Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft Targets: Part One


With the draft just two days away, I figure it would be time to look at a few potential targets for the Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft selection at No. 26 overall.

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:, 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 begin with my top tier. They are my first four choices. They will be presented in alphabetical order.

[Editor’s Note: Here is Part Two]

2013-14 Stats: 48 GP, 25 G, 43 A, 27 PIM
Composite Ranking: 18th (18.17 average)
HIGH: HockeyProspect (13) | LOW: Bob McKenzie/McKeen’s (23)

Barbashev is the best prospect I have on this list. He is ranked eight spots higher than the Canadiens pick at 26, but several mock drafts have him falling to at least 26.

Barbashev’s offensive upside is perhaps limited, but is a hard worker that will undoubtedly play center at the next level. He is a hard worker and can play in both zones. He was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft.

"One good sentence: “He has a complete package of speed, skills and physical abilities.” (HockeyProspect)One bad sentence: “Needs to continue to work on stamina levels and improving his face-off skills.” (McKeen’s)"

2013-14 Stats: 71 GP, 29 G, 39 A, 48 PIM
Composite Ranking: 27th (27.67 average)
HIGH: HockeyProspect (22) | LOW: McKeen’s (32)

Bleackley was someone who jumped out at me as soon as I started researching the draft. He was a captain at 17 for Brent Sutter which is no easy task. He is a character player (which is important to this organization).

The biggest question mark is about his offensive upside. Will he end up like Kyle Chipchura or Mike Richards? Both were similar players who were taken later in the first round.

The Canadiens are deep at center, but you can never have too many.

"One good sentence: “He’ll score key goals, win key faceoffs and kill off penalties.” (HockeyProspect)One bad sentence: “Oozes character and leadership however he needs to work on skating speed to make an impact at the NHL level.” (McKeen’s)"

2013-14 Stats: 67 GP, 32 G, 53 A, 44 PIM
Composite Ranking: 31st (33.50 average)
HIGH: ISS (18) | LOW: HockeyProspect (61)

Ho-Sang is probably the exact opposite of Bleackley. Offensive skill is no question, but character and discipline is a huge one.

If you want a game breaker, you can’t really do better than Ho-Sang. The question is whether he will become an NHL player. He has come out strong on criticisms on him and is probably the ultimate boom or bust player in this draft.

Even ISS, who had him ranked highest, hedges their bets by also calling him the most overrated prospect in the draft.

"One good sentence: “While Ho-Sang is undeniably a terrific offensive talent, his game requires a certain level of growth.” (ISS)One bad sentence: “There is a lot to like within Joshua’s package of skills, whichmakes him so highly regarded, but mentality, and play without the puck remain our biggest concerns.” (HockeyProspect)"

ADRIAN KEMPE – LW – MODO (SHL) – 6’2, 187
2013-14 Stats: 45 GP, 5 G, 6 A, 12 PIM
Composite Ranking: 22nd (21.50 average)
HIGH: Craig Button (10) | LOW: Bob McKenzie (28)

Kempe might me my favourite prospect out of these four or just second to Barbashev. His offensive statistics weren’t great but he is playing in the men’s league and is the youngest top prospect in the entire draft.

There have been studies that show when prospects are close in skill, the youngest ones end up being the best players. I think he would be a great addition to the Canadiens stable of forward prospects. He reminds me of Artturi Lehkonen but better.

"One good sentence: “Excellent sense for the game and what is necessary and with his multitude of talents, he can deliver.” (Craig Button)One bad sentence: “Kempe has a good physical disposition but concerns about his true finishing touch will lower his status as a pro.” (McKeen’s)"