Tuesday, May 29, 2012

9 Hab Draft Hits & 4 Hab Misses

With Habs GM Marc Beregevin in Toronto today to take in part of the NHL's Central Scouting Combine, where today NHL clubs get a chance to hold one-on-one interviews with some of next month's top prospects, it seems like a good day to talk about drafting.  Our series of articles, "Restocking the Cupboard," about who the team should take this year will resume tomorrow, but today, to paraphrase Pitbull, to understand the future, we gotta go back in time.

It's been well-documented that Montreal has a great overall drafting record - one of the best in the league - over the last 10 or so years.  While first rounds have been hit or miss, Trevor Timmins and co have an uncanny ability to pluck gems out of drafts' later rounds.  So today will look at the last 5 years and go over some hits or misses by the team which will show both how much of an impact every selection can have on an organization moving forward, and why we should have faith in the men in charge in Montreal.

But when I say the last 5 years... It's still far too early to judge the class of 2011.  It's even too early to judge the class of 2010, though Morgan Ellis and Brendan Gallagher are looking like more mid-round steals for the Canadiens.  And while for some teams it might be an ok time to look at 2009, there are still too many questions around the players Montreal took to properly assess it.  So our five year span will instead cover the drafts between 2004 and 2008.


9) Matt D'Agostini - Round 6, 190th Overall, 2005

D'Agostini got off to an explosive goal-scoring start in Montreal as a rookie, but failed to earn ice time during a sophomore slump.  Ultimately, this led to his being shipped off to St. Louis for Aaron Palushaj, and while D'Ags is far from a household name with an uncertain future, he already has a 20-goal and 40-point season under his belt.  Not bad for the 6th round.

Similar OHL players other teams took ahead of him:
Chris Lawrence, Tampa Bay Lightning, Round 3, 89th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Dan Collins, Florida Panthers, Round 3, 90th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Bobby Bolt, Anaheim Ducks, Round 5, 127th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Josh Beaulieu, Philadelphia Flyers, Round 5, 152nd Overall - 0 NHL GP

8) Alexei Emelin - Round 3, 84th Overall, 2004 

The hard-hitting Emelin finally made his much-anticipated NHL debut this season and was worth the wait.  He looks to be a fixture on Montreal's back end for a long time to come.

Similar European players other teams took ahead of him:
Johan Fransson, Dallas Stars, Round 2, 34th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Kirill Lyamin, Ottawa Senators, Round 2, 58th Overall - 0 NHL GP

7) Ryan McDonagh - Round 1, 12th Overall, 2007

As hard as it has been for Habs fans to watch, McDonagh has been a revelation for the New York Rangers this year, which is a credit to Trevor Timmins nonetheless.  He may end up having the best career of any defenseman taken in 2007, a standout defensively while amassing 41 points over his first 122 NHL games.

Defensemen other teams took ahead of him:
Thomas Hickey, Los Angeles, Round 1, 4th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Karl Alzner, Washington Capitals, Round 1, 5th Overall - 39 PTS, 215 NHL GP
Keaton Ellerby, Florida Panthers, Round 1, 10th Overall - 17 PTS, 116 NHL GP

6) Carey Price - Round 1, 5th Overall, 2005

It may seem weird to include a fifth overall selection on this list, but I qualify this as a hit because of the overwhelming disappointment among Hab fans that followed.  Most were clamouring for either Benoit Pouliot, taken one pick before Price, or Gilbert Brule, who Columbus took 6th.  Looking back at those three, we can say that Timmins was on the ball with this pivotal selection.  With the exception of Anze Kopitar and perhaps a healthy Marc Staal, no one taken after Price in that year's first round comes near his value today.

5) Max Pacioretty - Round 1, 22nd Overall, 2007

Another astute first rounder, there were those upset when Angelo Esposito was taken prior to Montreal returning to the podium for pick 22.  Esposito, we now know, has yet to play an NHL game, while Pacioretty just finished a 33-goal campaign.

