on the NHL roster. Any player born after September 15, 1994 — the cutoff date for the 2012 NHL Draft — was eligible for inclusion this summer. The pool totals 46 players, tying the previous record from 2012.

A big reason for that high number is back-to-back drafts bringing in at least 10 new prospects to the organization. As a result, there are currently 20 players under the age of 20 in the organization. Forty-one of the 46 this year will meet the criteria to be included next summer, and the Canadiens currently hold 12 picks for the 2020 draft to add even more. The median age of the current group is 20.4, and that number should be even lower next year with only five players set to graduate.

The players considered for this year’s ranking were:

Eligible players (oldest to youngest)

Player DOB Age Pos Eligible for 2020
Player DOB Age Pos Eligible for 2020
Gustav Olofsson 1994-12-01 24.6 LD No
Max Domi 1995-03-02 24.4 C No
Michael McCarron 1995-03-07 24.4 C No
Jonathan Drouin 1995-03-28 24.3 LW No
Artturi Lehkonen 1995-07-04 24.0 LW No
Nikolas Koberstein 1996-01-19 23.5 RD Yes
Lukas Vejdemo 1996-01-25 23.5 C Yes
Antoine Waked 1996-05-17 23.2 RW Yes
Jake Evans 1996-06-02 23.1 C Yes
David Sklenička 1996-09-08 22.9 LD Yes
Otto Leskinen 1997-02-06 22.4 LD Yes
Alexandre Alain 1997-03-03 22.4 RW Yes
Noah Juulsen 1997-04-02 22.3 RD Yes
Michael McNiven 1997-07-09 22.0 G Yes
Hayden Verbeek 1997-10-17 21.8 C Yes
Arvid Henrikson 1998-02-23 21.4 RD Yes
Arsen Khisamutdinov 1998-02-26 21.4 LW Yes
Michael Pezzetta 1998-03-13 21.4 LW Yes
Victor Mete 1998-06-07 21.1 LD Yes
Cale Fleury 1998-11-19 20.7 RD Yes
Ryan Poehling 1999-01-03 20.5 C Yes
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard 1999-01-06 20.5 LW Yes
Brett Stapley 1999-02-23 20.4 C Yes
Joël Teasdale 1999-03-11 20.4 LW Yes
Joni Ikonen 1999-04-14 20.3 C Yes
Josh Brook 1999-06-17 20.1 RD Yes
Nick Suzuki 1999-08-10 19.9 C Yes
Cayden Primeau 1999-08-18 19.9 G Yes
Jack Gorniak 1999-09-15 19.8 LW Yes
Jesse Ylönen 1999-10-03 19.8 RW Yes
Alexander Romanov 2000-01-06 19.5 LD Yes
Jacob Olofsson 2000-02-08 19.4 C Yes
Allan McShane 2000-02-14 19.4 C Yes
Samuel Houde 2000-03-08 19.4 C Yes
Mattias Norlinder 2000-04-12 19.3 LD Yes
Cole Fonstad 2000-04-24 19.2 LW Yes
Cam Hillis 2000-06-24 19.1 C Yes
Jesperi Kotkaniemi 2000-07-06 19.0 C Yes
Jordan Harris 2000-07-07 19.0 LD Yes
Gianni Fairbrother 2000-09-30 18.8 LD Yes
Jacob LeGuerrier 2000-11-22 18.7 LD Yes
Cole Caufield 2001-01-02 18.5 RW Yes
Rhett Pitlick 2001-02-07 18.4 LW Yes
Frederik Nissen Dichow 2001-03-01 18.4 G Yes
Kieran Ruscheinski 2001-03-05 18.4 LD Yes
Jayden Struble 2001-09-08 17.9 LD Yes

To determine the order, EOTP staff members were offered individual ballots, and two members of our community were chosen based on the number of comments that had been posted in our weekly prospect articles throughout the 2018-19 season. Joining 10 of our contributors on the voting panel are The JD Man (listed as “JD Man“ for short on the series’ votes graphics) and Cheminot11 (“Cheminot”), whose ballots carried just as much weight in determining the order.

A final vote came from the hundreds of members who submitted a ballot. We received just under 700 reponses between staff and readers, so thank you to everyone who took the time to evaluate all the players and participate in the project.

I removed the 12 panellists’ ballots from the sample. From those that remained, I disregarded any ranks from the equation that went beyond the number a person said they had ranked (e.g. ranks 36-46 for someone who answered “35” for the length of their list).

After removing seven troll ballots, the result was 218 partial lists and another 442 that ranked all 46 players (with one cheeky fellow who answered “45” included in there as well) for a total of 659 ballots to make up the EOTP submission. Ranks for each player were averaged across all ballots that had a legitimate value, and those averages were sorted from lowest to highest to make the community vote.

The same procedure was ultimately used to determine the 2019 order from the 13 total ballots included.

If you didn’t save your list and would like to follow along as the players are revealed, make a request in the comments, and it will be sent to you.

Before we begin talking about the players in this year’s series, we will look back at the first nine years of the project. We had ranked a total of 133 players over that time, and we’ll see how we’ve done ranking the top 25 Montreal Canadiens under the age of 25.