Saturday, June 27, 2009

Draft Week

Later Round Names To Watch

A new phrase I've adopted from Down Goes Brown among others about the draft last night: Ctrl+V.

Most picks looked like they were taken straight from TSN's website. All that is, except Brian Burke who selected someone who's odds on to be the bust of the top 10 at the moment - someone has to be.

Last night was so boring to witness on TV, I can only thank my stars I didn't win the fight with the wife to actually attend. Strangely, I think today would be a better affair. For one thing, the Canadiens have six picks and are not hamstrung to take a native anymore. What's more, without the mass media spying on all the scouts, and Brian Burke unplugged might actually be conducive to trading.

We'll see. I'm not going to follow live, but will be happy to make do with the old fashioned report after the event. Before it all starts though, i thought I'd give a few thoughts on names and picks I'd like the Habs to consider (in case you get a chance to sneak a read Trevor, Bob).


Names that have dropped


Inevitably some names expected to be called in the first round have dropped into the second round. Now the Canadiens don't yet have a second round pick, but nothing stops them from trading if they think a player has dropped much further than they expected and they'd like to get in on the action. So, I thought I'd recap some of those names just in case.

The most important names haven't changed for me and they are Jeremy Morin, Landon Ferraro, Richard Panik and Toni Rajala. I previewed them all here for the 18th pick, so, obviously I think they'd be great pick-ups from this point.


3rd round and beyond

Now you'll remember that I'm a believer in the best asset available model of draft selection (a term I telepathically borrowed from Timmins or vice versa). As it comes to the late rounds of the draft, sticking to that policy is just as important as the first round.

As far as the Canadiens go, I think there are a few places they need to look for assets. All the names I chose were based on these characteristics:

1) A player or two from Quebec
Unique to the Canadiens. Due to their particular circumstances, it seems to me that it will be worth more to them to draft in these players to a) avoid a decade-long media sulk and b) to avoid having to overpay for these players later (see Dandenault). The Canadiens will probably always look to start 6-7 players from Quebec at a minimum, so it is certainly an asset to be able to have choice from within. We've already added Masse and Leblanc, so one more may suffice.

2) A goaltender
This draft pick will not himself be the asset. But it's as clear as mud that Halak is one of our most valuable trading pieces. At the moment we are not free to trade him because our depth is so shallow in goal. The Canadiens must and will pick a goalie so that organizationally they can make a trading chip. The goalie might as well be good, no?

3) Scoring forwards

This is back to the rarest commodity, pure and simple. Swing for the fence on every spare pick on a scoring forward, as far as I'm concerned. You'll never get a star like Datsyuk or Zetterberg in the late rounds if you keep picking USHL defenders in those spots. We're due a steal. We need a steal to jump to contender level.


On that note, here are the names:

Eric Gelinas, D, QMJHL -- my pick among the QMJHL defenders. At worst a giant Bouillon. At best another Desjardins. We started Brisebois in more than 50 games...

Charles Olivier Roussel, D, QMJHL -- doesn't sound like he'll drop far. The Hockey Writers say Shea Weber II. I doubt he'll be around, but if he is...

Benjamin Casavant, F, QMJHL -- Guillaume Latendresse with feeling behind the hits? 39 goals and 80 points in the Q was a very good show.

Mike Hoffman, F, QMJHL -- a little more Drummondville magic couldn't hurt, especially if we nab their coach (played with Masse some of the time). Late bloomer, but that doesn't matter to us anymore.

Ben Hanowski, F, Minn HS -- set all kinds of records for scoring in Minny, and apparently has character. If we miss Morin, I'd look here.

Alex Hutchings
, F, OHL -- 34 goals and 34 assists in the OHL. Tavares had 58 and he's some kind of generational talent. Might be worth checking this Barrie Colt out.

Alexander Avtsyn, F, Russia -- 56 goals in Russia's second league. The scouts say intriguing -- really guys? Those stats are rare and should garner a look. Sure he might prefer the sunny climes of the Caucasus, but what's the harm in trying for the big Slava Kozlov option?

Andrej Stastny, F, Slovakia -- Like Avtsyn it was crazy numbers in a lower league. But I still like that better than knowing, something like 10 goals in the OHL, for example. Not many late steals to come from overmined Canada and Sweden this year, that's why underappreciated Eastern Europe is the odds on producer.

Alexander Fallstrom, F, Minn HS -- Great season at Sidney's old haunt, and is committed to play at Harvard (w Louis?). If you want in on the Swedish, he's the hidden gem.

Mikko Koskinen, G, Finland -- mature, crazy stats (albeit one season), worth a chance if he's around on that second third rounder.

Olivier Roy, G, QMJHL -- shouldn't be available, but two birds with one stone is a good move if within reach.

Taylor Doherty
, D, WHL -- 6'6" and growing. Chara is the rarest of assets. to get a guy of that size who might play in a later round would be a coup. That's why I went out of my asset boxes here. Under 6'5" though, forget that.

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