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MONTREAL, QC. — Hello all, and welcome to my first feature piece for All Habs Hockey Magazine. I look forward to bringing you coverage of a wide variety of subjects here just as I did on my own site, Dan’s Daily Dose.
I’ll begin today by looking at the NHL draft, an exciting day for Canadiens fans now less than two weeks away. On my former site, I went over all of the team’s options with their third overall selection (see Parts 1, 2, and 3) where I indicated that my preference would be to either draft Alex Galchenyuk or trade up to first overall to nab Nail Yakupov. Let’s now move on and talk about the six picks Montreal holds for the following day, June 23rd.
For the Canadiens’ second round draft selection, I’ve listed 10 candidates in reverse order of my preference. For the remaining rounds, I have provided five choices for each given that all players may not be available by that point in the draft.
I’ve included rankings from various sources for each of these players. For both McKeen’s Hockey and Future Considerations, I have made a decision to list a range for their rankings out of respect for their fine work. If you wish to inform yourself about the precise ranking prior to draft day, I highly recommend picking up one or both — the guides are sold through their respective websites.
Consensus around the league is that the first round — even the first few picks this year — is highly unpredictable, with every team liking different guys in different orders. It turns out that these diverging opinions go beyond round one, as you will notice in some of the rankings of the players below.
ROUND 2 – 33RD OVERALL
10) Malcolm Subban – G – Belleville Bulls, OHL
6’0″, 178 lbs – Catches L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 1st (North American Goaltenders); Hockey Prospectus – 78th; The Hockey News – 48th; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
The second Subban brother is one of three topped rank goaltenders for this year’s draft along with Europeans Andrei Vasilevski and Oscar Dansk. Replenishing the netminding pipeline is a need in Montreal, but not an urgent one given Carey Price‘s young age. Thus, I’d rather not spend such an early pick on it, but I do see the upside or uniting the Subbans, so I won’t be too disappointed if it happens. Subban is the odds-on favourite to win the starting job for Team Canada at next year’s World Junior Championship provided he has a good start playing with younger brother Jordan (2013 eligible) in Belleville.
9) Michael Matheson – D – Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL
6’2″, 175 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 30th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 31st; The Hockey News – 27th; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
Matheson is a native of Pointe Claire, Quebec who played under newly hired Canadiens scout Bobby Kinsella in Dubuque last season. These facts, his 6’2″ frame, and his strong skating ability make me consider him with this selection even though I’d rather spend the early picks restocking the forward prospect ranks. Matheson opted to play in the USHL in preparation to attend Boston College, turning down the opportunity to join Michael Bournival‘s Shawinigan Cataractes which would have allowed him to play in this year’s Memorial Cup. He’s a two-way blueliner with a more polished game defensively than offensively.
8 ) Phil Di Giuseppe – LW – Michigan Wolverines, NCAA
6’1″, 200 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 22nd (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 53rd; The Hockey News – 31st; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
Di Giuseppe was most noticed this year back in December, when considered a long shot to make Team Canada for the World Junior Championship, he performed extremely well in the team’s final training camp and was a really difficult cut. Unfortunately his season took a turn for the worse after Christmas as he entered an offensive slump, but the fact alone that he’s already playing NCAA for a top program (rare for a still undrafted 18-year old) will have many interested. Skating isn’t his biggest strength, but it’s not weak enough to scare teams away from him being an early second rounder given his solid frame, shot, and offensive instincts.
7) Tom Wilson – RW – Plymouth Whalers, OHL
6’4″, 205 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 15th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 76th; The Hockey News – 25th; McKeen’s – 1st to 20th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
Wilson is a big fella which history tells us he may end up going earlier than projected (both McKeens and Future Considerations have him going in the first round, so he might be the least likely of the guys to be available at this pick). If he is still on the board at 32, it’s because teams are concerned over his injury history, being limited to 28 games in 2010-11 and 49 this past year. He shows all the potential to be a top power forward, improving his skating and offensive production this past season while playing on a top line, and also racking up a number of fights and 141 penalty minutes. A safe prospect in the sense that no matter what else happens, he’ll have a job as – at the very least – a fourth line enforcer.
