10 Montreal Canadiens Prospects to Watch in 2022-23

Due to the rebuild in place under the guidance of general manager (GM) Kent Hughes, fans of the Montreal Canadiens have been much more focused on the future of the organization, specifically when it comes to prospects. These fans wonder where each one will play, how they will develop and what their potential might be.

With the NHL roster in transition, several veterans will be traded, allowed to walk away from the team as unrestricted free agents or even leave through retirement or injury. Now that the rescheduled 2022 World Junior Championship (WJC) has come to an end and NHL rookie camps will begin in the coming weeks, some prospects will start to stand out. Here are 10 Canadiens prospects who will be worth paying attention to in 2022-23.

Honourable Mention – Frederik Dichow, Goaltender

Age: 21 years old

2021-22 Team: Kristianstads IK (HockeyAllsvenskan)

Ht: 6-foot-5

Wt: 192 pounds

Catches: Right

The Canadiens’ future in net has become a significant issue recently with the news that Carey Price will miss an entire season yet again, and likely may never play again.  Most will look to Cayden Primeau, but one goaltender in the system that gets little coverage is Frederik Dichow.

Dichow fits the blueprint of what NHL teams look for in a modern goaltender. He has the size scouts adore, but he is also technically sound, quick, and athletic enough to recover when he makes an error. During the 2021-22 season, on a weak team, he was able to earn an 18-9-0 record thanks in large part to his skills which led him to a .930 save percentage (SV%). He also had an excellent showing at the Olympics in his one start, winning his game for Denmark thanks to his .963 SV%. Before he can be seen as a goaltender who could become an NHL starter, he will need to gain more consistency and make the move to North America, which will not happen until at least the end of the 2022-23 season.

10. Filip Mesar, Right Wing

Age: 18 years old

2021-22 Team: KH Propad (Slovakia)

Ht: 5-foot-10

Wt: 174 pounds

Shoots: Right

It will be interesting to see where Filip Mesar, the Canadiens’ second first-round pick in 2022 begins his season. Now that the Slovak forward has signed his entry-level contract (ELC) he is eligible to continue to play in Europe, in the American Hockey League (AHL) or join the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Kitchener Rangers. He likely has little to prove playing in the European professional leagues and would benefit from making the jump to North America where he can adjust to the pace, style of play and rink size he would see in the NHL.

As Juraj Slafkovsky’s childhood friend, and someone that has chemistry with the 2022 first-overall pick, it would be interesting to see them together with the Laval Rocket, even if only for a short time, to see if they can translate their international success together to the North American game.

9. Luke Tuch, Left Wing

Age: 20 years old

2021-22 Team: Boston University (NCAA)

Ht: 6-foot-2

Wt: 203 pounds

Shoots: Left

Luke Tuch was a second-round pick of the Canadiens in 2020. The younger brother of Buffalo Sabres power forward Alex Tuch, Luke was seen as someone who can play a similar brand of game. So far, he has shown that is a capable big-body winger with a high compete level. His offensive skills don’t project to meet those of his older brother, however, he is seen as a possible third-line winger at the NHL level.

After suffering an injury to start the season, he finished out the year with six goals and 10 points in 25 games for Boston University. This season, he will need to find consistency in his game to produce at a higher rate and be seen as a player ready to make the step up to the professional game.

8. Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Left Wing/Center

Age: 23 years old

2021-22 Team: Laval Rocket (AHL)

Ht: 5-foot-9

Wt: 184 pounds

Shoots: Right

Coming off a 21-goal season with the Rocket in the 2021-22 season, Rafael Harvey-Pinard has shown he has progressed to the point that he is now knocking on the door of an NHL job. In his two seasons in the AHL, the Canadiens’ 2019 seventh-round pick has built a reputation for playing every shift as if it were his last, much like Brendan Gallagher has in the NHL, earning him the moniker “Lavallagher” which is a combination of Laval and Gallagher.

He has shown growth in his game, and in his ability to lead. He even started off his sophomore season earning an ‘A’ on his sweater and finished the campaign as the team leader in points. As training camps begin, due to the surplus of forwards under contract in Montreal, it may be too early to pencil him into an NHL roster spot. However, his play so far has shown it won’t be long until he forces management to make space for him to graduate to the NHL.

