By Marc-André Breault – First of all, I’m really not an expert in the field. Nor am I a Marco D’Amico, a Pascal Lapointe, a Mathieu Paradis, a Simon Servant or any other of the TSLH team. So I don’t watch 14,532 games per season to dissect the talent of the prospects. So I rely a lot on them to get an idea.
My pick for the top spot was like many Shayne Wright, the one who came out fourth and walked on stage with a killer stare. The young effective center player on 200 feet gave me hope to finally have a good center line. Behind Suzuki to start his career and maybe in front one day, he might have given more freedom to Suzuki who would not have been so closely checked, with another good center capable of producing if that was the case.
A twist, the Montreal Canadiens organization selects Juraj Slafkovsky. For the Matthias Brunets of this world, that proves them right. But, a few picks later, Kent Hughes announces that a trade had been concluded. The Habs got their hands on the 13th overall pick by trading Alexander Romanov, much loved by the fans, and the 98th pick of 2022. With this 13th pick, the Canadiens added the 66th pick to obtain the tall and young 21 year-old center, Kirby Dach. A question came up in everyone’s head at this moment. Did Hughes complete this trade before drafting the very first choice of the 2022 auction? A little later, he did confirm that this was indeed the case and that the exchange had been concluded before choosing Slafkovsky. Already having his young center, he could then seek out the young scorer to enlarge his left wing.
Another weakness in Montreal, the right wing. After Cole Caufield, the organization does not have a lot of young talent on the right. Dadonov is an experienced player just like Gallagher and Armia, but who can have an impact on the future, they were very limited. So for me to draft the young Mesar on the right wing was a great idea. According to Elite Prospect, he is one of the best players in the draft for the transition game and he has very good hands.
He’s an absolute force between the blue lines and one of the draft’s best transition forwards. He could be an asset to the Canadiens offense in the mid-term future. He is also a very good friend of Slafkovsky. Maybe they can help each other become great players for the Canadiens.
At the start of the second round, Jeff Gorton’s group bet on a right-handed center Owen Bech considered an excellent “Two-Way” center. The youngster lost his rookie season due to the pandemic like many other youngsters. Many expect more from him on the offensive side. But, what I read on SB Nation Eyes On The Price, he does the little things that help a team win games.
As for the rest, I’ll let the experts tell you. As I said before, I don’t really know them except what I read here and there. Even if I spent two or three hours looking at everyone’s ratings, it’s not the second round or higher picks that really interest me. Apart from Beck.
A few points
Now on to the nasty stuff of too many followers. Booing the pick of an 18 year-old in the first round because we don’t agree with that pick is, in my opinion, very stupid. Nobody in this world is able to say what these young people will do in the NHL. What’s the point of booing someone who may be a big star of the team for several years? This is completely pointless and stupid in my opinion. Fortunately, real fans were present and applauded the young man. Thankfully, Slafkovsky took it in stride and isn’t too worried about it.
Another little thing that comes back year after year, the Quebec SUPER. Year after year, Quebecers are becoming a rare commodity in the NHL. I still understand the frustration of some, but at the same time, even if the organization gave itself the duty to draft Quebecers, it must still be close to the talent of the player at the rank they are made. We will say what we want, we do not know the teams’ lists at all. Let’s say that on the Canadiens’ list, when they drafted 26th, they had the following players:
- 22nd Mesar
- 26th Kulich
- 27th Lambert
- 28th Beck
- 29th Firkus
- 30th James
- 31st Minten
- 32nd Moon
- 33rd Leinonen
- 34th Warren…
For them, that means that the best player of this group is Mesar and by far, compared to the two Quebecers who find themselves 10 ranks further. I don’t know about you, but if you rank a player 10 ranks lower and in addition when the rank you draft you have a player you saw coming out faster still available, I don’t see how they could take Quebec first. So, I kind of understand the grumbling that some supporters have, but it’s ridiculous to blame this organization. I’m sure you can blame a lot of other teams in the league for not looking for local players. Probably more than half.
That said, there is still a lot to do for Kent Hughes. He still has a lot of work on his plate. I can’t wait to see the team on the ice in October.
Happy end of summer!
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