Welcome to Canadiens Time episode 7. It is post-draft time and well we had fun didn’t we but no time for that cuz we’ve got a lot to talk about and by we I mean I and here we go so. First things first before we get into the draft picks of course there was the Alexander Romanov-Kirby Dach trade and obviously that’s set off some just some surprises for everyone. We expected the center to come out of that draft and we didn’t expect it to come this way. Interestingly Kent Hughes in his post draft press conference has had this to say. Said
“It was very difficult. We tried to move up. We’ve been talking to Chicago for two or three weeks about Kirby Dach. It was very clear to them what they wanted in terms of draft picks. We did everything we could to move up with the many picks that we had, but at the end of the day, we couldn’t convince a team to make the trade with picks. Romanov was one of the players being talked about. We’re disappointed to lose Romy, and we wish him the best with the Islanders. Sometimes to get what we want, we need to make sacrifices, too.”
and he also said about the trade at a different point he said they had more depth on the left side as opposed to right D and Center.so that’s sort of what led to the big trade. Dach had his own media availability and when he asked he was asked about what he brings to the table he said that
“I feel like I’m pretty offensive and smart with the puck who can make plays but also that reliable two way centerman that’s big and strong down the middle of the ice that skates well…”
So you had that and he was also was asked about what he thought about Dach and Hughes had this to say:
We were looking to improve and get a little bigger, a little faster in the middle of the ice. There’s also, in a perfect world, an age component to it that he can grow with our young corps, and certainly he fit that description for us. We knew that he was available potentially, so we spent a good amount of time trying to understand who he was. We spoke to a lot of people in and around Chicago associated with the team, even to the extent of speaking with Justin Barron today, who was with him at the World Juniors, just to make sure we understood who the player was. We’re going to invest money in developing hockey players and try to get the most out of their potential. We believe that Kirby has significant potential and we’re hopeful that with the Montreal Canadiens we can bring him along and get him to a point where he’s a pretty special centerman.”
There was an interesting piece by Ken McMillan in A Winning Habit that also analyzed the trade and spoke about Romanov and here is a quote about Romanov said
“But, it appears [Romanov’s] limit is a physical, defensive defenceman who doesn’t get the puck up ice in the most consistent way. He will never run a power play and just hasn’t shown to be an offensive contributor at all. At best, he looks to be a second pairing shutdown defender for the next decade.
Now McMillan went on to say there’s nothing wrong with that but I think the point is is that there was an expectation that Romanov was going to be a different player than he is and I think there was even an expectation that the day of the trade for the Islanders who got him that he was going to be a different player than he is. There’s also also there was a question of well Dach has been struggling and McMillan said
“But Dach has scored just 59 points in 152 career games so far. He was probably rushed to the NHL as an 18 year old after being a third overall pick by a desperate Blackhawks team looking to recapture the glory days “
Point taken there.
So now we move on to the draft proper and the Canadians surprised many by actually using more than 10 pics and they they picked 11
Of course the first surprise though not to some as I’ll get to later was of course your eyes Slafkovsky got picked instead of Shane Wright at the first pick and Canadians Co-Director of amateur scouting Martin Lapointe had this to say about Slafkovsky.
“He’s a pretty impressive kid. He’s a very strong kid. He’s big, but he still has lots of room to grow. He’s a kid that you want to be around. He’s got such a charisma, you want to be talking to him, you want to be around him. He wants to make a difference, and that’s the way he plays the game. Here in Montreal, he just loves it. He had a feel for it on Thursday when all the fans were cheering for him. This guy, he’s a hockey player, and he wants to get better. He’s not perfect, but he wants to get better, and for me that’s a hockey player”
Yeah that that didn’t actually say much so let’s move on to a few other comment
Matt Drake and Patrick Bexell in a Habs eyes on the prize piece had their own break down of Slafkovsky which I’m not going to read most of it to you cuz I want you to read the piece but they they did have this to say and one part of it:
“Slafkovsky is almost universally considered to be the most NHL-ready player of this draft class. His size, shot, and skating are all at a professional level, and have been on display against men in the top Finnish professional league. The concern was whether his 10 points in 31 Liiga games was worthy of a first-overall pick.”