7. Logan Mailloux, Defence

Age: 19 years old

2021-22 Team: London Knights (OHL)

Ht: 6-foot-3

Wt: 212 pounds

Shoots: Right

Logan Mailloux is a rare commodity in the Canadiens’ system, he’s a right-handed defenceman. His style fits what Hughes wants to see from his blue line, highly mobile big-bodied defenders who can push the offense. Unfortunately, he has not played many games over the last two seasons. One reason is that he has had a shoulder injury, the other is the elephant in the room, and that is his suspension due to his illegal activities in Sweden.

Related: Canadiens Prospect Pyramid End of 2021-22 Season

On the ice in his few games played, Mailloux has shown himself to be capable of playing in a top pair role and quarterback the offence on the power-play (PP) and at five on five (5v5). Off the ice, he has not been signed to his ELC yet, and that is more to do with the prerequisites set by the Canadiens in his growth as a person as opposed to his play on the ice. They have until June 15, 2023, to sign him and if they don’t the team can gain a compensatory second round pick at the 31st position in that round. However, denouncing the pick as some would want, wouldn’t be the best avenue for asset management.

6. Jan Mysak, Center

Age: 20 years old

2021-22 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)

Ht: 6-foot-0

Wt: 181 pounds

Shoots: Left

Jan Mysak just completed his third appearance at the WJC, his second as team captain. During the 2022 tournament, he helped lead Czechia to an upset win over Team USA in the Quarter-Finals, and a fourth-place finish with four goals and eight points in seven games. In the 2021-22 season, he was the assistant captain of a powerhouse Hamilton Bulldogs team, scoring 64 points in 61 games followed by 11 points in 17 playoff games helping lead his team to the OHL Championship and eventually to the Memorial Cup Final.

Mysak is likely to be joining the Rocket full-time in 2022-23. His style of game is versatile, as he is a responsible defensive forward who generates offence by good defensive positioning and a persistent forecheck, much like that seen with former Canadiens’ forward Artturi Lehkonen. This season, it will be important that he be given opportunities to develop in a middle-six role, and fans will get to see how he translates his successful WJC tournament into his professional game.

5. Kaiden Guhle, Defence

Age: 20 years old

2021-22 Team: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Ht: 6-foot-2

Wt: 201 pounds

Shoots: Left

Kaiden Guhle enters the season in competition for an NHL job but will most likely be spending most of his time playing for the Rocket. Even with the trade of Alexander Romanov opening up a position on the left side of the blue line, the system depth there doesn’t instantly mean he will graduate directly to the NHL. In the 2021-22 season, he was essentially a point-per-game defenceman, with 40 points in 42 games in the Western Hockey League (WHL), while also playing a top pairing role and being relied upon to play in all situations. His play led the Edmonton Oil Kings to a WHL Championship and a Memorial Cup tournament appearance.

This season, Guhle will be starting his professional career. His style of play won’t be one that generates flashy replays on any highlight reel, but he will make life very hard on opposing forwards. He will punish them physically and use his mobility to generate a transition game. Offensively, he won’t put up big numbers, but his heavy shot can become a weapon on the power play. Fans will be watching for highlights, but to see him progress, it will take the time to watch several games to see the subtle advancements in his game.

4. Owen Beck, Center

Age: 18 years old

2021-22 Team: Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Ht: 6-foot-0

Wt: 190 pounds

Shoots: Right

Owen Beck was the Canadiens’ 2022 second-round pick, 33rd overall. In the 2021-22 season, he made his OHL debut with the Mississauga Steelheads and put up 21 goals and 30 assists in 68 games finishing fifth among rookies. He also added one goal and five assists in 10 playoff games. Furthermore, an important aspect of being a center is faceoffs, an area that he is already a strong performer, finishing second in the OHL with a 60.6 winning percentage.

Beck will return to Mississauga this coming season to continue his development, where it is likely that he will earn an ELC by the end of the season. He has good speed, excellent skating and enough skill to take advantage of his opportunities and also drive offence for his line. This season, fans will watch to see if he can continue to consistently attack the middle of the ice, but also raise his game as a go-to player for his squad. How he adjusts to the added attention that brings will help to judge his progression as a prospect.

