Montreal Canadiens Draft Talk: First Round Possibilities With Christian Roatis


draftlogo5802By James Stephan (@J_Habs)

June 30th couldn’t come sooner for the Montreal Canadiens scouting staff; between the thousands of hours traveling, hundreds of fast food receipts, and countless hotel stops it all comes down to one day, a day which Trevor Timmins and Marc Bergevin can’t wait to sink their teeth into.

In collaboration with Future Considerations prospect guru Christian Roatis we have put together a list of players the Montreal Canadiens could select; in a draft overflowing with talent, skill and character the Canadiens could very well hit a home run with their first round pick.

Here are ten picks by Christian and myself that could be potential choices for the Montreal Canadiens who currently hold the 25th overall pick.

Christian’s First Pick

1.   Curtis Lazar

Position: C

League: WHL

Team: Edmonton Oil Kings

Stats: 72 GP – 38 G – 23 A – 61 PTS – 47 PIM

Ht/Wt: 6 foot / 200 pounds

 Why: A big and strong center, Lazar would complement the Canadiens “middle 6” perfectly in a couple of years. Whether it be second or third line duty, Lazar would morph right into the line up without issues. Smart and quietly effective, Lazar understands the game and plays a meat and potatoes style – nothing fancy, won’t take you out your seat with any plays, but at the same time he won’t exasperate you by trying to do too much. Describe him in one word? Safe. He’s strong on the puck, makes good decisions and is also equipped with a rocket shot.

 Career Projection/Upside: Top 9 forward. A shoe-in third liner that could see top 6 minutes throughout his career.

Comparable to: Raffi Torres, Lee Stempniak

James’ First Pick

1.   Andre Burakovsky

Position: LW/RW

League: Allsvenskan

Team: Malmo

Stats: 43 GP – 4 G – 7 A – 11 PTS – 8 PIM

Ht/Wt: 6 foot 1 / 175 pounds

 Why: A bustling winger with high end skill, but who also carries a bit of risk to him screams “Trevor Timmins pick”. Burakowsky has the potential to be an elite dominant forward at the NHL level if he can pull it all together, he skates well has an excellent shot, nice hands a nose for the net. He also makes his line mates better with his ability to move the puck, the only knocks on his game are that he learn to pass a bit more often, as well as to develop consistency. If Burakovsky can improve his game and make these adjustments he could very well be a top forward in the NHL. If Montreal could land Burakovsky and develop him properly with their new staff, they may have a first round steal on their hands.

Career Projection/Upside: Top Line forward. Elite Potential Game breaking forward

Comparable to: Milan Michalek

Christian’s Second Pick

2.  Andre Burakovsky

Position: LW/RW

League: Allsvenskan

Team: Malmo

Stats: 43 GP – 4 G – 7 A – 11 PTS – 8 PIM

Ht/Wt: 6 foot 1 / 175 pounds

Why: Burakowsky is the “home-run” swing of the draft. He has undeniable skill and elite upside, although there’s considerable risk in his projection. Any team that has a good prospect base already set up could take a shot at this guy, therefore where he’s taken is anyone’s guess. He could go anywhere from 15-45, although it’s a safe bet he’ll land somewhere in the 20’s – right around Montreal’s pick. His tremendous agility and skating makes him a shadow on the ice – now you seem him, now you don’t. He’s not afraid to battle in the corners and has proficient skill all around that allows him to either dish the puck, or to bury it. Like most young offensive talents, he has a tendency to completely ignore the defensive zone. Whether it be abandoning his post to try and get a head start on a brewing offensive rush or just losing his man and being caught gliding around aimlessly. If he can straighten out that mess, he’d be a real intriguing guy in the NHL.

Career Projection/Upside: Top 6 scorer. If everything goes right, he could be a high end point getter.

Comparable to: Sven Baertschi, Poor man’s Pat Kane

James’ Second Pick

2.   Samuel Morin

Position: D

League: QMJHL

Team: Rimouski 

Stats: 46 GP – 4 G – 12 A – 16 PTS – 117 PIM

Ht/Wt:  6 foot 6/ 205 pounds

Why: Potential is what you are drafting when you look at Morin and he has a lot; he’s shown a mean aggressive side, while exhibiting excellent skating for his size, and strong defensive play. In the U18 tournament Morin dazzled the world with his untapped offensive talent and many scouts believe he was merely scratching the surface. Montreal could benefit greatly from having two defensemen over 6’6 in Tinordi and Morin.

Career Projection/Upside: Top four defenseman with two-way ability and a mean streak

Comparable to: Lesser Brent Seabrook

Christian’s Third Pick

3.   Robert Hagg

Position: D

League: SEL

Team: Modo

Stats: 43 GP – 4 G – 7 A – 11 PTS – 8 PIM

Ht/Wt: 6 foot 2 / 205 pounds

Why: Not too many weaknesses in his game and in my opinion, the only reason he may still be a 25 is because everyone else in this draft class is exceptional. If Montreal does take him, he’ll be part of their top 4 in no time. A silky smooth skater, Hagg seems to do everything right. Although he’s a big guy, he skates phenomenally well – not choppy or rough. He distributes the puck well, has a good shot and a great physical game. Ironically it’s his physical game that is a (small) cause for concern. He seems to shy away from physical confrontation at times despite being well equipped both physically and technically to carry it out. The lack of consistency in his physical game is the only real hole in his game.

Career Projection/Upside: Top 4 defensemen. If he plays on a weak team, he could be a top pairing guy but I think he’d make an excellent second pairing defender with power play and penalty killing value.

