In honor of the Habs Eyes On the Prize top 25 under 25 I was thinking about our future. Their top three aren't declared yet, but will obviously be Price-Subban-Gally in some order (that order is my guess). Eller is four. Beaulieu is 5. Much as I like both those players, we're already not looking at potential superstars.
So what's the state of the franchise. Who are the truly potential top 4-5 F/top 3 D/60+ game goalie prospects in our org? (I'm thinking of Gorges as the cutoff, meaning as much as I love him, he doesn't make the cut. Intangibles aside, he should be top four, not top 3. At best.)
To my mind, looking only at 25 yrs old and down:
Goal: Price and bupkuss.
D: Subban, Beaulieu, Tinordi... (others on the cuff but...)
W: Pacioretty and a whole bunch of boom or bust scoring wingers.
Am I shortchanging someone here? Is there one standout who's not a bit of a longshot, or like Eller or Leblanc a player who looks like they can absolutely be core to a winning team, but should be figthting for a slot on the second line, not the first. Otherwise you ain't winning too much, I fear.
Morgan Ellis and Beaulieu could end up being first pairing dman, like they could be 3rd pairing we never know.
Oh and BTW Price, P.K. Patches is our top 3. Gally has yet played a game in the NHL if Gally becomes what Patches is we are set for the future. I don't think he'll beat him (In my mind Patches is still on the rise.)
I have high expectations for both Beaulieu and Galchenyuk. We've been very fortunate with second rounders and low firsts in the draft, so it would be nice if two very highly touted prospects actually reach their potential with us. Whatever Tinordi will bring is going to be an added bonus to those two guys, but he is at least guarantee'd to become a top 4 defenseman on size and skating alone. Ellis is just an afterthought at this point but I admit I don't know much about him other than that he won the mem cup and some now believe that he leapfrogged a couple of prospects in our pool.
In preparing for the top 25 under 25 I did a fair number of lists for other teams to gauge where Montreal is at by comparison.
They're better than most, obviously a team like Edmonton is better and the Islanders outclass the Habs as well, but the under 25 group is pretty strong. They've done very well considering there is only one top 15 pick in the group.
Having a defenseman as good as Subban and a forward as good as Pacioretty with a prospect as good as Galchenyuk is pretty rare set up. Price being a 25 year old goalie (which is still young for being a starter) is of course another boon, but he's no longer technically supposed to be on these lists.
Overall I'd say the top 3 is almost as good as anyone they'll be competing against, the 3-10 is kinda soft and the 10-20 is solid while 20+ is usually irrelevant.
The big benefit of a large amount of decent prospects is that there's a pretty decent chance someone breaks out from the field and exceeds expectations. RW and D look that way right now for the Habs.