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With training camp set to start in mere days, it's time to unveil HabsWorld's annual prospect rankings. Once again, every eligible prospect in the system has been ranked. Over the coming days, we will work our way from #40 all the way to #1. Today, we start with the bottom five.
This year, we changed things up a little. The top-10 have been voted on by members of our HW writing staff while the remainder of the rankings were done by yours truly. Here are the criteria that each player had to meet to be eligible to be in these rankings:
1) The player must be 24 years old or younger as of October 1, 2011
2) The player must have no greater than 40 games of NHL experience (including regular season and playoffs)
3) The player has to be signed on an NHL contract
As the Habs brought several youngsters up last season, this year's list will look a lot different as many of the top prospects are no longer eligible. Here are the departures from last year's list:
Graduated: David Desharnais, Lars Eller, Frederic St. Denis, P.K.
Subban, Yannick Weber, Ryan White, Alexei Yemelin
Released: Patrick Johnson, Petteri Simila, J.T. Wyman
Traded: Mathieu Carle, Ben Maxwell, Ryan Russell
#40) Scott Kishel
Defenceman, University of Minnesota-Duluth, NCAA
7th round pick (192nd overall) in 2007
It was hoped (and frankly expected) that Kishel would turn the corner in his third (junior) season in college. He turned a corner alright, the one he went by virtually every game en route to the press box where he spent most of his 2010-11 season. Of course, a new year provides a new opportunity but Kishel would need to have an incredible senior campaign for the Habs to even consider signing him by next August.
2010-11 Stats: 7 GP, 0-1-1, 4 PIMS
Previous HW Ranking: 41st
#39) Phillipe Lefebvre
Left Wing, Montreal, QMJHL
Undrafted free agent signing in 2009
He was dealt to the Montreal junior team last offseason in the hopes he'd help provide a boost for a Memorial Cup push. He 'rewarded' management's faith in him by putting up the worst offensive numbers of his QMJHL career. There's no doubt he has some offensive talent but if he can't put it together in junior, the odds of him doing so at the pro level are slim. Watch for the Habs to try and send him back for an overage junior season as there's no room for him in Hamilton.
2010-11 Stats: 60 GP, 19-27-46, 38 PIMS, +26
Previous HW Ranking: 36th
#38) Michael Cichy
Centre, University of North Dakota, NCAA
7th round pick (199th overall) in 2009
It was a disappointing sophomore campaign for the undersized centreman as he only barely surpassed his freshman scoring numbers. It was so bad that Cichy has decided to transfer to Western Michigan for the upcoming season. Of course, the catch with that is that by doing so, he is ineligible to play at all in 2011-12. This means he'll be relying on a stellar senior year in 2012-13 after a year off to earn a pro contract. Anything can happen of course but the odds of him signing with the Habs now compared to a year ago have dropped significantly.
2010-11 Stats: 25 GP, 3-4-7, 6 PIMS
Previous HW Ranking: 31st
#37) John Westin
Left Wing, MODO U-20, SuperElit
7th round pick (207th overall) in 2010
To be fair, Westin had a decent season in 2010-11 when he was actually healthy. The problem is, he rarely was healthy as he suited up for less than 20 games in Sweden last year and that includes playoff games. He still has a fair amount of upside but now just has the upcoming season to impress management into signing him. Also working against the winger in terms of his signing odds is that he still has a pair of years left on his deal back in Sweden.
2010-11 Stats: 11 GP, 6-1-7, 8 PIMS
Previous HW Ranking: 39th
#36) Robert Mayer
Goalie, Hamilton, AHL
Undrafted free agent signing in 2008
After a strong ECHL campaign in 2009-10, Mayer floundered with the Bulldogs last season squandering multiple opportunities to take advantage of injuries to starter Curtis Sanford. His struggles near the trade deadline forced the Habs to acquire Drew MacIntyre and after that happened, he just didn't play. At this point last year, he was hoping for an outside shot at a #1 job but now, he will be battling to simply make the team as a backup to newly signed Nathan Lawson.
2010-11 Stats: 21 GP, 9-10-2 record, 3.06 GAA, .890 SV%
Previous HW Ranking: 29th
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