Thursday, April 26, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 2 - The Draft

The Habs on ice re-tooling starts at this June's draft

After finishing the season in 28th place, the Canadiens find themselves with the third overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.

While there are many holes that need to be filled before the Habs can compete with the league's top teams, a number one center has been at the top of their list for years.

With the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets picking ahead of the Canadiens it is pretty much guaranteed that selecting top ranked Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting is out of the question.

With Yakupov out of the equation, here is a look at a few of the possible picks for the Montreal Canadiens.

Mikhail Grigorenko, Quebec Remparts, QMJHL

Grigorenko was in the running with Yakupov throughout the season as this year's top prospect before Yakupov played his way to being the unanimous number one.

Grigorenko finished the season in the Q with 85 points — 40 goals and 45 helpers — in 59 games. However, the consensus on him seems to be that he plays one game on and three games off. Another knock on Grigorenko is that he is said to rack up a majority of his points against weaker teams.

If Grigorenko does indeed have a tendency of taking nights off then the the Habs should take a pass on him despite his numbers and alluring 6'2" 191 pound frame.

Nonetheless, it is a popular belief in Montreal that the Canadiens have all but decided to pick the Russian prospect in June. The fact that he played under head coach Patrick Roy meshes well with rumors that St. Patrick has already accepted the coaching job in Montreal.

In fact, a few weeks back a Twitter account believed to be Grigorenko's posted a tweet announcing his eagerness to be drafted and to possibly play under Roy again. The tweet was deleted roughly five minutes later but not before creating a storm of rumors in Montreal.

Tempest in a teapot or something more? Time will tell.

Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia Sting, OHL

Galchenyuk is poised to go high in the draft despite missing all but two games this past season due to surgery performed on his ACL.

In 2010-11 Galchenyuk scored 31 goals and added 52 assists in 68 games.

The Wisconsin bred Galchenyuk is said to be a fantastic two0way player and has even been favorably compared to Marian Hossa by former NHLer Igor Larionov.

Filip Forsberg, Leksands IF, Swedish Allsvenskan (Second Division) 

While Forsberg — no relation to former NHL great Peter Forsberg — is a winger and not a center, it would be tough for the Canadiens to pass on if he remains available when the TBA GM of the Habs takes to the podium.

Forsberg earned 20 points, including ten goals, in 53 contests with Leksands of the Swedish Second Division. Off hand, the numbers may not appear excessively gaudy, but it is worth remembering that the Sweden owns some of the top professional leagues outside of North America.

Forsberg also turned more heads during the recent IIHF Under-18 World Championship, notching five goals and two assists in six games en route to a silver medal finish. In addition, the winger was named named the tournament's top forward.

Unfortunately, size is an asset that the Habs would be sacrificing if they were to go with Forsberg.

At 6'1" and 176 lbs, Forsberg relies on his speed and impressive on-ice maneuvering more than on his frame. Along with his speed, Forsberg is said to have a quick shot and soft hands that deliver crisp passes.

Radek Faksa, Kitchener Rangers, OHL

Faksa would definitely bring more size up the middle. He is 6'3" 203 lbs and only going to get bigger with time.

Faksa plays a well rounded game as he is effective at both ends of the ice. The Habs could use his size along with his hard shot, smooth playmaking abilities and strong work ethic.

His ability to protect the puck and his overall game should make him attractive to any team looking to add a centerman to their roster.

Faksa racked up 67 points, including 29 goals, in 62 games for Kitchener in 2011-12.

There Can Be Only One

Although the Habs brass may be enjoying the amount of talent they have to choose from, the fact remains that they will have to decide on one of the above mentioned players.

Each prospect shows promise but the Canadiens will be under tons of pressure to draft someone who can help them reclaim the respect that used to be associated with the CH logo.

While it would be ideal to get instant help, Yakupov is probably the only NHL ready player named on my list and unfortunately the Canadiens do not stand much of a chance at landing him.

Personally, I would have my list shortened to either Forsberg or Faksa.

If you were calling the shots who would you pick?

Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at You can follow Sean on Twitter.

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)


Dumba, Forsberg or Galchenyuk are next best, after Yakupov.
Couldnt miss with any of the 3 and i would ignore the current roster need and take the one Timmins and his staff consider the best player available and ignore position of such.
I wouldnt say Grigorenko is a bad pick, but maybe as a 5th pick at highest, especially given playoff poor showing.

Honestly, if Patrick Roy is the coach next year, I'll convert to being a Jets fan.

Good stuff Sean!

Personally, I am leaning towards Forsberg. Then again, I have seen so little of these players, I do not have much of a read on the situation. Having said that, Grigs year end slide worries me.



I can relate to the sentiment.

Forsberg is not playing in the Swedish Elite League he's playing in the second division league.

Arnaud Hudon


Yes, he is! Blame the editor (ahem, me) for that. Thanks for pointing it out.

In fairness, Leksands played in the SEL for 53 years. Ed Belfour even played there in 07-08!

For me it's down to 2 players. Galchenyuk would be my number one choice but of he's chosen #2 then I am by all means slipping Forsberg and Grigorenko and am going to Select Murray.

I know we have a stock pile of Dmen but he's projected to be far and away better than them all. Best case scenario we have a Dcore of Subban, Gorges, Emelin, Tinordi, Beaulieu, Murray. Worst case scenario is that one of them is dealt for an elite forward.

Grigorenko was a bust for Quebec in the Q playoffs and the Habs DO NOT need another Kostytsin clone.

Grigorenko = Yashin. Faksa = Bonk.

I would try to acquire the 1st pick overall from Edmonton (would they accept Subban, Gallagher and Holland for it?) and keep our own pick at 3 and draft Galchenyuk or Dumba. Go big or go home!

fu habsfan47, chances are leaning towards Roy as head coach

Grigorenko,although,sounds like a lazy person and a slacker. worst case scenario habs will take grigs

If they get Yakupov (highly unlikely), I will laugh my head off! LOL

I would go for Faksa. Every time the Canadiens were cup winners they had a good goalie, awesome defence and strength up the middle. Lets get some solid, big talented centermen.

Always a fan..

Grigorenko's playoff numbers were not so bad,6gp 2g 6a.It would not surprise,or disappoint me if Roy is head coach,and Grigorenko is drafted.I did scratch my head when people mentioned Roy as general manager.

Grigorenko was asleep when he played in halifax. he's piles up a bunch of numbers in a short time and then is nowhere to be found. le tricolore have had enough of that crap. who cares if he is a centre he's a sleeper.

I honestly think that if there is even the slight doubt about Grigorenko, you have to pass.

With the third overall pick, the Habs simply cannot afford to "miss". They need to hit a home run. As such, if you are not 100% about either his work-ethic, intensity, consistency or anything else like that, then you pass, looking at Dumba or Galchenyuk, or someone else.

You've just got to hit a home run here.


Problem is that apart from Yakupov I believe most people agree that there are question marks through the projected top 30.

There are signs that Dumba, Murray, Galchenyuk, Forsberg will be good NHL players but none are projected to be superstars.

The new Habs GM may just ultimately decide to trade down. I mean why not.

Why do people keep trying to trade Subban.He is a top flight talent and will continue to get better.Gallagher almost made the team last year...Holland made great strides this past season.Trade down get some more picks for next years draft, take Faksa.

Well there is nothing wrong with trading a guy like SUbban if the return is worth the price. Subban is my favorite player in the league and I'd hate to see him go but if a team overpays for his services then our new GM would be foolish not to do it IMO>

I would peg Dumba to be a lock as a future superstar, a hitting machine, who unlike Subban will not turn down the opportunity to drop the gloves and as the U18 just showed, he has the offense as well.
What is there not to like? He would be loved in Montreal, as Subban was when he started.

trading Subban to grab the 1st pick overall and keeping the #3 pick means the Habs are rebuilding because the Habs have no one to replace Subban in the short/medium run. I mean the Habs had such a weak defense last year.