3. Lane Hutson, Defence

Age: 18 years old

2021-22 Team: United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP)

Ht: 5-foot-8

Wt: 159 pounds

Shoots: Left

Lane Hutson will be a very fun prospect to keep an eye on. At the 2022 Draft, his selection by the Canadiens at the end of the second round was seen as a possible home run, as he is highly skilled but faces a large hurdle to overcome, that of his size. His stature was clearly why he was still available at the 62nd pick, but Hughes and his staff pounced on the diminutive defender in the hopes his offensive game makes his lack of size a non-issue. The good news for fans is that he will have four years at Boston University of the NCAA to develop his game, but also work on added size and strength.

In the 2021-22 season with the USNTDP, Hutson was his team’s top offensive driver from the blue line scoring 95 points in 87 games played. His game is based on his mobility and puck handling skills, which allow him to carry the puck through traffic, find open areas and also thread passes to teammates generating scoring opportunities. His vision to thread a pass and creativity in dekes to get away from pressure, while also avoiding physical punishment has been excellent and will need to continue, especially against the larger and faster competition he will face in stepping up to the NCAA.

For Hutson, watching how his hockey IQ and mobility progress as a freshman at BU will be fun to watch, especially if his offensive game continues to be at an elite level. If that happens, he will become a target for opponents, and that can only help his development to the next level.

2. Joshua Roy, Center/Left Wing

Age: 19 years old

2021-22 Team: Sherbrooke Pheonix (QMJHL)

Ht: 6-foot-0

Wt: 192 pounds

Shoots: Left

What seems surprising today, due to his play this season, is that Joshua Roy was a fifth-round pick at the 2021 NHL Draft. Yet at the time, he was seen as uncommitted to training and unable to play with consistency, relying completely on his skill to get away with his perimeter play. After the draft, he found the motivation to change those perceptions, and attacked the 2021-22 season with a consistent effort and an edge to his game. He not only led the Sherbrooke Phoenix offensively but also led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) in scoring with 119 points in 66 games played.

Roy then followed that up with eight points in seven games played for gold medal-winning Team Canada at the 2022 WJC. Playing in a top-line offensive and even third-line checking role, he was able to adjust quickly and effectively against the best players in his age group. He has already signed his ELC and after training camp, will rejoin Sherbrooke where he will be expected to dominate offensively again this season. What to watch in 2022-23 will be how he develops his game further by taking on a defensive matchup role where he can be used to go head-to-head against the opposition’s best lines, while also keeping his production high.

1. Sean Farrell, Left Wing/Center

Age: 20 years old

2021-22 Team: Harvard University (NCAA)

Ht: 5-foot-9

Wt: 174 pounds

Shoots: Left

Sean Farrell was a fourth-round pick in the 2020 Draft and was declared a steal by Canadiens winger Cole Caufield. Since then, he has proven him right at every turn, as in a short season with Harvard in 2021-22, he scored 28 points in 24 games played. Over that season, he also added six points in four games at the Olympics and six points in 10 games at the 2022 World Championship. His play since being drafted has demonstrated a player with the potential to become a top-six NHL forward if he continues to develop at the pace he has so far.

Farrell is an adept playmaker who uses his speed and footwork to play at pace and open up passing lanes to generate scoring chances. He is also a versatile player who has played at all three forward positions but would be best suited to play either wing in the NHL. While he lacks size, he is still skilled at playing an aggressive puck pursuit game, using his hockey IQ to win one-on-one battles with timing and body positioning instead of strength. An area to watch for this season will be his defensive game. Even though he has shown that he is an offensive catalyst, he does require more time to develop a more mature defensive game that could help him translate his game to the professional ranks in the near future.

The Canadiens have many other prospects that will catch the attention of fans and scouts alike. With the new focus on development in the organization led by director of player development Adam Nicholas, there should be several prospects that were seen as long shots begin to step into the spotlight and gain attention with unexpected improvements in their output – which should increase their chances at making it to the NHL. For a franchise in a rebuild, one area that keeps a fan base entertained is watching the prospects develop. With the deep pool at the Canadiens’ disposal, there is no shortage of storylines to grab their attention or imagination going into the 2022-23 season.


Sign up for our regular 'Habs Newsletter' for all the latest.