And they go into much greater detail. There’s a lot there’s a ton in that article so and also in another Habs Eyes on the Prize piece Nathan Ni also tries to consextualize…contextualize I almost said consexualize and that’s not good don’t do that ever. Anyway they tried they tried to in this article looked at Slafkovsky’s Liga point-scoring and looked at it prior to the Olympics and after the Olympics trying to look at the performance and it’s that’s also a very good read. And Kent Hughes have also this to say about Slafkovsky which gives some insight into why they picked him:
“There aren’t many players who can skate, who have a big body and are able to score like Juraj. At the same time, when you build a team, we often talk about centers and goaltenders. When we tried to differentiate one player from another, we often came back to the fact that Juraj, even when he played with men at the World Championships, wanted to make a difference. He wanted to have the puck all the time. One of the questions that I asked him when I met him was to know what he loved most about hockey. He told me being on the ice when they’re up 4-3 or are down 4-3. This type of response is what we saw from him as a player.”
He also added in a different section:
“We think this is a kid that not only has the mindset that we’re looking for, but we also evaluate what he has in his game, what he has in terms of natural abilities, and where he could be if we help him along in that process.” –
An interesting question was from the media was there saying but would you have piked Slafkovsky if the Dach trade had gone through or if it had like what did the Dach trade affect whether you’re going to get Slafkovsky because obviously you knew you had to know where you’re getting that center or not and Hughes said:
“We probably would have taken Yuraj one way or the other.”
So that’s just interesting insight but where is Yuraj going to end up in the going forward and is it going to end up in Montreal is going to happen Laval where is he going to end up and it is it going to end up back in the Finish League well he’s had this to say said:
“We’d like him in North America. We’ll be fluid in terms of that decision and flexible. We’re hopeful that, wherever he starts, based on how he looks over the remainder of this summer and in training camp, if he shows that he’s ready to play in Montreal, he’ll play in Montreal. If not, he’ll play in Laval.”
So that’s just that’s just so is it the seems like one way or the other so cause he’s going to be over here playing somewhere and come back and as for Slafkovsky himself he of course had to deal with certain things in the first day when he was coarse dealing with the surprise of it and he was asked in a media opportunity he was asked what he’s going to do to respond to the pressure of being first when everyone thought Wright was going to refer someone to say everyone that’s with an asterix it’s a figure of speech he just said:
“I just try to do my job as best as I can.”
And then a follow-up question was what about the people that have booed him as there had been some boo that he heard rain down there with that that was the minority and he he had a this is a this is a great quote and he said
“Hockey is their passion as well as mine. Maybe some of them didn’t like me. But I will do everything…that I’m I will play good for this team and maybe actually they will like me one day.”
And the last part was with sort of it just got a laugh but the first part just sort of just sort of laying it out there I just thought was great and so you know it was just the that moment of the announcement that just sent shock waves through the hockey world I mean it’s just can’t Hughes is just really…he just proved that he is just he’s willing to do anything he wants if he thinks it’s the right move or you just he’s just been this this this mastermind that is quite refreshing and and I was for Wright I mean I did a whole podcast on why it should have been Wright and I did I mean I I I was of the opinion it should have been Wright now so the opinion of why I was going to be Wright and and and I was wrong on both fronts so so it’s just well here we go and welcomes Slafkovsky.
So but that was one pick and there is 10 more to go so but the related to Slafkovsky is the fellow Slovak Philip Mesar who got the was pick 26 and Justin Blades had an analysis in Habs Eyes on the Prize, Habs Eyes on the Prize published an article on every draft pick to their credit. Did some really great wor over there and Blades wrote:
“It will be a few more years before Mesar is even an option to make the jump to the top league, unlike Slafkovsky who might be in the Canadiens’ opening-night lineup come October.