Does the Habs want to retool or rebuild? I see value on both strategies

Dumba (5'11" 175 lbs) is small and will not be as physical at the Pro level.
I am starting to lean towards the trade down theory and then package our 2nd rounder with another pick to draft twice in the top 15-20.
Griffin Reinhart is likely to be a top 3, very physical d-man, 6'4" 205 lbs and Brendan Gaunce is a 6'2" 215 lb Center with good offence who should go in the 15-20 range.
Can you imagine a twin towers shutdown tandem of Reinhart & Tinordi? Both mean and talented.

@ Anon

I think we'd be foolish to part with Subban for Yakupov. If playoffs tell us anything it is defense and goaltending that wins championships.

So if that was the trade I would be asking Edmonton what else they would be throwing in. Sure Yakupov may one day become a dominant player but like all draft picks, they are question marks.

But I am thinking more along the lines of a hypothetical where a team is desperate for a D-man and throws around a massive deal. I'd be listening.

I feel a re-tool is what the Habs need. While I agree with Bryan that anybody can be traded for the right return, I also agree that trading him in order to get yakupov is enough.

I concentrated on forwards in the draft because with Beaulieu and Tinordi continuing to develop and Markov, Subban, Gorges and Emelin already here the Habs are more set in thier back end than they are up front.

I'll be taking a look at what needs to be done at both positions over ye next to articles.

This comment has been removed by the author.

I have the solution.

When Pierre McGuire is hired as GM next week this is what is going to happen.

1) The Montreal Canadiens are please to announce that Carey Price and Yannick Weber have been traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for the 1st overall pick, Magnus Paarjvi Svensson and Theo Peckham.

2) The Montreal Canadiens are please to announce that Andrei Markov has been dealt to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Roberto Luongo.

3) The Montreal Canadiens are please to announce that the 3rd overall pick and the rights to Danny Kristo has been dealt to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Zack Bogosian and the 9th overall selection.

4) With the first pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft the Montreal Canadiens are pleased to Select Nail Yakupov.

5) With the 9th pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft he Montreal Canadiens are please to select Malcolm Subban.

6) With the cap savings of Price, Markov the Montreal Canadiens are please to announce that they have signed Defensemen Ryan Suter to a 7 year, $42 million contract.

Our team next season




Subban for the future.

I know i Know. I am just bored

TSN (Bob McKenzie) has correctly guessed whom the #3 pick would be for 5 years running.
Based on his final ranking, but if his April rank does not change, we are looking at Ryan Murray's name being called.
Which is fine by me; again, with the top 5 prospects you cant lose, cept Grigorenko does make me nervous.


Nice to dream but would you really make the Price to Edmonton trade?
Too risky in what you are getting in return, though I think Edmonton would be interested.
I would trade anybody including Price & Subban but the return must be an upgrade in guaranteed young talent.
Shea Weber/Corey Perry type of return or no dice.
You can't trade young Franchise players for hopefuls unless you're loaded with young talent and will blow through the cap ceiling.


Honestly I am not sure. So many variables right now. I would trade any player if the right deal presented itself. If I had another qualified young goaltender in the system then I honestly think i would part with Price for Yakupov, MPS and a D-man.

Would I make a move like that with Budaj as the only possible replacement, not a chance.

I am going to blog about what I would do if I was given the reigns but as a sneak peak Price and Subban would not be moved.

I would however dangle the 3rd overall pick and would shop Markov, Gionta, Desharnais.

MPS is barely an AHLer at present and Oilers have no d-men worth anything (and Habs dont need any) and Yakupov hasnt played 1 game against pros yet.
And Yakupov is not that much better than #3 prospect that I would ever waste another pick/prospect to move up only 2 spots.
Maybe if i held a #5 to 10 pick, but who is to say Galchenyuk is not even better than Yakupov in long run or right now? he is bigger and a centre; or Murray has future Captain written all over him, was Yakupov even an assistant on his junior team? Did he tear up playoffs or help lead his team?

