The Montreal Canadiens are a disaster.
The team's prospect core? There are some pieces to get excited about. And if all goes to play, Sean Farrell will be part of a future that can't get much worse than what we've seen on the ice this season.
So, Habs fans, use this as a rare pick-me-up: Farrell is thriving, and he has taken his game to the biggest international stage of all.
Farrell's Olympic debut couldn't have been much better, recording three goals and two assists in USA's 8-0 win over China. Farrell played on the wing beside Ben Meyers and Noah Cates while taking some draws throughout, with the third line combining for five of the team's goals in Game 1.
Granted, a big result over China was expected. But Farrell's production? A little less so. And while it's a super small sample size against the worst team in the tournament, Farrell showed in his 12 minutes of ice time just what he's capable of, and what he's been able to do ever since the Canadiens selected him out from the USHL's Chicago Steel in the fourth round in 2020.
Just how good has he been? Since his draft day, Farrell recorded the first 100-point USHL season since Kevin Roy potted 104 in 2011-12 and has produced at over a point-per-game pace as a freshman at Harvard, good for fifth in team scoring.
There were more veteran-laden options that could have made the jump from the NCAA to the American Olympic team, but USA Hockey liked what they've seen from Farell this year.
Farrell is no stranger to the national team, having played with the U.S. National Development Team Program at the U-17 and U-18 level and also putting on a clinic with the World Junior A Challenge team in 2019. Farrell was named the USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year last season for his incredible season that helped lead the Steel to a Clark Cup championship.
From a pure talent perspective, Farrell has it in spades. Farrell is a smart play-maker that tends to make no-look passes work and he seems to have this magnetic ability to draw players towards him and then make odd-man passes. Farrell also has a great release on his wrister, as put on display in his game against China.
"He's confident with the puck," a scout said. "Some of the plays might seem risky, but he knows what he wants to accomplish. Just don't give him time and space."
Farrell, a small forward at 5-foot-9, will need to bulk up a bit before eventually turning pro in a few years. His size is the biggest detractor from his overall play right now, and that'll probably impact his ability if he doesn't add more to his overall frame. But the skill is there, and he only continues to get better with every opportunity that presents itself – especially in this unlikely appearance with the men's Olympic team.
Farrell has spent much of his career to date trying to prove people wrong. Whether it's being told he's too small to succeed or whatnot, Farrell has been such a key piece of every team he has been on. His play over the past two years, in particular, has been undeniably impressive, and USA Hockey has entrusted him to play an energy role for the Americans, and he arrived in a big way in Game 1.
Habs fans, Farrell's development is worth getting excited about, regardless of what happens the rest of the way. He earned his spot in Beijing, and he's only just getting started.