6) Tim Bozon – LW – Kamloops Blazers, WHL
6’0.5″, 180 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 42nd (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 26th; The Hockey News – 43rd; McKeen’s – 41st to 60th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
Bozon, who can also play center, has the NHL bloodlines that Trevor Timmins seems to love, since his father played 144 games with the St. Louis Blues. A strong skater with a wide-stride, he impressively scored 36 goals and 71 points in 71 games as a WHL rookie this season, leaving him runner up for the league’s top freshman. His on-ice work ethic makes him a very intriguing prospect, battling hard at both ends of the ice.
5) Martin Frk – RW – Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
5’11.5″, 205 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 20th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 33rd; The Hockey News – 45th; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
At the start of the season, Frk was seen as a surefire first rounder, but he was struck with injury trouble (like much of this year’s draft class) and only played 34 games this year for Halifax, struggling to find a groove at times when he was on the ice (resulting in his declining a World Juniors invite). Despite all of that, he improved his points-per-game average year-over-year with 29 in 34 this past season. If his skating isn’t a strength, his shot is perhaps his best attribute, and he likes to play a tough, physical game with a filled-out frame despite his very average height.
4) Henrik Samuelsson – C – Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
6’2″, 195 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 75th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 39th; The Hockey News – 50th; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
Samuelsson, son of long-time NHL’er Ulf, plays both center and right wing. After spending 2010-11 with the U.S. National Team Development Program, he started this past season with Modo of the Swedish Elite League before joining the Oil Kings for the season’s final 28 games. He adapted well and should only continue to improve, playing a physical North American brand of hockey, not unlike his father’s. He picked his play up in the post-season scoring 14 points in 17 games, and was especially impressive during the Memorial Cup, being named to the tournament all-star team with five points in four games.
3) Nicolas Kerdiles – LW – USNTDP U18, USHL
6’1.5″, 200 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 29th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 27th; The Hockey News – 33rd; McKeen’s – 41st to 60th; Future Considerations – 1st to 20th
In the category of things you didn’t know about Kerdiles, he is a friend of Alex Galchenyuk (who I hope the Canadiens select third overall), and speaks some Russian. He led the U.S. team in regular season scoring, and has also won two gold medal at the last two World U18 events. The versatile winger/center is a great skater and puck protector who isn’t afraid to engage physically, and many feel he has another still untapped offensive gear being limited by his club’s defensive style and a lack of talented linemates. Even if that offense doesn’t pan out, he can play a good enough two-way game, but will need to improve in maturity and discipline before moving to the next level.
2) Stefan Matteau – LW – USNTDP U18, USHL
6’1.5″, 210 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 17th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 41st; The Hockey News – 30th; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
Matteau’s father Stephane is a native Quebec’er and veteran of over 800 NHL games, though he himself is American-born playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program. There he shows to be a blooming power forward, with strong skating and a willingness to hit everything moving (though it’s led to some discipline concerns). His puck skills aren’t top notch, so his offense comes more from a simple north-south game and a quick release.
1) Mark Jankowski – C – Stanstead, USHS
6’2″, 170 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 43rd (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 36th; The Hockey News – 37th; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
Though the rankings above seem fairly consistent, there may not be a prospect ranked more all over the place in mock drafts than Jankowski. His frame and output (19 goals and 30 points in just 13 games) have some projecting him as a first rounder, but such a small sample size against such a low level of competition makes it really hard to evaluate him properly. Given that his Stanstead College is right here in Quebec, it’s possible the Canadiens watched him closer than any other NHL club this season, plus he is certainly well known to scout Bobby Kinsella who grabbed him with Dubuque’s first selection in this year’s 2012 USHL draft. He grew a full six inches during the year, hence he’s still skinny and needs to add strength, but he is a finesse skilled center which offers home run potential. That’s why I like him here; a bit risky, raw, and untested, but the opportunity to draft a future star in the second round.
ROUND 2 – 51ST OVERALL
5) Brian Hart – RW – Phillips Exeter, USHS
6’2″, 215 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 54th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 48th; The Hockey News – 56th; McKeen’s – 41st to 60th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
Hart is a big boy who has put up dominant numbers against weak competition each of the last two years. The Canadiens have liked to draft all-around athletes in the past, and Hart was a top soccer player before opting for the hockey path, committing to Harvard University in the footsteps of one Louis Leblanc. A good skater with a heavy shot, playing a power game he has the potential to be a steal at this pick. But many are concerned about his development henceforth, after spending two years against low-level opponents and now heading to a non-top tier college for next season.
