5. Jayden Struble
The Habs went for a bit of a raw prospect in the middle of the second round last year when they selected Jayden Struble. The Cumberland, Rhode Island native was playing prep school hockey where he had scored 40 points in 28 games after scoring 30 points in 30 games the previous year.
Those are great numbers for sure, but drawing a player from prep school or high school leagues is a bit riskier than taking someone from a Junior league. The quality of competition just isn’t as high and they don’t play as many games. So, it would have been a bit trickier to estimate Struble’s true value as opposed to someone who played 70 games for the Oshawa Generals.
Anyway, Struble headed off to Northeastern University this season. He is a physical beast and showed extremely well at all of the off-ice workouts for the Habs at their rookie camp. He plays much stronger and more physical than even his 6’0″ and 205 pound frame would suggest.
The 18 year old left shooting defender started slowly as you would predict as a freshman at Northeastern but quickly grew into a larger role. He was often moved up to the team’s top four defence pairings as the season went along and showed a very dependable, defensive game while being a physical presence on the ice against players much older than himself.
Struble will head back to Northeastern next season after scoring three goals and ten points in 21 games. With the graduation of Ryan Shea, who was their captain and top scoring defenceman, a lot of minutes need to be filled next season. Expect Struble to take on a much bigger role for the Huskies. He has all the tools of a minute-munching, reliable defensive defenceman for the Habs in the future.