Future Habs cling to Memorial Cup dream

Tuesday, 24.04.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
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Future Habs cling to Memorial Cup dream
Three prospects still alive in CHL playoffs


Canadiens prospects Ryan White, Sergei Kostitsyn and Mathieu Carle are each looking to lead their teams to the Memorial Cup tournament, which gets underway May 18 in Vancouver.

MONTREAL - And then there were three. Of the half dozen Canadiens prospects honing their skills in the Canadian Hockey League this season, Rouyn-Noranda's Mathieu Carle, Ryan White of the Calgary Hitmen and Sergei Kostitsyn of the London Knights remain in the hunt for the Memorial Cup.

After finishing third in OHL scoring with 131 points and leading the league with 91 assists, Kostitsyn has helped lead the Knights to the OHL Conference Final with 19 points in 11 playoff games. Now trailing the Plymouth Whalers 3-1 in the series, London has their work cut out for them as they look to duplicate their 2005 Memorial Cup championship run.

The playoff news is a little better for White and the Hitmen, who are down 2-1 in their series against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Canadiens' third round pick, 66th overall, at the 2006 NHL Draft, White has done his part with six goals and 14 points in 16 playoff games, after finishing fourth in WHL scoring during the regular season with 89 points in 69 games.

Memorial Day
Here's a look at Canadiens draft choices to have won the Memorial up dating back to 1969.
NAME TEAM YEAR
Duncan Milroy Kootenay Ice 2002
Jonathan Delisle Hull Olympiques 1997
Darcy Tucker Kamloops Blazers 1992, 1994, 1995
Chris Murray Kamloops Blazers 1992, 1994
Mark Pederson Medicine Hat Tigers 1987, 1988
Alfie Turcotte Portland Winter Hawks 1983
John Kordic Portland Winter Hawks 1983
Carey Walker New Westminster Bruins 1977
Mark Napier Toronto Marlboros 1975
Marty Howe Toronto Marlboros 1973
Guy Lafleur Quebec Remparts 1971
Rejean Houle Montreal Jr. Canadiens 1969
Marc Tardif Montreal Jr. Canadiens 1969

Acquired by the Huskies at the QMJHL trade deadline, Carle has given Rouyn-Noranda's offense a lift. A power-play quarterback by trade, the 53rd overall pick at the 2006 NHL Draft has delivered with five goals and 12 points in 14 playoff games, including a pair of game-winners. After dispatching of Gatineau and Drummondville, Carle and the Huskies now find  themselves in a 3-0 series hole against the regular season champion Lewiston MAINEiacs.

The last Canadiens prospect to win the Memorial Cup was Duncan Milroy, who did so with the Kootenay Ice in 2002.

The first ones to turn the trick were Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif of the Montreal Junior Canadiens in 1969, before each became the Habs' top two picks at the NHL Draft later that summer.

While never drafted, two current players in the Habs dressing room are also proud owners of Memorial Cup rings.

Francis Bouillon won his as captain of the Granby Predateurs in 1996, while newcomer Josh Gorges wore the "C" as he led the Kelowna Rockets to the title in 2004.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com