One of his most obvious abilities when watching him is his speed on the ice. He’s rated as one of the very best skaters in the entire 2022 draft class, with great lateral mobility to boot, so he can blow past defenders. Couple that with very strong puck-handling skills and great work ethic, and you get a promising transition player.“
And Nick bobrov one of the co-directors of amateur scouting for the Montreal Canadiens also had his take on Mesar he says Mesar’s:
“Filip Mesar is a center and a winger. He grew up as a center, but played wing as a pro. He’s very fast, very skilled, very slippery, very smart. He had great performances at the pro league in Slovakia. He was on the big national team during the middle of the year in the Deutschland Cup and was slotted to be at the World Championships, but hurt his shoulder in the playoffs. We saw him a lot. He’s one of those guys that can skate, make plays, and has a really good brain. He’s relentless.”
So that’s um that’s that’s mature and mature himself in the his own media appearance described himself as:
“”a very creative player. I have good skill, good skating, and I’m a fast player, but I need to improve my physicality a little bit and improve my play in the defensive zone. Power plays and creative plays, those are the best parts of my game.”
He is friends with Juraj Slafkosky. He said they’ve they’ve known each other since they were kids they’ve gone on vacation together and he he mentioned that it’s going to be easy easier for him to adapt because of Slafkovsky there so they that’s just been a very interesting development that the two of them are sharing the same team and it just worked out that way.
He did also have this to say about Slafkovsky. He said.
“I think Juraj is the best prepared player for the NHL right now. He’s tall, strong and has a really good shot and good hockey sense. I think he needs to improve his first-step, but he’s the best player in this Draft and deserved the first pick.”
So I mean obviously he’s there he’s a friend saying that but that’s his analysis now what was interesting is that are indicated that he was open to playing anywhere when asked what he would his future was but he said he didn’t want to return to his previous team HK Pop rad and when Kent Hughes was asked about what his future was he was said he didn’t know or I mean he might know but he wasn’t revealing it but he didn’t he didn’t have anything to reveal to the press so that’s going to be an open question to be interesting to see what happens with Mesar.
And next up came to 33…33rd overall pick, Owen Beck and Matt Drake of Habs Eyes on the Prize described
“He is an above-average skater with great top-end speed, giving him a high-level transition game. Defenders have to give him a gap to avoid him blowing past them, and when they don’t, he sends them scrambling to catch up. “
And Marco D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now also had an analysis calling Beck:
“Beck was the best player in the faceoff circle in the OHL, despite being a rookie. It allowed him to secure the puck and simplify his club’s transition from defence to offence, but winning faceoffs weren’t enough, Beck needed to be more involved in the breakout to find success at the next levels.
So he added that and he added a & D’Amico in that his piece interviewed Beck’s coach and the coach pointed to the attention to detail and willingness to learn of this young centerman of the reasons behind his growth at a very pivotal position and how he’s able to adapt his game so Beck is a Beck being a center could be a critical addition to the Canadiens of obviously needs centers and they’ve got Dach now but I mean after what happened last year it’s it’s it’s a it’s a key question of what the Canadiens can do to bring in more Center depth so it’s be interesting to see how he develops
LaPointe also had an analysis:
“Owen Beck is a 200-foot player. He plays the right way. He’s a student of the game. He’s a good student at school. He does the things on the ice. He gets “A’s” in school and he does “A” things on the ice, and it reflects in his play. Everything is detail-oriented. He’s been the best faceoff guy in the OHL, competes, can skate, can make plays, supports his defensemen really well, and he’s below the puck all the time. He just plays the right way. He’s a good kid. He’s very mature.”
So that’s that’s that’s a solid thing to have you want to hear about the defensive side and and I’ve ever since ever since Danault left it’s been nice to hear about defense anything anything defensive related and Beck himself was asked about what Montreal saw in him in the media opportunity he says that he thought:
“Saw a lot of good things on both side of the ice. I can provide offense for a team. I have good characteristics like my skating and my shot that will translate well to the NHL. And just being able to shut down an opposing team’s top line is a very valuable asset to have in a player.”
