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Sports Canadiens' pipeline filling up with young talent

22:41  25 september  2020
22:41  25 september  2020 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Time, TV, streaming info and players to watch as Stars, Lightning open Stanley Cup Final

  Time, TV, streaming info and players to watch as Stars, Lightning open Stanley Cup Final The Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in the Stanley Cup Final, starting Saturday in the Edmonton, Alberta bubble.The former San Jose Sharks captain chose Dallas.

a hockey player standing in the snow: Russia's Alexander Romanov celebrates his goal against Denmark during the World Junior Hockey Championship in Vancouver on Dec. 27, 2018. © Provided by The Gazette Russia's Alexander Romanov celebrates his goal against Denmark during the World Junior Hockey Championship in Vancouver on Dec. 27, 2018.

As the Canadiens head into a pivotal off-season after a surprise showing in the NHL’s Return to Play tournament, we look at the top 10 prospects in the organization ahead of the NHL Entry Draft on Oct. 6-7 and free agency, which begins on Oct. 9.

ALEXANDER ROMANOV

AGE : 20

POSITION : Left defence

Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield might continue his career in Sweden

  Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield might continue his career in Sweden Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield is attending classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and practising with the school’s hockey team. The question is: For how long? Uncertainty over the NCAA hockey season fuelled a rumour that Swedish team Rögle BK was pursuing the Canadiens’ first-round draft choice (No. 15 overall) from 2019. Caufield’s name popped up after the Swedish team walked away from Raphaël Lavoie, who was on loan from the Edmonton Oilers. The Swedish website HockeyNews.se reported that Rögle was interested in adding Caufield.

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 5-foot-11, 185 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Second-round selection, No. 38 overall, in 2018. Signed a three-year, entry-level contract in June 2020.

THE SKINNY : A virtual unknown when the Canadiens drafted him, Romanov was the top defenceman at the 2018 world junior tournament and was named to the all-star team in 2019 when he helped Russia win a silver medal. A left-hand shot, Romanov has spent the past two seasons playing for Moscow CSKA in the KHL where he made the most of limited ice time. He was one of the five fastest skaters in the KHL, can lead the rush and doesn’t shy away from physical play. He sometimes makes questionable decisions on defence, but his speed allows him to recover. His offensive opportunities were limited in Russia because his coach knew he was moving on, but his slap shot will be a welcome addition to the Montreal power play.

The five most memorable Canadiens games ever played

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CAYDEN PRIMEAU

AGE : 21

POSITION : Goaltender

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 6-foot-3, 200 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Seventh-round selection, No. 199 overall, in 2017. Signed a three-year, entry-level contract in March 2019.

a hockey game in the snow:  Montreal Canadiens’ Cayden Primeau makes a save against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 11, 2019. © Allen McInnis Montreal Canadiens’ Cayden Primeau makes a save against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 11, 2019.

THE SKINNY : The Canadiens didn’t have a seventh-round draft choice in 2017, but they traded to get one so they could take a flyer on Primeau. He has proven to be one of Canadiens assistant general manager Trevor Timmins’ best picks. After two seasons at Northeastern University in Boston, where he won the Mike Richter Award as the top goaltender in U.S. college hockey, Primeau had a solid rookie pro season with the Laval Rocket. He also made two starts for the Canadiens , posting a 1-1 record with a 2.53 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. A strong technical goaltender, Primeau also has the athletic ability to make spectacular saves. The acquisition of Jake Allen means he’ll spend another year in Laval, but he’s on track to serve as Carey Price’s backup in the 2021-22 season.

Stanley Cup Final history: Champions, Conn Smythe winners

  Stanley Cup Final history: Champions, Conn Smythe winners A complete list of Stanley Cup champions and Conn Smythe Trophy winners (playoff MVPs).Each year, every member of the Stanley Cup-winning team gets their name inscribed on the barrel of the trophy. Bands have been placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame because new bands with room for more champion inscriptions were needed when the Cup ran out of space. Only twice since 1893 has the Stanley Cup not been awarded — in 1919, when an influenza outbreak caused the series to end after five games, and in 2005, when the NHL season was canceled because of a lockout.

COLE CAUFIELD

AGE : 19

POSITION : Right wing

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 5-foot-7, 162 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : First-round selection, No. 15 overall, in 2019.

a person wearing a helmet:  Cole Caufield participates in the Canadiens’ development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019. © John Mahoney Cole Caufield participates in the Canadiens’ development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019.

THE SKINNY : The Canadiens were surprised Caufield was available at No. 15 in the draft after he set goal-scoring records with the U.S. under-18 team. He dropped because teams were concerned about his small stature and wondered how much of his success was due to linemate Jack Hughes, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Caufield did just fine without Hughes in his first year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he averaged a point a game and led the Big 10 in scoring. Caufield is an explosive skater and possesses an accurate shot with a quick release, which doesn’t give goaltenders time to react. He’s back at Wisconsin for a second year, but there’s no word on when the college season will begin and he’s being courted by Rögle BK in the Swedish league.

