18th ranked U24 Habs player - Adam Engstrom

Canada v Sweden: Group A - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship
Canada v Sweden: Group A - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

For the month of May, aside from the NHL Draft lottery, there isn’t much going on. So here at A Winning Habit, I’ve decided to rank the 24 best Canadiens under 24 years old. I opted to rank players that are closest to the NHL, so aside from David Reinbacher, there are no 2023 Draftees. 

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead with the 18th best player, in my opinion, Adam Engstrom. 

Fresh off signing his entry-level deal with the Montreal Canadiens, defenseman Adam Engstrom is ready to start his North American playing career. While he isn’t exactly swooned over, there is reason to believe that fans will be impressed by the 2022 third-round selection in short order. He thinks the game like a general and he is so efficient and smart with the routes he takes to exit the zone and the outlet passes he makes.

Engstrom has the potential to work his way onto the Rocket top defence pairing and stay put until the Canadiens call his name. While he hasn't yet taken to North American ice, he has a ton of professional experience in the SHL, where he has looked comfortable. The Canadiens are loaded on their left defence, but if all things go right, Engstrom could climb up the depth chart ahead of some of his competition.

Because he hasn't played any games within the Habs organization, be it in the AHL or NHL, he ranks sixth behind the promising group for the future. However, with some reps, it's not inconceivable that he moves up the under 24 list and pushes a player or two out of the organization. Engstrom is a little flashier than Jordan Harris and even Arber Xhekaj, and he thinks the game quite well.

Just to be clear, I don't personally see Xhekaj being moved; I simply believe that Engstrom is more skilled. Although Xhekaj hasn't yet reached his ceiling and he will bring things to the Habs that Engstrom can't. For Engstrom, he just needs to continue growing the way that he has been and with some added offence to his game, he could be a nice addition to the Canadiens blueline in the next couple of seasons.

Engstrom will almost certainly be higher on this list next year, whether it be because he shows how important he is to the organization. And/or because another defenseman gets traded, so he grabs their spot. For now, though, Engstrom is the 18th ranked under 24 player.