So he certainly believes that he defensively can be a critical access asset that’s not a word you want to stumble over so very very be very interested to see where on Beck develops cuz that could be very very interesting.
Speaking of interesting Lane Hutson I mean one of the most fascinating players in the draft because everyone was saying well where’s he going to go because he’s got the talent but does he have the size and that was that was a question where to go. He went 62nd and he went to Montreal so what did they have to say about him well A Winning Habit’s Ken McMillan over there mention that:
“He scored ten goals and 63 points in 60 games for the USNTDP which put him just behind a few forwards who were first round picks.
His skating is excellent, his vision is incredible, his offensive instincts are completely off the charts. The only reason Hutson was available in the second round is because of his size. He is a 5’8″ defenceman who may have a difficult time defending against professional athletes in the future
And so it’s also McMillan described him as incredible at each of the past two World under 18 tournaments and Anton Rasegård of Habs Eyes on the Prize he pointed out that it’s based on the assist “it is a playmaking defenceman we’re talking about here. This leads us into a discussion surrounding both his perks and flaws as a current prospect. His vision is terrific, and his small but compact body helps him move around the ice with ease, dishing out passes to the left, right, and center like it was second nature to him. He plays a smart game”
And Bobrov had his analysis as well saying: “we believe he was their best defenseman.” (Speaking of the national team development program) “He still has a lot of room to grow into his body. He wouldn’t be considered a fully developed player as we sometimes see at the Draft when there’s nothing left to gain weight, to grow, but this kid has a big brain. His hockey sense is very interesting. He has a chip on his shoulder that is very real. The size doesn’t deter him, and when you meet him, I think you get a sense and a flavor for what’s inside.”
So so that that was sort of what the analysis says and when they talk to let me talk to Hutson in the media opportunity for him he could you know he was very sort of confident and he said you know to the the press asking about the most of the questions were about either directly or indirectly his size and he responded:
“I know I can get bigger strong faster, and even taller. That’s something it will come as I get old. Yeah ether way I will be able to play the way I’ve been playing. Obviously it’s about how you play the game not how you’re big or strong. But, I feel like when you get on the ice everyone is the same size.”
It is an interesting perspective there he also says:
“I feel like the way I use my skating and my stick to my advantage. And I the way I use my leverage on the bigger guys. It’s something that I really pride myself in is my defending and then I obviously I feel that I have that offensive ability to help my team create chances.”
And though he did admit that and and given the how points are distributed this makes sense he says
“I feel like I can develop a shot mentality it’ll keep teams on their heels and it’ll make me that much more of a threat offensively. And then defensively, just close at the right times. Sometimes I get excited and I want to close a play right away, but it’s about having poise and closing it when you can and when it’s smart to close.”
He’ll be going to BU this season there was a there was apparently some confusion over when he was going to Boston University but it’ll be the season so people in the Boston area will get a good look at him so that’s going to be a fascinating what it’s going to it’s a fascinating player see just what he can do so
Then moving on to pick number 75 Vinzenz Rohrer and and a Rasegård I apologize I do not have the correct pronunciation if I’m doing if I’m saying that wrong I apologize for Habs Eyes on the Prize Rasegård analysis and it’s it was one: “Considering his lack of body mass, I expect most to assume that he is a flashy player who can’t provide a physical edge. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rohrer’s playing style is characterized by his relentless forechecking and active stick, which he uses to dispossess opposing attackers.”
And then Lapointe added in his analysis: He plays a 200-foot game and pays close attention to the details of the game. He needs to get stronger, but he’s an athlete. He’s also a youngster that you want to be around. He makes me think of Juraj,” that’s that’s that’s some some interesting thoughts there.
And then 92nd pick was Adam Engstrom and Justin Blades again returning 4 Habs Eyes on the Prize said:
“First and foremost, Engström has the skating stride that some of the top all-around players in the draft class were missing, so that is a perfect starting place for him. Good hands let him handle the puck easily, so he can carry the puck well while he’s moving. To go with those traits, he also has a 6’2” frame to provide plenty of reach when he’s in possession.”
