Habs Prospects Performance at the World Junior Championship

The World Junior Championship came to an end on Sunday. Congratulations to team Finland on a big win.

I will be grading each individual player based on their performance in the tournament. Here’s what your Habs prospects were up to during the tournament:

Martin Reway – Slovakia
5GP 4G 6A = 10 PTS

Reway had a very good U20 tournament.

Reway had a very good U20 tournament.

We knew he was good, but we didn’t know he was this good. Reway is a small, but skilled player at 5’8”. If he can keep up this level of play and have an outstanding work ethic, he could turn into, not only a steal, but the steal of the 2013 draft. I am very excited to see what he can do at the development camp. Averaging two points per game is insane, but his 22.22% shooting percentage was scary good. Although, his shooting percentage would be unsustainable in a regular season format. In a tournament like this, it just goes to show you just how good and opportunistic he was.

Tournament Grade 9/10

Jacob de la Rose – Sweden
7GP 3A 3G = 6 PTS

Silver medalist de la Rose had a solid tournament, it showed that he was a two-way player with a little bit of grit to his game. Ryan Kennedy, of The Hockey News, believes that de la Rose, of all Habs prospects present at the tournament, has the highest chances of panning out and making it to the NHL. I have to agree his 6’2”, 172-lb frame (he should fill out at around 200-210-lb) will allow him at the very least to become a grinding center, although he has the potential to end up as a second line center with defensive responsibilities. Think Sean Couturier. The general consensus is that he is one or two years away from the big show.

Tournament Grade 8/10

Zachary Fucale – Canada
4 GP 90.16 SV% 2,42 GAA

I am still shocked that Fucale didn’t get the starting job right out of the gate. He proved Sutter wrong and gave Canada a chance to win every game. The fact is, he was hung out to dry against the Finns and at parts against the Americans. Does that remind you of anyone? Shades of Carey Price is what I saw during this tournament. Fucale is a winner, despite not medalling. He doesn’t lose very often, in 141 regular season games with the Halifax Mooseheads he lost only 30 games in regulation. He made huge saves in the tournament, but it wasn’t enough to make his team go through. He will be the starter next year and will dominate. Hopefully he has better D in front of him.

Tournament Grade 7/10

Charles Hudon – Canada
7GP 1G 1A = 2PTS

Hudon should have started the tournament with Drouin and Mantha, the fact that he didn’t, was another curious decision by Sutter. He injured his shoulder, but played in spite of his injury. He didn’t put many points on the board, but he would always cause a spark or a turnover. He was making things happen out there for Team Canada. If this kid is healthy he may make the Habs out of the gate next year. With Brian Gionta likely gone next season, Hudon could be a candidate to take that empty spot. Health will be the key for Hudon as he’s been plagued with injuries in his young career. Expect good things from him in the future.

Tournament Grade 7/10

Artturi Lehkonen -Finland
7GP 2G 2A = 2PTS

Lehkonen had a solid tournament, despite playing injured in the Gold Medal game. He exemplifies what the Habs look for in a player, he’s got energy, blocks shots, and he can contribute offensively as well as on the penalty kill. He’s a real character player, and that is bound to make Marc Bergevin a happy man. He is also leading his Finnish men’s team KalPa Kuopio in points. The only thing missing is for him to put on a ton of weight, at 5’11” and 163-lb he is a bit too light, and will need to bulk up before he can battle in the corners with the likes or Weber, Chara and Myers.

Tournament Grade 8/10

Sebastian Collberg -Sweden
7GP 1G 5A

I was expecting bigger and better things from Collberg in this tournament. Though his output is respectable, he did not show me that he was ready for the NHL. He had the worst shooting percentage (5.88%) amongst the Habs Prospects. I believe injuries and his ice time in Frolunda have slowed his progression. He is still young and can still learn a lot. The Habs need to get this kid to North America in the AHL, where he can play more than 12 minutes per game. In fact, in 107 regular season games with Frolunda, he has 14 points (he had a goal in his first game back from the tournament). If given a chance to learn, with some guidance and direction, he will shine and may fulfill his potential. He has a very high ceiling, but the longer his development is delayed or sidetracked in Frolunda the least likely it is that he successfully achieves that potential. The keyword for Collberg is patience.

Tournament Grade 6.5/10

Final word

With a few older defensive prospects maturing (Dalton Thrower, Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu, Darren Dietz and Morgan Ellis) and the above-mentioned younger offensive prospects, we can expect an injection of youth into the Canadiens’ line-up in the very near future. I cannot remember the last time our prospect pool was this deep. Habs management would be wise to give the Director of amateur scouting, Trevor Timmins, a nice raise or at the very least a high five.

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Mike Gowing

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