4) Tanner Pearson – LW – Barrie Colts, OHL
6’0″, 200 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 25th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 40th; The Hockey News – 36th; McKeen’s – 21st to 40th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
Pearson is an overage center and winger after going undrafted each of the last two years, but made a lot of teams regret not taking a flyer on him. Turning 20 in August, he’ll be able to make the jump straight to the AHL after more than doubling his production this past season year-over-year, scoring 91 points in 60 games to finish third in the OHL despite missing time to play for Canada at the World Junior Championship. An average skater, he is a great playmaker with a quick and accurate shot, consistently threatening the opposition thanks to his top end hockey sense.
3) Daniil Zharkov – RW – Belleville Bulls, OHL
6’3″, 195 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 32nd (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 28th; The Hockey News – 49th; McKeen’s – 41st to 60th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
Zharkov is Russian-born but played 2010-11 in the USHL and this past season in Belleville, which should temper any KHL concerns. Limited to 50 games due to injury, the agile-skating big bodied Zharkov still scored 23 goals and 36 points as an OHL rookie. The biggest issues that will keep him out of the first round are his consistency and vision, which some see as harder to teach skills, but if they can be improved with maturity and added strength, he has the tools to be a force.
2) Jarrod Maidens – C – Owen Sound Attack, OHL
6’0.5″, 180 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 35th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 52nd; The Hockey News – 38th; McKeen’s – 41st to 60th; Future Considerations – 61st to 80th
Maidens showed a knack for being cool under pressure in scoring the overtime winner in game 7 of the OHL finals in his rookie season in 2010-11. He improved his offensive production this year but was limited to just 28 games due to a concussion, still managing 12 goals and 23 points before that. His skating, shot, and intangibles (leadership and work ethic) make him a high end prospect, but there are questions about his physical game (though some still believe he will increase in power as he adds to his frame) and decision-making with the puck.
1) Cristoval Nieves – RW – Kent, USHS / Indiana, USHL
6’3″, 185 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 27th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 58th; The Hockey News – 55th; McKeen’s – 41st to 60th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
Nicknamed Boo, Nieves is considered one of the draft’s better skaters, which makes him an interesting pick given his big frame. Flags were raised when he was unable to improve on his previous season’s numbers offensively (though he still had 39 points in 26 high school games and 10 points in 13 USHL games once this high school season was over), which has some penciling him as more of a third line type, though his defensive game is not yet well rounded enough for such a role. That’s the risk with Nieves, who could be a boom-or-bust type selection depending on how his offense translates to the University of Michigan in the Fall. To reach his full potential, he will need to bulk up so that his driving the net becomes more effective. He is probably best remembers this season for this highlight reel goal from last summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament.
ROUND 3 – 64TH OVERALL
5) Charles Hudon – LW – Chicoutimi Sagueneens, QMJHL
5’10”, 170 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 95th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 34th; The Hockey News – 80th; McKeen’s – 81st to 100th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
As you can see, there is little consensus as to where Hudon should be drafted, attributable mostly to his small stature. When you’re as small as Hudon, usually you need top end speed to make up for it, which he lacks. There are exceptions (see: Brendan Gallagher, at least thus far), and Hudon’s playmaking ability helped him put up 66 points in 59 games this season, while playing a physical brand of hockey despite his size. Not blessed with a great shot, he makes up for it with shiftiness and quick hands, but was unable to improve much on a rookie season in 2010-11 that saw him take best freshman honours in the QMJHL. Still, while I’d prefer the team add bigger players, he’s one of the top Quebec natives in the draft, so expect him to rank somewhere on Montreal’s list. Will he be more than an Olivier Archambault?
4) Andreas Athanasiou – LW – London Knights, OHL
6’0″, 175 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 40th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 68th; The Hockey News – 32nd; McKeen’s – 101st to 120th; Future Considerations – 61st to 80th
The Canadiens would have noticed Athanasiou, who also plays center, when watching London captain Jarred Tinordi closely this season. Unfortunately, his inconsistent play burried him on the deep and talentend Knights roster, and without much powerplay time, he scored only 37 points in 63 games. He was a healthy scratch for parts of the post-season and started the Memorial Cup likewise, but the Knights brought in his speed and heavy shot looking for a spark, and he scored a goal and an assist in the club’s final 3 contests. If he can improve his strength over the summer, we should see a better year for Athanasiou next season which will be crucial given his weak play in the defensive zone has brought out doubters.
