Drafting Skills: Montreal Canadiens

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Montreal Canadiens

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nathan Beaulieu (D) 17th overall – Beaulieu was the subject of trade rumours this year, and found himself as a healthy scratch at times, but he is surely an everyday NHL defender. In 74 games, he had 28 points with limited time on the number 1 powerplay unit. He has grown his overall game in recent years, but many would like to see more offensive upside from him. In his final 3 seasons in junior, Beaulieu put up 142 points in 184 games. Those are great numbers for a defender. This was a solid pick by Montreal at 17th overall.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Florida for Dominic Moore. Moore had 11 points in 21 regular season games, and then only 5 in 19 playoff games in his only year in Montreal. Not great numbers for giving up a second round pick, as the Habs were hoping for more in their playoff run.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Winnipeg for 2 other picks, none of which became an impact player.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Alex Galchenyuk (C) 3rd overall – For a lot of people, the jury is still out on Galchenyuk, but for me, he’s absolutely a true #1 centre. Montreal has never fully given him the right people to play with, constantly playing lesser minutes than less deserving players on his team, yet he still has scored 204 points in 336 games. He was on pace for his best season yet before being injured, and came back slow. I would take him on my team any day, and there aren’t many from his draft year that I would take over him.

Round 2 – Sebastian Collberg (RW) 33rd overall – Swing and a miss here by Montreal as Collberg is back in Sweden after never making it to the NHL. His last season in the AHL, he had 10 points in 42 games. Not a great pick for the Habs, with many better options behind him.

Round 2 – Dalton Thrower (D) 51st overall – Received this pick from Nashville for Hal Gill, amongst other picks/players in a package deal.

Round 3 – Tim Bozon (LW) 64th overall – Another miss by Montreal, as Bozong played this year in the AHL and ECHL, recording a combined 21 points in 57 games. Those aren’t great numbers for a 23 yeard old in those leagues. Taken immediately after him were Adam Pelech and Jimmy Vesey, who would have both been MUCH better picks.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Michael McCarron (RW) 25th overall – I think it’s safe to say this was another miss by the Habs. He has only played in 51 NHL games since being drafted, and scored a whopping 5 points in 31 NHL games this year. He adds some toughness to Montreal, especially with them being a smaller team, but not enough to make up for his lack of offense. There are a dozen or two players taken after him that the Habs could have taken instead of McCarron and they would have been much better off.

Round 2 – Jacob De La Rose (C) 34th overall – Received from Nashville for Andrei Kostitsyn. De La Rose played a total of 9 games this year in the NHL with zero points scored, and 62 games in the AHL with only 31 points. Given he’s a second round pick, he wasn’t expected to light up the league, but he still can’t find a spot on a team that traded for 3 fourth line forwards at the deadline, 4 years after being drafted. He likely will never be an everyday player at this point.

Round 2 – Zachary Fucale (G) 36th overall – Received from Calgary for Michael Cammalleri, Kari Ramo and a 5th round pick, and received Rene Bourque and Patrick Holland back. Awful trade for Montreal, as Bourque didn’t become what they hoped, while Cammalleri has been one of the most consistent goal scorers in the NHL since the trade. Fucale on the other hand, showed great promise early on in his young career, before being demoted to the ECHL to start this year. He struggled in the season, with a GAA of 3.17 and SV% of 0.898. Those are not great numbers for a young goalie, and it looks as though he won’t grow into what many thought he would when he came out of junior.

Round 2 – Artturi Lehkonen (LW) 54th overall – The lone bright spot of the 2nd round for Montreal, Lehkonen made his NHL debut this year with 28 points in 73 games. He showed some high-end skill that will likely develop next year, his 2nd in North America since coming from Sweden. He should fight for a top-6 role next year up front, and given Montreal’s lack of offense, if he can find his offense early he should see increased ice-time.

Round 3 – Connor Crisp (C) 71st overall – Received this pick from Dallas with Michael Ryder for Erik Cole. Luckily Ryder turned out better than Cole, because Crisp was a flop. He has yet to play an NHL game, and likely won’t as he spent this year in the ECHL. Another miss by Montreal.

