3 prospects that could crack the Canadiens' roster next season

Jul 7 2016, 8:47 pm

The Montreal Canadiens have had a pretty busy offseason thus far. GM Marc Bergevin traded PK Subban for Shea Weber and signed Alex Radulov in free agency, both done in the hopes of getting back to the playoffs next season.

While additions via trade and free agency can be nice, it’s imperative to draft and develop your own players. The Canadiens have a ton of young talent, much of which is on display at the team’s development camp this week.

Having young players who can step into your lineup effectively is invaluable in the salary cap era, as it makes managing the budget that much easier.

With all that said, let’s take a look at three budding Habs prospects who could challenge for a roster spot as early as next season.

(Note: Only players on the Canadiens’ prospect list were considered in this list.)

Charles Hudon

The Canadiens have a number of young forwards who are all looking to crack the roster next year. Guys like Michael McCarron and Nikita Sherbak have impressed at development camp, but the player who looks most ready to jump to the NHL is Charles Hudon.

That was further confirmed at the prospects camp, where Hudon looked like a men amongst boys in the scrimmages.

A fifth-round pick in 2012, Hudon was the best player for the St. John’s Ice Caps in the AHL last season, posting 28 goals and 53 points in 67 games. Hudon also saw three games of NHL action last season, where he managed to record two assists.

Though not the biggest guy around (5’10”, 195 pounds), Hudon appears to have the best chance of any Canadiens prospect to make the team next season. Also working in his favour is that he can play both left wing and centre, so he could fit in the Habs lineup in a number of different ways.

Mikhail Sergachev

The most recent first round pick of the Habs, Mikhail Sergachev could get a look in the NHL as early as next season.

Drafted ninth overall, Sergachev was the second defenceman taken in the 2016 draft, behind Olli Juolevi. The left-handed Russian put up 47 points in 57 games with the Sarnia Sting in the OHL, and was considered by some to be the best blueliner in the draft.

Sergachev’s size of 6’3, 205 pounds means his body should be able to withstand the adjustment to the pro game. Even if he isn’t quite ready for the NHL, the Habs may choose to keep him up if they believe he doesn’t have much to gain from another junior season.

At the very least, I’d expect Sergachev to get his nine games next season to show what he can do at the pro level.

Joel Hanley

If Sergachev does get sent back to junior, it could be 25-year-old Joel Hanley who gets the final spot on the Canadiens’ blueline.

Originally undrafted, Hanley was signed by the Canadiens before the start of last season.

After putting up a decent season in the AHL where he collected 13 points in 64 games, Hanley was called up for the final ten games of the Habs season last year. He had an impressive stint, playing steady defence while recording six assists in those ten games.

Hanley should get a fair shot at making the roster at training camp. Even if he isn’t one of the starting six defencemen to start the season, expect Hanley to be at the top of the call-up list, as he’s shown (albeit in a limited sample size) that he has what it takes to play in the NHL.

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