3) Raphael Bussieres – LW – Baie-Comeau , QMJHL
6’1″, 195 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 129th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 81st; The Hockey News – 83rd; McKeen’s – 61st to 80th; Future Considerations – 81st to 100th
We know the Habs will be looking to draft local and Q talent when possible, so along with Hudon, they are certain to consider Bussieres. A late birthday turning 19 in November, Bussieres’s frame allows him to play with some grit while having decent offensive upside, improving production year-over-year and taking his game to another level in this year’s playoffs where in the small sample size of five games, he scored 3 goals and 8 points. His puck possession, shot, and passing are his top abilities, but many question his mental game, be it his hockey sense and decision making, or inconsistencies.
2) Anton Slepyshev – LW – Metallurg Novokuznetsk, KHL
6’2″, 185 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 10th (Europe); Hockey Prospectus – 17th; The Hockey News – 51st; McKeen’s – 61st to 80th; Future Considerations – 41st to 60th
How far will “the Russian factor” cause Slepyshev to slip in this draft? He played most of the season against men in the KHL as a 17-year old, scoring 4 goals and 7 points in 39 games, and played a much bigger role in the World U18s as the Russian squad’s captain, netting 3 goals and 7 points in 6 contests. He isn’t a prototypical skilled Russian playmaker, instead using his frame and skating ability to drive the net, blessed with an array of dangerous shots and a shoot-first mentality that would be welcome in Montreal. The concern is that his compete-level has already earned him a regular KHL job, so can he be wooed to North America?
1) Jake McCabe – D – University of Wisconsin, NCAA
6’0″, 195 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 47th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 67th; The Hockey News – 59th; McKeen’s – 81st to 100th; Future Considerations – 21st to 40th
I’ve slanted this list very heavily towards taking forwards, but something about McCabe’s game makes him one of my favourite prospects outside of the first round. He strikes me as a poor man’s Ryan McDonagh, a positionally sound two-way player who is “good” at everything without necessarily being “great” at anything. He has at times shown slick offensive moves like THIS and earned some powerplay time next to the slick pending UFA Justin Schultz (might drafting him help attract Schultz?), all the while being another of the rare draft eligibles that have already completed a year in University.
ROUND 4 – 94TH OVERALL
5) Tomas Hyka – RW – Gatineau, QMJHL
5’11”, 160 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 45th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 59th; The Hockey News – 39th; McKeen’s – 81st to 100th; Future Considerations – 61st to 80th
Hyka is undersized and lacks strength, which caused him to slip through last year’s selection process undrafted. He was invited to the Philadelphia Flyers’s camp last Fall and impressed, scoring a preseason goal (below), but could not be signed as a European draft-eligible under 22 years of age, and so he spent the season in North America with Gatineau improving his stock for this June. As a rookie, he led the Olympiques in scoring with 64 points in 50 games thanks to his speed and shiftiness. More playmaker than scorer, he’ll need to work on his strength to reach his pro aspirations. He’s considered a shootout specialist as well, which is something it wouldn’t hurt the Canadiens to add to the system.
4) Josh Anderson – LW – London Knights, OHL
6’1″, 185 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 57th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – 101st to 120th; Future Considerations – 81st to 100th
Anderson is the second of four Knights on this list, also serving in a limited role as a rookie. A hard worker who models his game in the style of a power forward, he still managed 12 goals in 64 games from a fourth line. Players in this mold are generally considered “projects,” and Anderson is no exception, needing to improve his technical skating though his top end speed is adequate. Responsible defensively, he produces offense by threatening to go hard at the net and backing it up with a heavy shot.
3) Michael Houser – G – London Knights, OHL
6’1″, 185 lbs – Catches L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 16th (North American Goaltenders); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – N/A; Future Considerations – N/A
Houser, who turns 20 in September, has twice gone undrafted but was named CHL Goaltender of the Year this season. He has improved every year and would provide the Canadiens with some instant depth in the AHL or ECHL, though his numbers were undoubtedly helped by London’s shutdown pair of Jarred Tinordi and Scott Harrington. He deserves credit in his own right though, making key saves in backstopping his team to an OHL title and Memorial Cup Final appearance.
