Canadiens prospect Farrell takes big step in development

MONTREAL — Sean Farrell has a knack for getting noticed and the Montreal Canadiens are paying close attention to his remarkable development.

The forward from Milford, Massachusetts, played for the United States at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and the 2022 IIHF World Championships in Finland since being selected by Montreal in the fourth round (No. 124) of the 2020 NHL Draft.

“That was unbelievable,” Farrell said. “Just having the chance to play against pros is a huge step and it kind of makes you realize that I could play at this level. I learned that I need to get a little bit bigger and stronger, but at the same time it was great to learn that I could play at that pace and make plays on the ice with those guys.”

Farrell (5-foot-9, 175 pounds) had six points (three goals, three assists) in four games during the Olympics and six points (two goals, four assists) in 10 games at the World Championships.

He had 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 24 games in his first season with Harvard after getting 101 points (29 goals, 72 assists) in 53 games for Chicago of the USHL in 2020-21.

“I realize that I can make plays but if I add a little bit of size and a little bit of strength in my skating I’ll be even better in the corners,” Farrell said. “Being able to protect pucks against true NHL defenders is tough and that’s probably the biggest thing I learned is just making plays in the offensive zone is a lot harder when you’ve got big guys pinning you and holding you in the corners.”

The 20-year-old had an impressive performance at development camp from July 11-13. Playing regularly alongside top prospect Juraj Slavkovsky, the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft during drills, Farrell stood out with his ability to create offensive opportunities and scoring chances.

“I played against him in the Olympics and I was really impressed there, and obviously he’s a really big kid,” Farrell said of Slafkovsky, who was the MVP of the Olympics, scoring a tournament-leading seven goals and helping Slovakia win bronze. “It’s cool to be on the ice with him and you can tell why he was such a high pick and has been such a good player this year.”

Hall of Famer Vincent Lecavalier and three-time Olympic gold medalist Marie-Philip Poulin were among the Canadiens’ staff at development camp who took notice of Farrell’s abilities.

“I think a couple of nice shots, skating ability, very impressive,” Poulin said.

Farrell also took notice of those watching him.

“[Lecavalier and Poulin] are such legends in the game of hockey and just to be able to be around them and (Canadiens coach) Marty St. Louis at this camp, it’s really special,” Farrell said.

For now, Farrell said he believes Harvard is a great place to grow his game and is determined to add more accomplishments to his resume before making the jump to professional hockey and continuing his progression toward his dream of playing in the NHL.

“I think for next year, we’re going to have a really good team, a lot of the same key guys returning,” Farrell said. “So I think for me, I just want to try to be a leader, and kind of be a guy that they can lean on as someone who propels the team to win our league, win Beanpots, and hopefully compete for a national championship. “

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