And bobrov in his own in his own analysis says:
He skates really, really well. He told us a funny story that he always played on a really bad team, so he would just take the puck and skate through the whole team just trying to score that one goal. Imagine trying to develop that way, so skating, size, puck possession, and going into a really good organization in a country that tends to produce a fair number of defensemen, and we like the development curve, we like the situation he’s in, we like where he’s thought of in Rögle.”
So so that’s that is Adam Engstrom now Cedric Guindon and once again Rasegård or a Rasegård: I’m not sure:
“Guindon is not the type of player you watch and immediately deem a future star. But the underlying numbers tell a story of a player who is able to put together strong efforts in all three zones, thereby being a central anchor for his team. His most attractive skill right now, according to Elite Prospects’ draft guide, is his play off-the-puck, which tells you something about who he is as a player in July of 2022. He pressures opposing puck-carriers well and forechecks better than many players who have a physical advantage on him. “
And then Lapointe added:
‘He’s a very talented kid who’s an explosive skater. He can make plays. He isn’t the biggest guy, but he can read plays really well.”
Then on to just a few picks later at the 130th overall pick was Jared Davidson Justin Blaze had an analysis and he’s he adds:
“You can’t call 42 goals — and 13 more in the post-season — a fluke, especially with the shot Davidson possesses. Wherever it came from, his release the past two years was incredibly powerful, a lightning-quick whip action that had the puck in the net a microsecond after leaving his stick. Goalies in the WHL had little chance of stopping the shots — and most of them didn’t. He had shown glimpses of shooting ability in his first few years, but never anything like this.”
And bobrov in his own analysis says:
“He’s an ’02 birthday, but Seattle is a team that went really, really far in the WHL Playoffs. He was their motor. He’s a forward that just doesn’t stop. He scores from different positions, he’s got a very interesting shot, he’s physical, he’s relentless, he’s the type of player that you imagine playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs because that’s the brand that he brings. He’s a never-stopping engine with leadership. He’s an older kid, but a kid who got better and better the last few years when you couldn’t show much because of the lack of games. But, he stepped into a great team this year and took them pretty far.”
Jumping 32 picks on onward Emmett Croteau and Jared book Jared book had the analysis for Eyes on the Prize and Bobrov had the analysis for the Canadians worthy or the breakdown in the media availability that’s what they did the point Bobrov did in media availabilty that’s what I should have said that the beginning and Bobrov says:
“He’s a big goalie who moves extremely well. He’s going to Clarkson, so as far as a development curve in college, that gives him enough time for development. Our goalie experts were pretty high on this kid. We wanted to find the best goalie we could find a little bit later, and he was No. 1 on that list. We’re very happy to have him.”
So not a lot of detail in that but but it should be but they obviously they’re they’re high on him if they drafted him and Clarkson of course is in the ECAC and it’s a fine fine program so you know it’ll be interesting to see how he develops for them
Next up in the draft the Petteri Nurmi Justin Blaze with the analysis for Habs eyes on the prize. “He noted he’s an older player but he already plays with men he’s a very mobile defenseman who’s very good at retrieving Pucks in the corner and moving pucks quickly in transition and then the expectation is so plain Finland he needs to keep getting stronger but if potential is high he can start the rush fast and he sees passing Lanes well” oh this is this is Lapointe’s analyis so Justin Blaze did an analysis but I speak I’m reading the Lapointe’s. “He can start the start the rush fast and he sees passing lanes”
While to finally last but not least Miguël Tourigny he’s a Lapointe spoke about him “He’s a smaller defenseman, but he’s very dynamic offensively. I had the chance to see him play two years ago in Blainville when he was playing under head coach Bruce Richardson. Bruce told me before I went to the game to watch Miguël Tourigny. He wants to be offensive. He has character and flair in his game, and it shows.”
