Monday, July 1, 2013

Habs' 2013 Draft Shows Size & Character Trump Skill

Going into yesterday's draft, opinions varied on what direction Canadiens' GM Marc Bergevin and the team's braintrust would take with their selections.

To the surprise of many, Trevor Timmons went to the podium and select Michael McCarron of the United States Development League with the Canadiens' first-round pick.

At six foor, five inches and 235 lbs., McCarron is not your typical top six forward, but can very well play in that role, should his team need him there.

The right winger has been compared by many as a Milan Lucic type players, who isn't afraid to get physical and drop the mits, yet has better than average skill and finish in the offensive zone.

His selection immediately told Habs' fans and the media alike that the culture surrounding the Canadiens' had changed. No more will the NHL's most storied franchise select the "best player available". Instead they would address organizational needs, a strategy which is esential to be competitive in a salary cap world.

With their 34th pick, the Habs made even more fans happy with their selection of Jacob De La Rose from the Swedish Elite League.

At six feet, two inches and 176 lbs, the gritty, versatile two-way forward still had some growing out to do. While he is listed as a left winger, De La Rose can play at center.

While he has an awkward skating style, he has a innate ability to win forecheck races and isn't afraid to take contact to win them.

Again, with this pick as well, the Habs addressed their needs to get bigger and more physical.

The biggest surprise was the selection of goaltender Zachary Fucale of the Memorial Cup champion Halifax Mosseheads.

Fucale was the consensus number one rated goalie in this year's entry draft. Although many attribute the Mooseheads' championship to their two stud forwards in Nathan McKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, the coach, Dominique Ducharme, said that Fucale is the type of goaltender who will give you a big save when the team needs it, and his talent allows his team to concentrate on scoring rather than worrying about the defensive zone.

With only Dustin Tokarski in the Habs' farm system, Fucale addresses a definite need to strengthen goaltending within the organization. While many may see this selection as the team losing confidence in Carey Price, Fucale will need at leat three years to fully develope, posing no threat to the Habs' number one netminder.

The Canadiens rounded out the second round by taking Finnish left winger Artturi Lehkonen. The 5 foot, 11 inch forward is considered an elite playmaker, with incredible vision on the ice.

While not overly physical, he is a tenacious player, like many now being developed in Finland. He has an aptitude for delivering solid open-ice hits, and displays above average puck control at top speed.

The Habs finished the draft by selecting left winger Connor Crisp of the Erie Otters at #71, right winger Sven Andrighetto of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies at #86,  left winger Martin Reway from the Gatineau Olympiques at #116, and finally centre Jeremy Gregoire of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar at #176. The Canadiens traded their seventh round pick to the Florida Panthers for their seventh round pick in 2014.

All in all, the Canadiens did an excellent job restocking their farm system with quality players, that they didn't necessary think would be available to them. Of course, only time will tell if this draft class is worth its weight in gold, but it certainly has HabsNation anxious for the future.


yup wee needed to get bigger 4 years ago.

Now MacCarron will be in good hands. He's either headed to London to be mentored by the Hunter's in a great OHL program or he'll be a West Michigan Bronco headed by former Habs coach Andy Murray.

I like this out of nowhere pick.

I had the Habs taking McCarron with their first pick in the second round, and either Rychel (unavailable) or Hartman with their first round pick. But, I understand them not wanting to risk leaving McCarron on the board until the second round. I may have picked Compher over De La Rose, but picking Fucale with the 36th overall pick just made sense. An elite goalie prospect from Quebec available that late, it would have been foolish to pass on him.

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