2) Andrey Makarov – G – Saskatoon Blades, WHL
6’1″, 178 lbs – Catches L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 7th (North American Goaltenders); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – 81st to 100th; Future Considerations – 121st to 140th
Makarov, 19, was not only undrafted last year, but also without a home when his 2010-11 club, the QMJHL’s Lewiston, ceased operations. He was eventually taken by the Saskatoon Blades, where he showed significant improvement and which likely means the Canadiens watched him a good deal while observing prospect Darren Dietz. Makarov gained attention during the World Junior Championship, where he first lost the starting role to top prospect Andrei Vasilevski, but regained it during the semi-final, then making 57 saves on 58 shots in a 1-0 loss in the Gold Medal Game. His play waned down the stretch, but it’s understandably linked to fatigue since he doubled his workload from a year ago.
1) Matia Marcantuoni – C – Kitchener Rangers, OHL
6’0′, 170 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 59th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 79th; The Hockey News – 71st; McKeen’s – 81st to 100th; Future Considerations – 81st to 100th
Entering the season, many saw Marcantuoni as a potential first round selection. He is a top skater, and though somewhat average sized, played a style not unlike Erik Cole, shiftily charging the net to either create scoring chances or draw penalties. He has a well-rounded game offensively, but his development was derailed by multiple injuries, looking tentative even when returning to the line-up and managing just 14 points in 24 games. Kitchener tried to simplify his game by moving him from center to the wing, but he remains a wildcard who could bounce back from a tough year, or not. He impressed scouts in testing at the NHL combine, being one of the better performers overall on the bikes.
ROUND 5 – 122nd OVERALL
[Note: This pick was added to the list after it was revealed that the Canadiens would retain it, instead of giving up a fourth round selection to the New York Islanders in 2013 as the last piece of the deal that brought James Wisniewski to Montreal]
5) Justin Hache – D – Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
6’1″, 190 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – 152nd (North America); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – 88th; McKeen’s – 101st to 120th; Future Considerations – 141st to 160th
Hache was an important part of Shawinigan’s defense, but his minutes and responsibilities decreased when the Cataractes brought in Morgan Ellis and Brandon Gormley to load up for the Memorial Cup. A defense-first type of player with some offensive upside, Hache uses his strength and size well to add a physical element to his game. The concern for his development is his skating, which has him sometimes caught flatfooted in his own end by shiftier forwards, but if the New Brunswick native can work on that, he could be a late round sleeper.
4) Jared Thomas – C/LW – Hermantown High, USHS / Sioux City Musketeers, USHL
6’1″, 190 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – N/A; Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – N/A; Future Considerations – 120th to 140th
U.S. High Schools are a great place to fish for potential diamonds in the rough, because their short schedules and the sheer number of players out there means most scouts will have reduced viewings of the players. Thomas is one such player who has played only 3 USHL games in addition to his three great high school seasons as an offensive leader on a dominant club. The Minnesota native (Timmins’s stomping grounds) plays a hard-working, strong, and tough game, and his production comes largely from a heavy shot. His speed is a bit of an issue, but he looks to project – at the very minimum – as a bigger Gabriel Dumont type of player.
3) Cedric Paquette – C – Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, QMJHL
6’1″, 195 lbs – Shoots L
Rankings: Central Scouting – N/A; Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – 101st t0 120th; Future Considerations – N/A
Paquette played last season under the watchful eye of recent Canadiens Development Camp helper J.F. Houle in Blainville-Boisbriand, so it’s not unthinkable that the club may have asked his opinions on the player. Paquette, despite not being ranked by Central Scouting, was also invited to the Habs’ Combine just prior to their Camp, meaning there may be some degree of interest there. Paquette, as a rookie, impressively scored 31 goals in 63 QMJHL games this past season to lead the Armada, and took his game to another level in the post-season where he put up 7 goals and 17 points in just 11 games. His performances in these bigger games, combined with his size and penchant for physical play make him an intriguing option. Two areas he’ll need to improve upon are quickness and discipline/maturity, but his work ethic and intensity should indicate that he’ll be committed to overcoming them.
2) Mitchell Moroz – LW – Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
6’2″, 205 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 72nd (North America); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – 101st to 120th; Future Considerations – 81st to 100th
Based on his size and season of good experience with a Memorial Cup participation, Moroz may be off the board before this selection. Moroz looks like the kind of project power forward that you see taken later on in the draft every year, with no guarantee that he will pan out. Many are attracted to his physical brand of hockey, and hope that the offense and improved acceleration will come with time. What makes him a little different is that he already protects the puck very well, and is a strong backchecker, sounds in his own end. This will appeal to even teams that aren’t looking for a long-shot possible homerun late pick, another reason why Moroz may go earlier.
