07
Jun
13

Who Should Habs Draft This Year?

With the 2013 draft coming up in New Jersey, the Montreal Canadiens have to make some important decisions. After being disposed of early in the playoffs while taking advantage of a shortened season to make the playoffs, they are far from contending for a Stanley Cup like they were 20 years ago in 1993. This draft is very deep and definitely contains the strongest talent pool in decades. Will the Canadiens continue to waste draft picks on duds like they have over the past decade or more with Trevor Timmins as head scout, or will they go back to the glory days and draft franchise leaders and gems? Before we look at who the Habs should draft with their positions, is it time the Canadiens consider trading older or less durable assets for higher picks? For example, Andrei Markov would be worth trading to along with the Canadiens first round pick (25th overall) and Yanick Weber to the Columbus Blue Jackets for 6’2″ defenceman David Savard along with Columbus’ 14th and 19th positions overall or straight up to one of the teams who currently possess a pick in the top 7 of the first round. Although Markov had a decent comeback season he is showing that he is in-effective in big game scenarios and with his age, there is an opportunity as this is the best you’ll get for him and it will clear up some salary cap as well. To fill the immediate void the Habs can go after some big free agent talent.

Other options can be asking Captain Brian Gionta to waive his no trade clause and trade him to a team of his choice (ie. New Jersey, Minnesota, etc.) to gain another 3rd round pick in this heavy talent draft pool. Other options as well can include shipping out injury prone Max Pacioretty (who just popped his shoulder) or other prospects along with their 25th pick overall to get a much higher draft pick yet again plus some second or third round picks. Some of the players in the top of the draft pack with their size and strength are pretty much ready to make the jump to the NHL next year. Ok, beyond the trading, let’s look at who the Habs should draft with their picks in the first three rounds this year:

1st round (25th overall) – either 6’5″ C Frederik Gauthier (Rimouski) or 6’7″ D Samuel Morin (Rimouski)
2nd round (34th overall) – either 6’0″ LW Emile Poirier (Gatineau) or 6’0″ RW Valentin Zykov (Baie-Comeau)
2nd round (36th overall) – 6’0″ LW William Carrier (Cape Breton) or 6’2″ D Shea Theodore (Seattle)
2nd round (55th overall) – either 6’0″ C Laurent Dauphin (Chicoutimi) or 5’11” Anthony Duclair (Quebec)
3rd round (71th overall) – 6’1″ G Philippe Desrosiers (Rimouski)
3rd round (86th overall) – 6’0″ D Niklas Hansson (Rogue – Sweden Jr.) or 5’11” LW Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau (Baie-Comeau)

Only time will tell who the Habs preference in terms of drafting for this year but they need to forgo the past style of drafting individual talent and looking to build on the chemistry within the team as well as proven winners. Some of the above names you probably recognize from the U18 Team Canada team that trounced the US in the championship final recently. Another thing that you might notice is the heavy weighting towards the Quebec league (QJMHL). Given the fact that the last three years in a row the Memorial Cup Winner has been a team from the Quebec league as well as the subway series where the Quebec league juniors hammered the Russians in the last game, it is obvious that the Montreal Canadiens need to tap this winning talent (instead of letting other teams like the Letang’s of Pittsburgh or the Patrice Bergeron’s of Boston). These players are for real and play the Montreal Canadiens style of hockey.

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