So there you have it there are the picks there is the analysis of the pick now speaking of those I wanted to speak about the draft now when I was leading up to the draft all the information I was getting was coming from a variety of sources but the end they were very right heavy and even though there was other sources out there like Bob McKenzie’s picklist had Slafkovsky first and I knew that that there were other other outlets that had put out of Slafkvosky first it was the majority of the information coming my way was that would not be the case but I should have sought out more diverse information because there was there was certainly more diverse information to find and at the time I was not subscribed to Recrutes and had I been I would have been getting other information coming in that I could have at least presented as part of the summaries I’m doing because I’m I take these I take these you know I take information from various sources and I create synopses and add my own opinion and if I had been bringing in more diverse sources I could have shared them and that would have been a more better presentation of information and help Recrutes was behind a pay wall so I didn’t I didn’t spend the money I should have spent because as a prominent source of information and a major source of information that would have been one I should have been consulting and that’s on me to have not done that and and that’s a mistake that I regret so just as a know they do have a lot of great information on that site and they still have the draft guide I mean you can if you pay for the pay wall you can see the draft guy and all the information that’s their following the draft lesson learned I become a subscriber of the site because I’ve learned my lesson well that I know there’s a lot of great information there so that’s just wanted to say that.
And moving on to some other news so development Camp opens today and the development camp roster was put out and there’s a lot of players on there Habs Eyes on the Prize has the roster of that. I’ll put in the show notes and and another piece of article another piece of article so Scott Matla who does great work wrote a Habs Eyes on the Prize Kent Hughes and his Draft Day gambles and he for one thing minute mentioned he mentioned that one thing “Filip Mesar and Lane Hutson are insanely skilled players” in his opinion and then he also wrote this interesting breakdown he said:
“To put a bow on things, the Canadiens had a tremendous opportunity in front of them with this NHL Draft. Over a dozen picks at their disposal and with needs all over the organization, they stepped out of the shadows of the previous regime. While there were some high ceiling picks made in previous years (see Joshua Roy) it’s rare that we’ve seen Montreal come out and go for so many in a row. Hughes understands the gravity of the situation he’s in and that the Habs have to take chances to get better. “
So that’s really I think that really talks about what we saw in the draft this year and just an overall good piece of I urge you to read the whole piece also in really minor news compared to everything else the Laval Rocket of signed Brandon Gignac to a two-year deal this is with the Rocket it’s it’s not going to be an NHL contract he’s going to be only in the Rocket for two years so it doesn’t affect the 50. Ken McMillan wrote a piece separate from all the draft coverage saying that the Canadiens still have to answer three enormous questions. One of them is Jeff Petry the other is that there’s a ton of forwards and what you going to do with them all and the third is Carey Price. And there was a article that came out and information that came out suggesting Carey Price will be good to go but everyone still wondering is that the case so I urge you to look at the full details of that article
And and speaking of that McMillan also had another piece which went even into more detail about the forward situation because there’s just there’s just so many forwards that the that he he sort of looked at how if even if Slafkovsky was in Laval next season that Paul Byron and Ryan Poehling would have to be healthy scratches and that’s that and then you have that you have 15 forwards as it stands now so there’s not there’s there’s too many forwards so that’s that’s a it’s a very good article very good very good to the point.
And last regarding just the comings and goings Kent Hughes was asked in his post-draft press conference given that they had traded away Romanov and so now they will have it sent away another top-four defenseman where they going to try to get another experienced defenseman and or they were were they going to try to rely on just young Defenders to come up Hughes had this to say is that:
“I think we’ll try, to find a defensceman that we can that fits what we’re trying to do fits financially speaking as well, because we are limited in that regard, We don’t want to put defenseman in position that they’re not ready for. If these guys come in and they’re ready to take charge we have not problem allowing them to do so but we don’t want to put them in a situation where we’re delaying or compromising the ultimate product.”
So clearly a lot is going to so there’s a sort of a question they’re over how the how fast the young core defenders and they have a lot of them are going to develop and so there does seem to be interested in bringing another player but if they don’t they’re still going to try to work with what they have okay I’ve talked a lot it was a lot and I’m going to wrap it up there thank you for listening have a good night