Future Habs cling to Memorial Cup dream
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.
|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