Comparable to: Dan Hamhuis, Mark Giordano

James’ Third Pick

3. Emile Poirier

Position: LW

League: QMJHL

Team: Gatineau

Stats: 65 GP – 32 G – 38 A – 70 PTS – 101 PIM

Ht/Wt: 6 foot 1 / 185 pounds

Why: Poirier has been steadily rising up the ranks and gaining a lot of praise on his way to being a potential first round pick. The Montreal native has excellent speed (although he has to work on his technique), soft hands and high hockey IQ which make him a force to be reckoned with; his unique combination of size and skill make him a potential steal of the draft, and after numerous conversations with hockey scouts there seems to be the belief that he could end up being a steal in the draft.

Career Projection/Upside: Top 6 forward with an outside chance to develop into a top line forward. An excellent second liner who may play on the top line in the prime of his career.

Comparable to: Max Pacioretty, More Physical Alex Tanguay

Christian’s Fourth Pick

4.   Nic Petan

Position: C

League: WHL

Team: Portland

Stats: 71 GP – 46 G – 74 A 120 PTS 43 PIM

Ht/Wt:  5 foot 9 / 165 pounds

Why: Stats shouldn’t be a leading factor for a team selecting a player. Sometimes average players play with great players or on great teams and it unjustly inflates their stats (see: Greg Nemisz and Taylor Hall). Petan played on a powerhouse Portland Winterhawks team with great offensive players, but played a starring role rather than just feeding off of other players. Petan was in on 37% of his team’s goals this year, a very impressive statistic for a first time draft eligible player. I used the Nemisz example earlier, and to compare, Nemisz was in on just 25% of his team’s offense. Besides the stellar numbers, Petan’s tools are evident in every facet of the game. Skating, shooting, passing, all excellent. He’s also not afraid to get involved physically, despite standing 5 foot 9. The downside to his game is obviously his size, or lack thereof. Although he manages well to overcome it in Junior, the NHL is a different animal with everyone being that much bigger and that much stronger.

Career Projection/Upside: Top 6 forward. I really don’t see him being a top line center, strictly because of his size. He seems destined for 2nd line duty with sheltered offensive minutes and power play time. I hope he proves me wrong.

Comparable to: Tyler Ennis, Martin St. Louis

James’ Fourth Pick

4. Valentin Zykov

Position: RW

League: QMJHL

Team: Baie-Comeau 

Stats: 67 GP – 40 G – 35 A – 75 PTS – 60 PIM

Ht/Wt:  6 foot 1 / 210 pounds

Why: Intensity, offensive skill and character are what Zykov oozes; reports flooded twitter during the Draft combine that the QMJHL forward had one of the best interviews with the Montreal Canadiens and rumors were that the Habs were impressed with Zykov’s upbeat character. Character aside Zykov is one of the most tenacious forwards with equal parts skill making him a lethal weapon for Baie-Comeau. The Drakkar fan favorite could easily finding his name called at pick 25, and could develop into a solid top six forward for the franchise.

Career Projection/Upside: Tenacious, Hardworking Top-six forward

Comparable to: Johan Franzen

Christian’s Fifith Pick

5. Samuel Morin

Position: D

League: QMJHL

Team: Rimouski 

Stats: 46 GP – 4 G – 12 A – 16 PTS – 117 PIM

Ht/Wt:  6 foot 6/ 205 pounds

Why: It’s no secret the Canadiens love their French boys and Morin would be a perfect way to satisfy both the fan base and management. A big, rangy defender who moves very well for his size and can keep up with the quickest of forwards. He has good hands, a decent shot and can of course punish opponents if needed – with both hits and fists. He’s really a love him or hate type guy. Where he goes is anyone’s guess because as mentioned, if someone loves him they’ll take him regardless of where they’re picking. He could go as high as 10, or possibly drop out of the first round. He’d be a nice add to a good pool of blue line prospects that Montreal has built up – and of course for the added bonus, he’s French!

Career Projection/Upside: Top 6 defensemen. Could potentially be a top 4 guy but I could see him settle into a third pairing, penalty killing type guy.

Comparable to: Jeff Shultz, Hal Gill

James’ Fifth Pick

5. Ryan Hartman

Position: LW

League: OHL

Team: Plymouth

Stats: 56 GP – 23 G – 37 A – 60 PTS – 120 PIM

Ht/Wt:  5 foot 11 / 190 pounds

Why: While his offensive upside isn’t as high as Zykov or Burakovsky, Hartman does play the game harder than anyone else. Like a man possessed he hits anything that moves and can be the super pest that drives a team bonkers, while chipping in some offense. Ryan can be an excellent complement winger to higher skilled forwards and may be just what the doctor ordered to play alongside Galchenyuk. Hartman shows a lot of promise and if his offensive ability comes to a halt at the NHL level he can be a solid third liner that any team would love to have simply for his gritty tenacious hard hitting style of play.

Career Projection/Upside: Aggressive Physical Top Nine forwad/Fringe second line forward

Comparable to: Cal Clutterbuck, Ryan Callahan

With draft day drama building at an exponential rate, it is difficult to not let the mind wonder and  imagine the possible scenarios that the Canadiens could find themselves in. It would definitely add some flair to draft day if the Habs were able to acquire a top five pick, but it would come at a costly price and deservingly so as the top five prospects are all said to be franchise players with elite skill.

As Sunday quickly approaches Montreal fans clench to their seats and eagerly await the Habs to make their first selection; Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins will likely have some sleepless nights ahead of them given the tremendous depth in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.


Remember the The Hockey Guys draft party will be hosted by yours truly in Downtown Montreal on Sunday June 30th  

21 Responses to Montreal Canadiens Draft Talk: First Round Possibilities With Christian Roatis

  1. Nice review guys 🙂

  2. This five players could be a potential outfit for Monteal Canadiens. But specially Andre Burakovsky should be a positive choice if they could. I found some of his video & it is really good.

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