JAKE EVANS

AGE : 24

POSITION : Centre

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 6-foot-1, 186 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Seventh-round selection, No. 207 overall, in 2014. Restricted free agent.

a person holding a baseball bat in front of a crowd:  Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Evans celebrates the first goal of his NHL career during first period against the Arizona Coyotes in Montreal on Feb. 10, 2020. © John Mahoney Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Evans celebrates the first goal of his NHL career during first period against the Arizona Coyotes in Montreal on Feb. 10, 2020.

THE SKINNY : The Canadiens’ unexpected appearance in the playoffs provided a showcase for young centres Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but it also served as a coming-out party for 24-year-old Evans, who finished the post-season as the centre on the fourth line. Evans, who was drafted from the Tier Two St. Michael’s Buzzers in Toronto, played four years at Notre Dame and was in his second season with Laval when he was called up to the Canadiens after Nate Thompson was traded to Philadelphia. Evans passed first-rounder Ryan Poehling on the depth chart because he can win key faceoffs — he was the NCAA leader in his senior year at Notre Dame — and play solid defence in even-strength situations and as a penalty-killer.

JAYDEN STRUBLE

AGE : 19

POSITION : Left defence

The five best moments from the Canadiens' 2019-2020 season

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HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 6-foot, 194 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Second-round selection, No. 46 overall, in 2019.

a hockey player standing in the snow:  Defenceman Jayden Struble handles the puck during Montreal Canadiens development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019. © John Mahoney Defenceman Jayden Struble handles the puck during Montreal Canadiens development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019.

THE SKINNY : After playing high school hockey, Struble was expected to spend a year in the B.C. Hockey League before enrolling at Northeastern University, but he made the jump directly to the college ranks and was a perfect fit alongside fellow Canadiens prospect Jordan Harris. Struble is physically mature and finished first in five of the 18 strength tests at the 2019 draft combine. He is a fluid skater who can move the puck up the ice. He plays with an edge and he uses his strength to dominate opponents along the boards and in front of the net. He’s not a serious offensive threat, but he is an accurate passer. He’ll need more time in college, but he’ll be ready to leave before his senior year.

Canadiens' draft prospects: Spinal injury drops Hendrix Lapierre's stock

  Canadiens' draft prospects: Spinal injury drops Hendrix Lapierre's stock The Montreal Canadiens have the 16th overall pick in the first round of the NHL entry draft, which will be held Oct. 6-7. This is the fourth of five profiles of players who could be on the Canadiens’ radar. HENDRIX LAPIERRE Team: Chicoutimi Saguenéens Age: 18 Position: Centre Height/weight: 6-foot, 181 pounds Central Scouting Bureau: 13th among North American skaters. The Canadiens don’t have a history of drafting francophones in the first round of the NHL entry draft. The last time they drafted a Québécois was in 2009 when the draft was held at the Bell Centre and they selected Louis Leblanc.

CALE FLEURY

AGE : 21

POSITION : Right defence

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 6-foot-1, 205 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Third-round selection, No. 87 overall, in 2017. Third season of entry-level contract.

a hockey player on the field:  Canadiens’ Cale Fleury handles the puck during second period against the San Jose Sharks in Montreal on Oct. 24, 2019. © John Mahoney Canadiens’ Cale Fleury handles the puck during second period against the San Jose Sharks in Montreal on Oct. 24, 2019.

THE SKINNY : After a solid season in the American Hockey League, Fleury cracked the Canadiens’ lineup last fall. A strong skater, he was used on a bottom-pairing, was effective to start and among the team leaders in hits. But he occasionally took himself out of the play with his enthusiasm for big hits. His performance began to tail off before Christmas and he was scratched on several occasions before the Canadiens sent him back to Laval in mid-January at the same time the team demoted Kotkaniemi. Fleury came into camp with a reputation as an offensive defenceman, but his skills weren’t reflected in his production. In 41 NHL games, he managed only one goal. He’ll get another shot as the team tries to fill a hole on the right side.

RYAN POEHLING

AGE : 21

POSITION : Centre

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 6-foot-2, 204 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : First-round selection, No. 25 overall, in 2017. In final year of entry-level contract.

a hockey game in the snow:  Montreal Canadiens’ Ryan Poehling carries the puck across centre ice during first period against the Calgary Flames in Montreal on Jan. 13, 2020. © John Mahoney Montreal Canadiens’ Ryan Poehling carries the puck across centre ice during first period against the Calgary Flames in Montreal on Jan. 13, 2020.

THE SKINNY : There were unreasonable expectations for Poehling after he was named the most valuable player at the 2019 world junior championship and then came out of St. Cloud State and scored thee goals and the overtime winner in his NHL debut in 2019. Poehling was originally projected as a top-six forward, but he didn’t put up big numbers in college and his offensive production in his first pro season was disappointing — two points in 27 NHL games and 13 points in 36 games in Laval. He’s a strong skater who is defensively responsible, but he has been eclipsed by Suzuki and Kotkaniemi. Poehling, who started his college career at 17, is still young, but his ceiling in the NHL appears to be as a fourth-line centre and penalty-killer.

Canadiens Notebook: What are the Habs looking for at NHL Draft?