I would like to see Patrick Roy as coach for montreal.I'am not sure about Price he plays a couple of good games and when you need him the most he lets you down.Pierre M'Guire i do not like for GM.Subban is your future.Andrei Markov i like, but it's time to trade him while he has a good leg.

I would not trade subban for any defenseman in the nhl.he is the best now.


If we were to deal with Edmonton and Price and Weber were the pieces involved, I would think it would need to include Taylor Hall, Devan Dubnyk, Colten Teubert and Theo Peckham.
Yakupov & MPS represent way too much risk for the Habs in that particular trade. I think for once a Hab (Price) actually has more value outside of Mtl than we think.


I think it's pretty safe to say that Price is not going anywhere. I was just throwing it out there. If PrIces name was dangled I am sure it could fetch a hell of a return. Would I take Hall over Yakupov, for sure. Teubert looks to be a decent player in the AHL at least.

To be honest I expect very little movement from the new GM. Gomez buried, maybe a UFA impact player but otherwise low key in year one.

From the description it sounds like it`s a no-brainer. The Habs should pick Faksa. He`s everything we need!

Norm from Notre Dame says;
Price,Subban and Pacioretty are our future. We cannot afford to make the same mistake we made by trading McDonagh

Pacioretty Desharnais Cole
Galchenyuk Marleau Parenteau
Boedker Eller Leblanc
Moen T.Mitchell White
Geoffrion Dumont Boll

Suter Subban
Vlasic Gorges
Emelin Volchenkov
St-Denis Beaulieu


@ Anon

I honestly do not see wholesale changes as you do. With that said I predict something like the following.

1) Gomez will not be bought out he will be sent to Hamilton freeing up $7.4 million in cap space.

2) Look for Bergevin to approach players with familiarity.

3) Look fro him to do small tinkering of the line-up initially because he won't be overly familiar with the team.

So with that said this is how I see it playing out.

- We are going to draft Alex Galcheyuk. But he will not be part of the roster next season.

- Since Bergevin is familiar with the West and specifically the central division look for him to be active with Ex-Preds, Blackwhawks, Blue Jackets, Red Wings and Blues.

I therefore predict:

1) Look for us to offer a big contract to a pending UFA D-man. I know we are deep in D-prospects but right now we are hurting. My guess is that Barrett Jackman will be tops on that list but I am hoping for a splash with Ryan Suter.

2) Look for us to offer a 3 year deal to Jordan Tootoo. He is on the outside looking in the playoffs and not in Trotz' good books.

3) Look for Bergevin to get bigger and slightly tougher. But don't expect major wholesale changes

4) Look for him to trade one of Desharnais or Plekanec. Everyone seems to see Plekanec being dealt but he is so much more important to this team than is Desharnais.


Pacioretty - J.Staal - Cole
Yakupov - Galchenyuk - Doan
Wolski - Leblanc - Gallagher
T.Mitchell - Pahlsson - White

Gorges - Subban
Emelin - Kulikov
O'Brien - Demers

Demers For Gionta
Kulikov|Wolski For Desharnais|Bourque|Weber|Picks
Staal For Eller|Kristo|Pick
Yakupov|CP For Plekanec|Markov|Pick [Conditional pick from Oilers. Markov: games played.]

Gomez|Kaberle - Minors|trade to cap floor teams

WOW What a dreamer.

I think the first thing that will happen is a trade with Tallon in Florida to try and make a swap for whats best for both teams. Same with Bowman back in Chicago. There are always tweaks to be made, and his friends and former colleagues will certainly wants to help Bergevin, and themselves in the process.

Dudley & Lapointe in the office. Would love to see McGuire get hired 'Jim Nill style' as support staff.

Former Blackhawk and Canadien Denis Savard in as head coach? St-Patrick Le Roi? Goalie coach? Both? Either? Id like to see Larry Robinson involved as well.

Roy would make Price the best goalie ever.. or Price would be checking into the Douglas.. or lost 'into the wild style'.. looking for Gomez' game.

we need a solid big center ie galchenyuk or faksa...forget the one knows where they will end up playing...or trade our pick and a prospect for huberdeau who is awesome et il est francais !!

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