Monday, August 6, 2012

One To Watch: Montreal Canadiens

The Habs prospect that I'm most intrigued by this coming season is a player most people have either probably already written off or don't even know. 

Obviously bigger name players like Alex Galchenyuk, Blake Geoffrion, Michael Bournival, Danny Kristo, Jared Tinordi, Nathan Beauieu and Dalton Thrower all deserve recognition, I can't help but look in another, less certain direction. 

Mike Cichy (C)

Western Michigan Broncos
5'11, 187 lbs
Drafted 199th overall in 2009

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm so interested in following a 7th round pick but the reason has more to do with the journalistic side of me than anything else; always a sucker for The Story.

I first saw Mike Cichy play during the 2008 World Junior A Challenge in Camrose. Cichy was a member of the USHL all-star team representing the United States. Not only did his team win the tournament but Cichy was named as the Most Valuable Player after scoring 5 goals, 10 points in 5 games. 

Photo: USHL Images
He was picked up by the Indiana Ice in a trade from Tri-City as they built a team to win the Clark Cup, which they did in 2009. Cichy scored 25 points in 13 playoff games and ended the year as a first team all star.  

Montreal drafted him late and I know after speaking casually one day with head scout Trevor Timmins, they thought then that Cichy had the potential to be a real steal. 

The Connecticut product was committed to North Dakota where he would play with fellow Habs prospect Danny Kristo. But after two years with the Fighting Sioux, Cichy left the program to move to Western Michigan. 

Photo: Matt Clemetson
His numbers at North Dakota were disappointing, just 5 goals and 11 points in two years where he didn't dress every night. At WMU he would have the chance to play for Jeff Blashill, his former coach at Indiana, with the promise of playing a bigger role. 

Unfortunately for Cichy, Blashill spent just one very successful year at WMU before joining the Detroit Red Wings organization.  That had to have been a blow to Cichy.

However, Blashill was replaced by highly respected coach Andy Murray and although he didn't play with the team last year (had to red shirt for all of 2011-12), Cichy should be a major component of the Broncos. 

So the intrigue is obvious; a highly offensive player prior to his 2-years at UND, can Cichy rediscover that side of his game after not playing last season? Will he indeed get the bigger role at WMU that he envisioned after leaving North Dakota?  Will playing his junior and senior years as a Bronco get him back on track?

If the answer to those questions is 'yes', then Montreal really could have a big steal. That's why, for me, Mike Cichy should be considered "One to Watch" for 2012-13.  


Tom John said...

He is a lazy player and doesn't have a good work ethic. You don't leave a place like North Dakota to go to WMU. North Dakota saw that laziness and played him less. Instead of trying to work hard he just wants to move on. Same result will happen. I think Cichy's prime has already passed.

Guy Flaming said...

Fair enough, you could be right Tom. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Gary Axworthy said...

Hopefully he does! Nothing wrong with having more depth down the pipeline or possibly find a diamond in the rough.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the information!

Anonymous said...

Guy, I agree with your article and pick. We got to know Mike very well when he played with the Ice. Amazing kid with exceptional hockey skill and potential. Some indicated laziness in their post above. Another perspective would be patiently making his own way. You can teach conditioning. Impossible to teach great hands, vision and hockey sense. In any event a great kid with huge potential. As a huge Habs fan, hopefully we see him suited up there one day. If he decides to choose the NHL as a goal in life, my bets are we will see him there. It's a journey....not a race.