Round 3 – Sven Andrighetto (RW) 86th overall – This was a great pick by Montreal, as he found his offensive touch this year, scoring 22 games in 20 AHL games, but only 8 in 27 NHL games. He showed great promise to improve into a scorer, and then was shipped out for a fourth liner in Andreas Martinsen. Andrighetto then scored 15 points in 19 games for Colorado when he was given extra time. He should continue to grow his offensive game next year.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nikita Scherbak (RW) 26th overall – He only managed to get into the lineup for 3 NHL games this year, scoring 1 goal. In the AHL, he had a good year with 41 points in 66 games, but sits towards the bottom end of players drafted in the 1st round in 2014. One has to figure Montreal expects him to be in the lineup opening night next year, and they hope he can score like he did in junior because they desperately need it. He looks legit, so I’ll give this pick a passing grade.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to the Islanders in a package for Tomas Vanek. This was a good trade, as Vanek light up for Montreal, scoring 15 points in 18 regular season games and 10 in 17 playoff games. They didn’t give up much to get him, so it was definitely worth the gamble.

Round 3 – Brett Lernout (D) 73rd overall – Lernout is a big man at 6’4” and over 210 pounds, and should slide into Montreal’s lineup full-time as early as next season. He doesn’t provide much of an offensive boost, but plays a solid defensive game. Good find in the third round by Montreal.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Noah Juulsen (D) 26th overall – Juulsen is a hard guy to play against, and showed this at this year’s World Juniors for Canada. He scored 34 points in 49 WHL games, which are solid numbers for a defender. Many are projecting Juulsen to challenge for a spot next year, but if not, a year in the AHL will be good for his development. He projects as a top-4 guy, and should get there sooner rather than later.

Round 2 – Pick was traded along with another pick to Edmonton for Jeff Petry. Great trade for the Habs, Petry has played top-4 minutes for the Habs since coming over, and has been consistently one of their better d-men.

Round 3 – Lukas Vejdemo (C) 87th overall – Miss here by Montreal. In 48 Swedish Elite League games, Vejdemo managed only 8 points. This was his third year in that league so it’s not like he was getting used to playing against men.

Overall, Montreal has poorly drafted in these 5 drafts. The majority of their picks have amounted to nothing, with the exception of a rare few. They need to improve drastically over the next short while if they hope to continue to be amongst the playoff teams each season.


Sources: www.hockeydb.com ; http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm


Trade Candidates – Dec ’16

December has just come to a close, and while we’re only a little over a third of the way through the season, it’s becoming more evident who will likely be sellers come the deadline at the end of February. Here is my take on the top 10 players who appear like they could be on the move:

10) Sedin Twins – eventually, one would hope the Canucks realize they’re not built like a playoff team, and accept the rebuild. This would require moving the Twins. This will be quite difficult, as they have another year left after this at a high cap hit. If they wish to stay together, that will only make things more difficult. 

Where to?:  Minnesota, Nashville, Montreal

9)  Jaromir Jagr –  Jagr is not likely to move, as Florida still hopes to make the playoffs, and he enjoys playing there. However, if Florida continues to struggle, I’m sure teams will come calling. 

Where to?: Montreal, San José, Dallas

8) Ryan Miller – Miller still plays at a high level, and can be that extra factor to push a team over the top. Can we see him on the move again near the deadline? All depends again on the Canucks willingness to accept the rebuild. He can help many teams who could use a better 1-2 punch. 

Where to?: Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles

7) Radom Vrbata – Enjoying a bounce back year, Vrbata can provide secondary scoring at a very low cap hit. He should have many interested suitors the closer we get to the deadline, and Arizona again far away from a playoff spot. 

Where to?: San José, Chicago, NY Rangers

6) James Van Riemsdyk – Big, skilled wingers are hard to come by. Soft hands down low, and with a cheap cap hit for this year and next make him a highly valuable target. Lots of rumours that the Leafs are willing to move him. 

Where to?: Rangers, Minnesota, Nashville

5) Thomas Vanek – Another winger singed out of camp that is having a bounce back year. Vanek, much like Vrbata, can help provide a secondary scoring punch to a team in need. 

Where to?: NY Rangers, San José, St. Louis

4) Jarome Iginla – Iginla is surely towards the end of his career, time to give it another shot at a Cup. That won’t be happening in Colorado. 

Where to?: Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Montreal

3) Dennis Seidenberg – Here’s a guy who almost had no place to play this year if it wasn’t for a strong showing at the World Cup. He’s having a decent season on a lackluster team. He’s cheap, and can improve almost any current D-core. 

Where to?: Dallas, Edmonton, NY Rangers

2) Dmitry Kulikov – Teams looking to add on defense will likely have a hard time finding players available. Kulikov could be one of the few names floating around the market. He can add depth to a team in need. 

Where to?: Dallas, Edmonton, NY Rangers

1) Ben Bishop – many would have predicted Tampa move Bishop this past offseason, but with the expansion draft looming closer and closer, it would make most sense to move Bishop at the deadline for a piece that could push Tampa over the top as they push for Cup. 

Where to?: Buffalo, Vancouver, Colorado