Michael Hage's Successful Development Camp

  • Speed, skill, and a deceptive shot
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Montreal Canadiens fans had high hopes for Michael Hage when he made his development camp debut last week. Their selection of Hage is widely viewed around the industry as a steal at pick 21, and his development camp did nothing to quiet those expectations. The Canadiens may have been disappointed when the New York Islanders stepped up and took Cole Eiserman at 20. There's a good chance that Eiserman was their target at 21, and the move up to 21 almost paid off. However, with Eiserman off the board, they needed to alter the strategy, which could be the steal of the draft.

Hage has it all. He has speed, stickhandling, a deceptive shot, and a desire to play for the bleu, blanc, et rouge. Hage and his father, who passed away tragically last year, were diehard fans of the Canadiens. It was always Hage's dream to don the historic sweater, and his respect for the team was evident in the effort he put forth at development camp.

Ivan Demidov, Oliver Kapanen, and Filip Mesar didn't attend the camp, so Hage stood out amongst a crop of tryout players and prospects lower on the depth chart. However, that shouldn't diminish Hage's dominance of the scrimmage. The Canadiens need some dynamic offensive game-breakers, and Hage looks like one of a long list of prospects on the way to fill that role.

It's hard to look at that video of Michael Hage and not see a Jack Eichel-type player. I'm not trying to put the expectation of being Jack Eichel on him, but his wide skating base and elite hands around the net are everything the Habs have been trying to find. Montreal already has an elite prospect pool and young talent. The additions of Hage and Demidov will put them over the top in the next few years.

Hage may not play with the Canadiens this season as he goes to begin his NCAA career, but the Canadiens have no worries that he will sign with them when the time comes for him to turn professional. Could Hage go one-and-done in college, turn professional after his season ends, and join Ivan Demidov in Montreal next season? The development of Hage to a point where he can play in the NHL next season may be lofty, but we've seen it happen before. Hage was one of the best prospects during the season's second half, and if he continues on that upward trajectory, it shouldn't be a problem for him to fit into the Habs lineup.