1) Robert Baillargeon – C – Indiana Ice, USHL
6’0″, 170 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 50th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 106th; The Hockey News – 73rd; McKeen’s – Honourable Mention; Future Considerations – 101st to 120th
If the Canadiens want to corner the market on Anglophones with French names, here’s another they can add to the list. Baillargeon, who goes by Robbie, is a Massachusetts native that played a full season in the USHL last year. He is a pure offensive player, with some criticizing his play in his own end, though that is something that can be improved over time. Average sized, he is a good skater with soft hands and top end passing ability, being primarily a playmaker. He will attend Boston University in 2013, so he should spend the coming season in Indiana trying to add much-needed strength to his frame. The Canadiens have enough two-way, safe, third/fourth line types in the system, so adding a boom-or-bust top six type could be a good fit.
ROUND 6 – 154TH OVERALL
5) Peter Quenneville – C – Sherwood Park Crusaders, AJHL
5’11”, 185 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 159th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – N/A; Future Considerations – 161st to 180th
Without a 7th round pick (at least as of now), this is Montreal’s last chance to take a flyer on a player prior to a training camp invite should they go undrafted. Quenneville was the second player selected by Bobby Kinsella and the Dubuque Fighting Saints after Mark Jankowski though there is a big drop-off between the two. He is an offensive forward who led his AJHL club in scoring with 81 points in 53 games and will attend Quinnipiac University after his season in the USHL. To compensate for his average size, he will need to work on his skating.
4) Seth Griffith – C – London Knights, OHL
5’11”, 180 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – N/A; Hockey Prospectus – 64th; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – Honourable Mention; Future Considerations – 101st to 120th
The final London player on this list is 19-year old Griffith who plays both center and right wing. He was previously undrafted due to his size, but the passed over forward led the Knights with 85 points in 68 games, finishing third in the OHL with 45 goals. He also led his club in scoring in the playoffs en route to the Ontario League championship. His skating and defensive plays are areas he’ll need to improve, but he still has another year in Juniors to work on them and his quick hands will appeal to some teams. Griffith was invited to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s camp last year, but did not receive a contract offer.
3) Justin Kloos – C – Waterloo Black Hawks, USHL
5’9″, 170 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 173rd (North America); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – Sleeper; Future Considerations – N/A
Kloos is a small player, but we know of Trevor Timmins’s love for Minnesota hockey, particularly recipients of the state’s Mr. Hockey award, which he earned last season after scoring 103 points in just 31 games at the high school level. He has shown he can produce in the USHL as well, joining Waterloo for 10 games in 2010-11 and scoring 5 points, while netting 2 goals and 2 assists in just 2 games this past season. In the mold of Brian Gionta and Brendan Gallagher, Kloos is a little man who competes hard, but he lacks strength that may hinder his offensive skills from translating to a higher level of competition. He will enter a strong hockey program at the University of Minnesota that may help his stock.
2) Anton Zlobin – RW – Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
5’11”, 195 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 137th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – 109th; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – Sleeper; Future Considerations – 181st to 200th
Like Griffith, Zlobin is a forward passed over in last year’s draft but with still another year of CHL play ahead of him, though he won’t be back with the Cataractes next season as he was traded to Val D’Or on QMJHL draft day Saturday. Also like Griffith, he led a top regular season team in scoring, registering 40 goals and 76 points in 66 games with Shawinigan, where the Canadiens would have gotten acquainted with him in watching Michael Bournival and Morgan Ellis. He got a lot of attention as the player who scored an overtime Memorial Cup-winning goal (below) on a pass from Bournival, demonstrating character by fighting through extreme fatigue after a very tough schedule for his Cataractes. He has quick hands and is a shoot-first type, but needs to improve his skating and his willingness to engage physically despite his average size.
1) Ryan Olsen – C – Saskatoon Blades, WHL
6’2″, 180 lbs – Shoots R
Rankings: Central Scouting – 178th (North America); Hockey Prospectus – N/A; The Hockey News – N/A; McKeen’s – Sleeper; Future Considerations – 121st to 140th
Olsen is a big forward with offensive skill who was stuck in a fourth line role with Darren Dietz‘s Blades this season. His 15 goals and 32 points in 67 games were underwhelming, but he should get more ice time next season, and will play in the Memorial Cup with host Saskatoon. His acceleration will need to be improved for his development to continue, but that should come as he adds strength in filling out his 6’2″ frame. A big, right-handed center with hands sounds like a good gamble for the Canadiens to take in round 6.