With the draft getting underway today days away, I will continue my look at some potential targets for the Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft selection at No. 26 overall.
You can find part one here.
A few notes. This includes players who will realistically be around at No. 26. This does not talk about players who can drop unexpectedly or who the Canadiens can target if they trade up.
I made a composite ranking for each prospect. This takes the ranking from six sources: HockeyProspect.com, International Scouting Service, McKeen’s Hockey, Corey Pronman (ESPN/Hockey Prospectus), Bob McKenzie and Craig Button of TSN. I averaged these out and ranked the prospects from that average. The average does not necessarily reflect who I am targeting.
I have three tiers of prospects which will total 12 players.
We will continue with my second and third tiers. They are my secondary choices. They will be presented by tier in alphabetical order. The second tier will have more details while the third tier (essentially honourable mentions) will be more rapid fire. There are some players I prefer than the honourable mentions but these are the ones most circulated with the Canadiens.
NIKOLAI GOLDOBIN – RW – SARNIA (OHL) – 5’11, 178
2013-14 Stats: 67 GP, 38 G, 56 A, 27 PIM
Composite Ranking: 29th (32.83 average)
HIGH: ISS/Pronman (28) | LOW: McKeen’s (41)
Goldobin plays in the OHL, but was born in Russia which means that every time he doesn’t show effort, it’s written down and underlined. It also means that he’s a possibility to flee to the KHL at the first opportunity.
Like it or not, teams perceive this as a threat and it’s why Goldobin (and Scherbak that we’ll see later) are sliding down about 10 spots from where their talent would normally put them.
Goldobin is one of the most talented offensive players in the draft. He draws attention with his shot but keeps people in awe with his passing ability.
“The crafty Russian forward oozes vision and creativity.” (ISS)
One bad sentence: “He needs to engage more but his offensive ceiling is very high.” (McKeen’s)
BRENDAN LEMIEUX – LW – BARRIE (OHL) – 6’0, 206
2013-14 Stats: 65 GP, 27 G, 26 A, 145 PIM
Composite Ranking: 34th (38.17 average)
HIGH: HockeyProspect (26) | LOW: Pronman (53)
Lemieux is the son of Claude Lemieux, who, ironically, was drafted in the same spot – 26th – that the Canadiens find themselves this year.
The people who like him think he’s able to score at the next level. The people who don’t think he doesn’t have that part of his game.
He’s a bigger player, but plays like his father which means he can be somewhat of a pest. He also needs to improve his discipline to ensure he doesn’t spend too much time in the penalty box.
One good sentence: “He’s the type of player that every team needs, and opponents hate to play against.” (HockeyProspect)
One bad sentence: “Lemieux’s game offers promising components and with added maturity, both on and off the ice, and a more diligent approach to commitment in all three zones he will maximize his potential.” (McKeen’s)
DAVID PASTRNAK – RW – SODERTALJE (ALLSVENSKAN) – 6’0, 167
2013-14 Stats: 36 GP, 8 G, 16 A, 24 PIM
Composite Ranking: 24th (23.00 average)
HIGH: Pronman (16) | LOW: ISS (33)
Pastrnak is seen as a smart two-way player who can score enough to be dangerous offensively but is also good enough in his end to be relied upon.
He had the highest point total of any draft-eligible player in Sweden’s second division since Filip Forsberg.
He didn’t play in the Under-18 championships due to an injury so it has been hard to evaluate him against his peers.
One good sentence: “Pastrnak has impressed us in the past by being the most creative player and main offensive catalyst for his team on multiple occasions.” (HockeyProspect)
One bad sentence: “Questions will arise after U-18 due to his inability to consistently produce against elite opposition.” (ISS)
NIKITA SCHERBAK – RW – SASKATOON (WHL) – 6’1, 175
2013-14 Stats: 54 GP, 26 G, 43 A, 28 PIM
Composite Ranking: 23rd (22.83 average)
HIGH: HockeyProspect (14) | LOW: Craig Button (35)
Scherbak is being evaluated like Goldobin above due to being born in Russia. However, Scherbak is more talented.
Scherbak is older than most prospects in the draft, but has high end offensive ability. He had a great rookie season in the WHL, however scouts are scared he’s a one-hit wonder which is also why he’s tumbling down boards.
Some scouts question his efforts, others say he has great character. Makes you wonder is some are just looking at their birthplace.
One good sentence: “The ability to operate in traffic using smarts, size and skill make Nikita very valuable and should result in him being a first round pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.” (HockeyProspect)
One bad sentence: “Will be nights when he will drive coach nuts with his lack of effort.” (ISS)
ANTHONY DeANGELO – D – SARNIA (OHL) – 5’10, 175
2013-14 Stats: 51 GP, 15 G, 56 A, 90 PIM
Composite Ranking: 28th (31.83 average)
HIGH: Craig Button (15) | LOW: McKeen’s (42)
DeAngelo is the only defenceman on my list. Has great shot and offensive ability but questions about defensive play drop him down. Also has questionable attitude concerns. He was suspended eight games for comments he made during a game… to a teammate. Character concerns make him a long shot to end up in Montreal.
RYAN MacINNIS – C – KITCHENER (OHL) – 6’3, 183
2013-14 Stats: 66 GP, 16 G, 21 A, 18 PIM
Composite Ranking: 35th (38.33 average)
HIGH: ISS (25) | LOW: Pronman (63)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. American forward who is an offensive project struggles in his first OHL season. Sounds like Mike McCarron, doesn’t it? MacInnis is a big body who can play center but there are questions about his offensive upside. MacInnis is the son of former NHLer Al.
NICK SCHMALTZ – C – GREEN BAY (USHL) – 5’11, 172
2013-14 Stats: 55 GP, 18 G, 45 A, 16 PIM
Composite Ranking: 26th (27.00 average)
HIGH: ISS/Craig Button (24) | LOW: McKeen’s/Pronman (30)
Schmaltz is all about upside. He is probably one of the highest risk/reward players in the draft. Great offensive awareness but needs to get bigger.
Bonus Trade Down/2nd Round Option: ANTON KARLSSON
45th composite (47.67 average)
HIGH: ISS (31) | LOW: McKeen’s (86)
Reliable pick. very good defensively but offensive skill is questionable at this point. Low risk pick if the Canadiens trade down or acquire a second round pick.