All Habs Headlines: Saturday June 23, 2012
On this day in hockey history… In 2001, Calgary Flames traded right wing Valeri Bure and center Jason Wiemer to the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Rob Niedermayer and a 2001 second-round draft pick.
NHL ENTRY DRAFT HABS HEADLINES
► 3rd overall (1st round): Alex Galchenyuk (Sarnia)
Most Habs fans were thrilled to have gotten their man when Trevor Timmins announced that Galchenyuk would be the pick third overall. Many describe Galchenyuk as a “big center,” but at 6’0.5″ and just under 200 lbs, he’s better looked at as a “not undersized center” who works hard at both ends of the rink, can play a physical game, and has high end offensive potential. Some suggest he may end up being the best player out of the draft, even ahead of consensus #1 selection Nail Yakupov, but that there’s a risk factor associated to him after missing almost all of the past season following knee surgery. His knee is said to be 100%, which he was happy to prove at both the NHL and Canadiens own combines, which should make him a future star down the middle for Montreal.
► 33rd overall (2nd round): Sebastian Collberg (Frolunda)
Collberg is a quick skating, playmaking left winger who competes well at both ends of the ice. He’s a little undersized (5’11”, 180 lbs), and some have concerns as to how that may hurt his game against bigger opposition, given his no points in 41 games in the Swedish Elite League. But it’s a league where young players get very little ice time, and he dominated offensively on all junior-aged staged (often surpassing first rounder Filip Forsberg), including the U20 World Junior Championships where he was Sweden’s youngest player. Also known as a shootout specialist, very few scouts, agencies, or media outlets had Collberg falling out of the first round, so at 33, he could be a big steal for Montreal.
Collberg is very skilled forward with great wheels. Doesn’t shy away from the high-traffic areas and knows where to go to score goals. Initiates contact with defensemen and has excellent one-on-one moves. Posesses an elite wristshot, which he can release in a hurry with great accuracy and velocity. Needs to add more bulk to withstand the physical game at the men’s level. Lacks ideal frame and defensive play needs improvement. – EliteProspects
► 51st overall (2nd round): Dalton Thrower (Saskatoon)
Dalton Thrower is a somewhat undersized (5’11”, 200 lbs) defenseman but he isn’t afraid to hit, and has a huge shot from the point, scoring 18 goals last season. He plays with fellow Hab prospect Darren Dietz with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, important since given the Blades are the host of next season’s Memorial Cup, the Canadiens will be guaranteed at least two prospects in that tournament again. Thrower’s 54 points in 66 games finished 8th among all Western Hockey League defensemen, and he also showed willingness to drop the gloves, racking up 103 penalty minutes. Thrower is yet another player that many had as a first round prospect for this draft. In an interview, he compared his own style to that of Kevin Bieksa.
► 64th overall (3rd round): Tim Bozon (Kamloops)
Tim Bozon’s biggest strengths are his ability to compete and his determination. The left winger has good hands and vision, scoring 36 goals and 71 points in 71 games as a WHL rookie last season. Bozon is an American-born French citizen who played much of his hockey in Switzerland (yes, he speaks French), and has a good frame that he could still stand to fill out at 6’0.5″, 183 lbs. Many scouts had Bozon in the early second or even late first round, so Trevor Timmins and the Habs may have received another gift to land him this late.
► 94th overall (4th round): Brady Vail (Windsor)
Brady Vail is a good character pick. He played a shutdown center role for Windsor, with his work ethic being his biggest strength. He describes himself as a two-way forward, primarily defensive, but now trying to work on his offensive game, apparent in his improvement from 10 points a season ago to 22 goals and 52 points this past year. He is a highly flexible player, capable of playing center or either wing, and has a solid frame at 6’0″, 195 lbs.
► 122nd overall (5th round): Charles Hudon (Chicoutimi)
Hudon is a finesse offensive player with blazing speed. He’s a playmaker who needs to improve both his defensive and physical game, while adding muscle to his 5’10” frame. After being named QMJHL Rookie of the Year for 2010-11, he represented Canada at the World Under 18s, but recorded only 1 assist in 7 games. He improved his offensive output marginally in the Q this season, and most recently, was named to Hockey Canada’s 28-man roster for the August World Under 20s tryout series against Russia, which replaces the usual August World Junior Championship camp. Due to his lack of size, rankings had Hudon all over the place, but most saw him to be a third round option, so the trend of getting players later than they were projected to go continues.
► 154th overall (6th round): Erik Nystrom (Modo J20)
Described as a speedy, hardworking player with great vision, Nystrom played 19 games for MODO in the Swedish Elite League as an 18-year old, recording 2 assists. When playing for the J20 club, he added 28 points in 32 games. He was a teammate of former Hab prospect John Westin, who the Canadiens chose not to sign earlier this month, giving up his rights. It’s interesting given that the two are of similar size and had similar numbers, though Westin is a year and a half older, and those who watch the club closely say Nystrom has significantly greater upside. Timmins said he first saw Nystrom early this season when making a trip with European scout Christer Rockstrom to watch Henrik Samuelsson play for MODO and claims he stood out at once.
► New at All Habs Hockey Magazine: