Montreal Canadiens: Brett Stapley Helps Denver win National Title, But Will He Sign?

Apr 7, 2022; Boston, MA, USA; Denver Pioneers forward Brett Stapley (7). Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2022; Boston, MA, USA; Denver Pioneers forward Brett Stapley (7). Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

Montreal Canadiens prospect Brett Stapley has come a long way since he was drafted by the Habs.

The Campbell River, British Columbia native was a 7th round pick in 2018 after scoring 59 points in 52 games in the BCHL with the Vernon Vipers.

The Canadiens added a 7th round pick at the last minute by swapping out their 2019 7th rounder in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. With that pick, they added Stapley to their prospect pool with the 190th overall selection.

After almost going undrafted, Stapley headed to the University of Denver where he just helped the Pioneers win a national title. Denver had an extremely deep and talented team, and Stapley mostly played a third line role, while killing penalties and taking some time on the second power play.

Still, in limited offensive situations Stapley was able to put up 18 goals and 43 points in 41 games this season. On Thursday night, in the national semi-final game, Stapley opened the scoring for Denver, and he closed out Minnesota State’s hopes last night with a late empty net goal to give Denver a 4-1 advantage.

He couldn’t have drawn up a better way to close out his college career, but they question now is, will he sign with the Canadiens organization?

Much like Jordan Harris before him, Stapley has the choice of signing with the Habs now, or becoming an NHL free agent in August. Obviously, Harris chose to sign with the Canadiens, but will Stapley take the same path?

Signing now would give him a chance to step into the Laval Rocket lineup in the midst of a playoff race. He is a right shooting centre with a strong two-way game and could help the Rocket right away in a depth role. He scored 99 points in 121 career NCAA games so a little offence could come from him as well.

It will be interesting to see what the organization and the 23 year old forward decide.

Comparing numbers from one team to the next is difficult, but Stapley’s offensive numbers are quite similar to those of Jake Evans from his NCAA career where he scored 138 points in 158 career games.

Of course, Stapley was able to contribute all of his scoring from a third line role and without the benefit of stepping on the ice with the top power play unit.

Hopefully, the player and the Canadiens can come to an agreement. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Stapley play well right away in the AHL and eventually develop into a reliable, defensively aware centre for an NHL team in a couple of years.

Let’s hope it is the Montreal Canadiens.

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