Montreal Canadiens: Four Prospects Kick Off OHL Playoff Run Tonight

OSHAWA, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 08: Jan Mysak (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
OSHAWA, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 08: Jan Mysak (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens regular season will come to an end next week and there will be no playoffs to follow.

While the Habs season ends earlier than hoped this season, they have several prospects who are poised for deep playoff runs in Canadian Junior hockey this spring.

Kaiden Guhle and the Edmonton Oil Kings begin their quest for a WHL title this evening, and a trio of OHL prospects that are property of the Canadiens will do the same.

The Canadiens have been busy at recent drafts, taking 17 players in the past two years at the NHL Draft. Those players are mostly still teenagers and several of them are going to play big roles on their team’s success in the OHL postseason in the coming days and weeks.

Jan Mysak was a second round pick of the Habs in 2020 and he has become a key player for the Hamilton Bulldogs. He scored 34 goals and 64 points in 61 games for the Bulldogs, who are the top ranked team in all of Canada right now. Mysak brings plenty of offence to the table for the heavily favoured Bulldogs who will take on the Peterborough Petes in the opening round of the OHL Playoffs.

While Mysak will play a big role up front, Habs prospect Arber Xhekaj will be a two-way force on the blue line for the Bulldogs. The 6’4″ and 204 pound left defender plays a heavy, physical game and also scored 34 points in 51 games from the back end this season.

Another Habs prospect sure to play a big role in his team’s hopeful playoff bid is Joe Vrbetic. The big goaltender was taken in the 7th round of the 2021 NHL Draft, but had a great season for the North Bay Battalion. The 19 year old posted a 29-10-3 record with a 2.87 GAA and a .906 SV%.

The Battalion are  currently ranked 8th in Canada and are heavy favourites as well in round one. They finished the regular season with 93 points while their opponent, the Ottawa 67s finished with 65. While Vrbetic should be the started for the series, his backup Dom DiVincentiis had a stellar season as well so the Habs prospect could be on a short leash.

The Windsor Spitfires head into the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference. Though he won’t play a starring role, right defenceman Daniil Sobolev will offer some value to the Spitfires in their quest for an OHL title. The 19 year old was a 5th round pick of the Canadiens last season and transitioned well to the North American game after moving from Russia at the beginning of this season.

Of course, Logan Mailloux is the Habs top prospect in the OHL, but he has been out of the lineup most of the season. He has only played 12 games and has not suited up since being injured in a fight on March 6th. The London Knights are the second seen in the Western Conference, but it doesn’t look good for Mailloux getting back into games this season.

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