Three NCAA Free Agents For Montreal Canadiens To Watch At NCAA Tournament

Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes.
Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes. / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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T.J. Hughes

T.J. Hughes, like Nadeau, delayed the start to his college hockey career and played a couple of extra years in Canada's Junior A circuit. Hughes played in Alberta's AJHL with the Brooks Bandits and put up some ridiculous numbers as well.

His last season in Brooks was the 2021-22 campaign when he scored 66 goals and 127 points in 61 games. He has since played two seasons of college hockey and immediately showed he could carve out an offensive role on a ridiculuosly deep Michigan team.

Hughes scored 13 goals and 36 points in 39 games as a freshman in 2022-23 and was even better this season. He added 18 goals and 44 points in 38 games demonstrating he is an impact player at the NCAA level.

The 22 year old will now look to lead Michigan on a run to the Frozen Four and that will begin on Friday when they face North Dakota.

Jaxon Nelson

Of all the players on this list, Jaxon Nelson has the least impressive offensive totals. He is playing in his fifth season at Minnesota, and put up 16 goals and 28 points in 37 games this season.

However, he does have some attributes that will make him attractive to NHL teams when his season concludes. First of all, he is 6'4" and 225 pounds so that is a great starting point. He is also a right shot center which checks another box most NHL teams are looking to find. He is also the captain of a Big Ten team which shows some leadership qualities everyone would like to have join their team.

The problem is the limited offensive upside. But, even if there is little scoring coming from Nelson, a huge right shot center is not a bad depth piece to bring in to the organization. How often have the Canadiens been short on centers and could use a reliable fourth line pivot to play a few games?

It happens every year and Nelson could be the guy that fills in for a few games here and there in the future.