Forwards other teams took ahead of him:
Zach Hamill, Boston Bruins, Round 1, 8th Overall - 4 PTS, 20 NHL GP
Colton Gillies, Minnesota Wild, Round 1, 16th Overall - 16 PTS, 127 NHL GP
Logan MacMillan, Anaheim Ducks, Round 1, 19th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Angelo Esposito, Pittsburgh Penguins, Round 1, 20th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Riley Nash, Edmonton Oilers, Round 1, 21st Overall - 1 PTS, 5 NHL GP

4) Sergei Kostitsyn - Round 7, 200th Overall, 2005

Things may not have worked out for the younger Kostitsyn brother in Montreal, but there's no doubt that plucking a top 6 forward in round 7 of a draft is a big steal.  Funny that he now plays in Nashville, since the Predators had perhaps a bigger steal that same round with Patric Hornqvist.

Similar European players other teams took ahead of him:
Philipp Gogulla, Buffalo Sabres, Round 2, 48th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Christofer Lofberg, Detroit Red Wings, Round 3, 80th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Fredrik Pettersson, Edmonton Oilers, Round 5, 157th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Lukas Vantuch, Boston Bruins, Round 6, 172nd Overall - 0 NHL GP
Johan Dahlberg, Toronto Maple Leafs, Round 6, 173rd Overall - 0 NHL GP

3) Mikhail Grabovski - Round 5, 150th Overall, 2004

Grabovski may not have been able to flourish in Montreal, but he at least returned the team a 2nd round pick (later traded for Robert Lang) and a current prospect in Greg Pateryn.  Pretty good value for a fifth rounder.  Only four players selected outside the first round have scored more than Grabovski's 201 points, achieved in 319 NHL games.

Similar European players other teams took ahead of him:
Lauri Tukonen, Los Angeles Kings, Round 1, 11th Overall - 0 PTS, 5 NHL GP
Lukas Kaspar, San Jose Sharks, Round 1, 22nd Overall - 4 PTS, 16 NHL GP
Johannes Salmonsson, Pittsburgh Penguins, Round 2, 31st Overall - 0 NHL GP
Roman Voloshenko, Minnesota Wild, Round 2, 42nd Overall - 0 NHL GP
Mikhail Yunkov, Washintgon Capitals, Round 2, 62nd Overall - 0 NHL GP

2) Mark Streit - Round 9, 262nd Overall, 2004

Some were unhappy when the Canadiens used a draft pick on a 27-year old, but the team snagged the rights to what would be a premiere NHL blueliner in the 9th round.  Only three players from the entire 2004 draft have scored more points than Streit thus far, being third round steal Johan Franzen, and the draft's top two selections in Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.  Of course, being 27 when drafted, Streit started off at an advantage, but Montreal certainly made the most of a late-round selection here.

1) P.K. Subban - Round 2, 43rd Overall, 2007

Montreal's young dynamic blueliner is well on his way to a promising career as a 20+ minute tough offensive d-man.  The 2007 selection already has 160 regular season games under his belt, scoring 76 points, and adding 12 points in 21 playoff games.  Certainly there are quite a few teams regretting having passed on him.

Defensemen other teams took ahead of him:
Alex Plante, Edmonton Oilers, Round 1, 15th Overall - 2 PTS, 10 NHL GP
Nick Petrecki, San Jose Sharks, Round 1, 28th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Nick Ross, Phoenix Coyotes, Round 1, 30th Overall - 0 NHL GP
Taylor Ellington, Vancouver Canucks, Round 2, 33rd Overall - 0 NHL GP
Josh Godfrey, Washington Capitals, Round 2, 34th Overall - 0 NHL GP


4) Jason Missiaen - Round 4, 116th Overall, 2008 

The goaltending pipeline in Montreal is quite barren, but the team has tried to restock it with a couple of picks.  Unfortunately, they haven't panned out, with the giant-sized Missiaen not earning a contract with the club.  Some netminders taken after him have fared much better.