  Canadiens Notebook: What are the Habs looking for at NHL Draft? The Canadiens hold the No. 16 overall pick in the first round of Tuesday’s NHL Draft (7 p.m., SN, TVA Sports) but it’s unlikely that player — whoever it might be — will be in the lineup next season. “That would be slim chance but, you know, when is next season?” Canadiens assistant GM Trevor Timmins, who is in charge of the team’s amateur scouting, said during a Zoom video conference Monday. “So it’s difficult for me. Like, is it in one month, is it in two months? We’re in a different timeline than we are with the previous years. I would say probably not.” Last year, the Canadiens selected Cole Caufield with the No.

JESSE YLÖNEN

AGE : 20

POSITION : RIGHT WING

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 6-foot, 165 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Second-round selection, No. 35 overall, in 2018. First year of three-year, entry-level contract.

a close up of a man in a blue shirt:  Montreal Canadiens draft choice Jesse Ylonen meets reporters after reporting to the team’s AHL Laval Rocket farm team on March 3, 2020. © John Mahoney Montreal Canadiens draft choice Jesse Ylonen meets reporters after reporting to the team’s AHL Laval Rocket farm team on March 3, 2020.

THE SKINNY : Ylönen must be wondering when he will make his North American pro debut. He joined the Laval Rocket at the conclusion of the Liiga season in Finland in March, but an injury kept him off the ice before the COVID-19 pandemic halted play. With the delay in the start of the NHL season, he’s back with the Lahti Pelicans on loan, but he will return to Montreal for training camp. Ylönen, who helped Finland win gold at the 2019 world junior championship, has the potential to be a top-six forward. He has good acceleration, top-end speed and good vision on the ice. He has to get stronger if he hopes to survive in the more physical NHL and he has to work on his defensive game.

MATTIAS NORLINDER

AGE : 20

POSITION : Left defence

Canadiens extend defenceman Noah Juulsen with one-year deal

  Canadiens extend defenceman Noah Juulsen with one-year deal The pressure is on Noah Juulsen to produce this season. The 2015 first-round draft choice (No. 26 overall) was given a one-year extension by the Canadiens Thursday. It’s a two-way deal, which indicates that the team has some doubts about whether the injury-plagued defenceman is ready for the NHL. He’ll collect US$700,000 if he plays in the NHL and is guaranteed US$125,000 if he’s with the Laval Rocket. In his last contract, Juulsen had a salary cap hit of US$833,000, but made only US$70,000 in the AHL. Juulsen, who was a restricted free agent, is trying to get his career back on track after dealing with an eye injury and headaches during the past two seasons.

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 5-foot-10, 179 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Third-round selection, No. 64 overall, in 2019.

THE SKINNY : The Canadiens will be closely monitoring Norlinder’s progress as he moved from MODO in Sweden’s second tier, to Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League. With the Canadiens enjoying a surplus of left-shooting defencemen, they can wait for Norlinder to develop for a couple of seasons before bringing him to North America. Norlinder has a skill set that appears custom made for the present-day NHL and the Canadiens’ up-tempo style. He has high-end speed and uses his skating ability and a great first pass to get the puck into the offensive zone quickly. He has excellent lateral movement, which allows him to evade the forecheck and open passing lanes. He also uses his skating to compensate for the fact he is not a physical player on defence.

JORDAN HARRIS

AGE : 20

POSITION : Left defence

HEIGHT/WEIGHT : 5-foot-11, 185 pounds

DRAFT/SIGNING DETAILS : Third-round selection, No. 71 overall, in 2018.

a man wearing a uniform and standing in front of a crowd:  Jordan Harris reacts after being selected 71st overall by the Montreal Canadiens during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018, in Dallas. © Bruce Bennett Jordan Harris reacts after being selected 71st overall by the Montreal Canadiens during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018, in Dallas.

THE SKINNY : Drafting a player out of the New England prep school leagues is always a gamble, but the Canadiens appear to have won with defence prospects Struble and Harris. Both players went directly from high school to a top-10 college program at Northeastern University. Harris was the Huskies’ go-to guy in his sophomore season, playing big minutes in all situations. He also played a top-pairing role with the U.S. team at the 2020 world junior tournament. He has good mobility, which allows him to move the puck out of the defensive zone quickly and lets him join the rush. Harris has spent the past two off-seasons getting stronger and is more confident in the offensive zone. He had 21 points in 33 games last season, including 10 points in his last 13 games.

phickey@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/zababes1

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Canadiens extend defenceman Noah Juulsen with one-year deal .
The pressure is on Noah Juulsen to produce this season. The 2015 first-round draft choice (No. 26 overall) was given a one-year extension by the Canadiens Thursday. It’s a two-way deal, which indicates that the team has some doubts about whether the injury-plagued defenceman is ready for the NHL. He’ll collect US$700,000 if he plays in the NHL and is guaranteed US$125,000 if he’s with the Laval Rocket. In his last contract, Juulsen had a salary cap hit of US$833,000, but made only US$70,000 in the AHL. Juulsen, who was a restricted free agent, is trying to get his career back on track after dealing with an eye injury and headaches during the past two seasons.

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