If Montreal Is Looking For Skill - Berkly Catton Has Plenty

Spokane Chiefs v Winnipeg Ice
Spokane Chiefs v Winnipeg Ice / Jonathan Kozub/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens are lacking top of the lineup, elite potential talents and there is a prospect in the Western Hockey League who has just that in spades.

Berkly Catton plays for the Spokane Chiefs and he is a projected first round pick for the 2024 NHL Draft. As the Canadiens continue their strong play at the worst time of the season in terms of draft odds, Catton could become a very nice prize. With the defence prospects likely to push some forwards down in the draft, Kent Hughes could potentially have the chance to select Catton.

He isn't exactly a behemoth at 5 foot 11 and 163 pounds, but he will certainly put on more weight, I don't see him playing at such a light weight. But Catton plays much bigger than his size, a perfect example of - It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog. Catton is a dog and his tricks make his opponents go in one direction, while he fakes to the other and takes off.

His package of shiftiness, speed and skill are in the top tier of the draft and they are the reason why he has had such a dominant season. And his dual threat abilities in the offensive zone keep the opposition guessing until it's too late. His 48-55-103 stat line suggests that he is more of a passer, but he has a great shot and soft hands in tight to beat goalies.

On Tuesday night against the Victoria Grizzlies, Catton scored his first career hat-trick, part of a five point night that pushed him past the 100 point plateau. He scores in an array of different ways, using different strengths in his game to burn his opponents. His speed and positioning are elite, and because of them he constantly creates scoring chances out of nowhere.

He is certainly dominating the junior ranks and doesn't have anybody else on his team that is close to his skill level. So it's easy to imagine how good he can become in the NHL with talented linemates. The Canadiens have a couple of those players and Catton would fit in real nice alongside them.

Catton has the ability to make his linemates better and that is what makes him so special, it isn't just individual efforts. He creates plays with give and go's and stretch passes and his vision makes him a threat in transition and especially on the power play. He is also a centre, so while he may shift to the wing in the NHL, he is a natural centre which is helpful for the Habs centre's.

The Canadiens top six is hard to determine, and while the top line appears to be cemented, things could swap around. I would imagine that Catton and Cole Caufield, because they are on the smaller side would be kept apart, unless it's on the power play. But with Juraj Slafkovsky and Nick Suzuki or with Kirby Dach and whoever else fills out the top six, Catton could be a nice fit.

With Catton, I have a feeling that he is talented enough to play in the NHL right away just like Zach Benson did for the Buffalo Sabres.