Goaltenders other teams took after him:
Dustin Tokarski, Tampa Bay Lightning, Round 5, 122nd Overall - 7 NHL GP
Kevin Poulin, New York Islanders, Round 5, 126th Overall - 16 NHL GP
Anders Lindback, Nashville Predators, Round 7, 207th Overall - 38 NHL GP

3) Mathieu Carle - Round 2, 53rd Overall, 2006

Carle showed promise early on, but never reached his potential partly due to injuries, playing only 3 NHL games before being sent to the Anaheim Ducks last summer.  Unable to get playing time there, he recently signed a deal to pursue his career in Europe.

Defensemen other teams took after him:
Mike Weber, Buffalo Sabres, Round 2, 57th Overall - 25 PTS, 132 NHL GP
Jamie McBain, Carolina Hurricanes, Round 2, 63rd Overall - 67 PTS, 166 NHL GP
Theo Peckham, Edmonton Oilers, Round 3, 75th Overall - 17 PTS, 156 NHL GP
Andrew MacDonald, New York Islanders, Round 6, 160th Overall - 53 PTS, 184 NHL GP

2) Ben Maxwell - Round 2, 49th Overall, 2006

Maxwell had a good junior career, but could never transition his game beyond solid AHL production.  He does have 47 NHL games to his name, but as an offensive player, has scored only 8 points.  The thing that hurts most is the player, coming out of the same league, taken one spot after him.

Forwards other teams took after him:
Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins, Round 2, 50th Overall - 212 PTS, 359 NHL GP
Artem Anisimov, New York Rangers, Round 2, 54th Overall - 108 PTS, 244 NHL GP
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins, Round 3, 71st Overall - 97 PTS, 173 NHL GP
Cal Clutterbuck, Minnesota Wild, Round 3, 72nd Overall - 100 PTS, 304 NHL GP

1) David Fischer - Round 1, 20th Overall, 2006

I'm sure you saw this one coming.  A first round flop who was left unsigned, the team opting for a compensatory pick instead.  Fischer currently plays in the ECHL, where his Florida Everblades just won the league championship, though Fischer had to absent himself late in the team's run to be with is ailing mother.  The young man's career is far from over at age 24, having scored 50 points in 65 ECHL games this year and another 12 in 13 playoff games.  He will most likely be looking for a full-time AHL contract next season as he continues to try to get on track.  This was a pretty weak draft overall in fairness, but there was much better talent still on the board in that first round.

Players other teams took after him:
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers, Round 1, 22nd Overall - 243 PTS, 285 NHL GP
Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues, Round 1, 25th Overall - 163 PTS, 310 NHL GP
Jamie McGinn, San Jose Sharks, Round 2, 36th Overall - 62 PTS, 221 NHL GP
Nikolai Kulemin, Toronto Maple Leafs, Round 2, 44th Overall - 152 PTS, 303 NHL GP

So what can we take out of all this?  On draft day, you win some and you lose some.  It is not an exact science, but we should on the whole be happy with the track record of Montreal's staff.  Things also look good for the future, with Bergevin stating his intention to beef up the scouting staff.  Let's hope 2012 looks a lot more like the 2007 or 2005 drafts for the Canadiens than it does the 2006.


Kyle Roussel said...

Nice piece. More fuel for the fire that Timmins is, and has been the bright light in the Habs hockey ops dept.

I'm also starting to think that he may not be entirely opposed to dealing that 1st round selection (as long as another 1st rounder is part of the return), as he has shown that he can pluck treasures nearly anywhere in the first round. And with the number of question marks in this year's draft, this may be the right time to do it.

Mike Waye said...

I figured Terry Ryan should have made this list as a miss.

Dan K. said...

I only covered the period 2004-2008. Terry Ryan, having been drafted in 1995, is also quite irrelevant at this point since he pre-dates Trevor Timmins joining the organization. But yes, obviously a huge miss at 8th overall.