Is this the summer the Canadiens finally get the long-awaited Danny Kristo under contract? We can only hope so, as a fourth season in university is not likely the best path for his development. Talk of off-ice distraction and a seriously scary bout with frostbite derailed the 5'11", 180 lbs winger's 2010-11 season, but he has rebounded in a nice way, topping the point-per-game plateau for the first time in his NCAA career, with 17 goals, 23 assists, and 40 points (each a career high) in 37 games. If the Habs manage to get him under contract once North Dakota's season is done, he may hit the AHL as one of the more NHL-ready prospects given he'll be 22, but fans should remain patient since he'll still need time to adjust to a longer, tougher schedule against bigger and more physical competition. Definitely has top 6 upside, though.
4) Michael Bournival, C - Shawinigan Cataractes - QMJHL
Habs fans who don't follow prospects too closely were quickly introduced to Gallagher at last Fall's training camp, where he very nearly earned an audition with the big club, and then reacquainted with him at the World Juniors, where he was among Team Canada's best forwards. The knock on Gallagher, as all are aware, is his size, at 5'8" and 170 lbs. Can a team whose top 6 centers are David Desharnais (5'7", 177 lbs) and Tomas Plekanec (5'11", 198 lbs) plus already has Brian Gionta (5'7", 173 lbs) as a top 6 winger support another miniature-sized scorer? It isn't inconceivable that Gionta is dealt at some point to create a better spot for the young Gallagher, who is likely to start the season with the Bulldogs, unless he severely outplays Louis Leblanc for a third line job in camp and depending on what other moves are made this summer. Like Bournival, Gallagher is also having his slumpiest month of the season, with just 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 games, but he has put together a third consecutive 40-goal WHL campaign, while improving his PPG average from 1.38 to 1.43 (76 in 53 GP). Everyone will be watching closely to see if he can adapt his game to the American League level, with questions surrounding the fact that he plays a hard-nosed, physical, crash-the-net style. Normally this would be a big positive, but at a higher level, given his small frame, if he doesn't change, the punishment he will take may take a toll on his small body quickly.