BUFFALO — As the debate continues over who the Canadiens will pick with the announcement of the first draft, little is said about the event’s host club taking the microphone at other times, a potentially very rewarding exercise.
NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr said last weekend that the 2022 draft could hold some pleasant surprises for the teams that will speak at the end of the first round. “If you have the luxury of having more than one selection, it is very likely that you can get your hands on a player that you did not expect until now. I know this is often said, but it is true. […] This is a deep cuvée for the first round. She doesn’t have the kind of player you only see once every ten years, but she will produce several stars. »
So here it is as compensation for the departure of Tyler Toffoli in Calgary, the CH has the 26me right to speak on the first day of the auction. He will also be the first to speak the next day when he baptizes the second round with the 33me selection. Unless you decide to monetize these assets to improve your place in the queue?
With all of these scenarios in mind, here are a few players who might be targeted by Jeff Gorton, Kent Hughes and their team of scouts during their second (or even third) appearance on the Bell Center stage.
Center, American Development Program
lefty | 6 feet 1 inch | 200 pounds
Several centre-backs could be available at the end of the first round, a route that would be even more interesting for the Canadian if he had to opt for a full-back or a defender as a first option. Of all of them, McGroarty is the one who returns the most regularly around the 26th.me Position yourself in the different lists consulted on the web.
“He’s a power forward with a very powerful shot and his playmaking ability has improved a lot throughout the year. He is also a very smart player,” a scout told us.
McGroarty captained the United States to the U-18 World Championship, where he scored eight goals in six games. He also produced a total of 50 goals in 75 games with the national development program in 2021-2022. His skating is considered his main weakness, “but I think one day people will talk about me as a very good skater. I’m easy to lead and I’m not afraid to push myself to get better,” he said at the recent NHL prospect camp.
He will play for the University of Michigan Wolverines next season.
Center, HC Energie Karlovy Vary
lefty | 6 feet | 172 pounds
Kulich, who just turned 18, has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year. In their mid-season rankings, NHL Central Scouting saw him as 22nd.me best hope to evolve in the Old Continent. In the final version of this list, the young Czech jumped up to 13me range. Then came the U-18 World Cup and once again the forecast had to be adjusted.
For a Czech team that did not reach the podium, Kulich scored nine goals, including a hat-trick against Canada, and eleven points in six games. His performance earned him the title of tournament MVP.
“Before the tournament, I would have bet that he would have been available [au 26e rang]. Now I’m hoping he’ll break into the top 20,” one critic predicted.
At Worlds, Kulich scored seven of his nine power play goals. In addition to his powerful and accurate shot, we praise his relentlessness and his intelligence in decision making.
Center, Mississauga Steelheads
right-handed | 6 feet | 185 pounds
The readings found on Beck would probably be classified in the “great literature” department at the Martin St-Louis library.
What is one of the main qualities that the Canadiens coach has repeated that he wants to find in his players since he took over last February? The ability to make the best reading of the game in a given situation and execute the game that it demands. Beck, apparently, boss of the work.
Sure The hockey writers in March: “He takes in what he sees at a very high rate and can make split-second decisions. He is a fierce competitor who always has a split second on the opponent when it comes to the next decision he will make. »
Sure recruit scouting in April: “His ability to read the game while carrying the puck down the offensive end is very impressive. […] His decision making is one of his strengths. Combined with his vision, it allows her to constantly send the puck where he needs to go. This is an asset that will certainly carry him into the NHL. »
Sure Dobber’s Perspectives in April: “He has good hands and shows a willingness to attack a defender 1v1 if he doesn’t have better options available. As the season progressed, he learned not to rush decisions with the puck. […] And perhaps his greatest quality is that he is capable of playing all his virtues at great speed. »
If Nick Bobrov and Martin Lapointe consulted their coach before making their list, we can think of Beck’s name as a favorite.
Left winger, Djurgardens IF
lefty | 6 feet 1 inch | 201 pounds
Between 2017 and 2020, four years that formed the heart of Nick Bobrov’s reign as director of European recruiting at the New York Rangers, the Blue Shirts he drafted a total of ten Swedish players, including four in the first two rounds. If the new co-director of fan recruitment at CH decides to look at the Scandinavian realm again, he should be spoiled for choice and Öhgren could be the most tempting option when his turn comes.
Öhgren was the captain of the winning team at the most recent World Under-18 Championship. If he fought to do justice in the Swedish first division with Djurgardens, he shone with the reserves with a harvest of 58 points, including 33 goals, in just 30 games. In addition to his excellent throwing, it is said that he is not afraid to get his nose dirty to jump on a loose puck in the pay zones.
A great year is predicted for Swedish hockey in the draft. Right back Jonathan Lekkerimäki, center back Noah Östlund as well as defenders Mattias Hävelid and Calle Odelius are other representatives of the three crowns that could fall into the eye of Canadians in the right circumstances.
Right winger, Moose Jaw Warriors
right-handed | 5 feet 10 inches | 154 pounds
His modest size will encourage many to reject his candidacy, but we challenge anyone to come and explain this reasoning in St-Louis at the Canadian table on July 7-8.
Firkus has been prolific this year in the WHL. Among players who had yet to reach a majority at the start of the season, only Connor Bedard and Matthew Savoie have done better than their 80 points in 66 games.
“He’s not chasing the puck, he’s going where he thinks it’s going to be,” said John William of NHL Central Scouting. NHL.com this winter. His shooting (36 goals, including 7 decisive) and his intelligence are considered his greatest virtues.
Without a doubt, he has gained ground during the season, taking the Central from 33me at 12me rank on their list of North American figure skaters.
The Canadian seemed to hit the mark with several smaller players (Caufield, Mysak, Farrell, Kidney) under the old regime. Also, at the time of this writing, Artturi Lehkonen has just sent his team to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second year in a row. It will be interesting to see what Gorton and Hughes’ philosophy will be on this.
good local talent
Realistically, five Quebecers could be available in waters where the Canadian will have two buoys. And there will be something for everyone, so excuses will be harder to justify.
A nimble, quick and creative little offensive dynamo? David Goyette, a native of St-Jérôme who went to continue his development in Ontario, would no doubt return to Quebec without being asked.
A responsible, strong and consistent center? Nathan Gaucher of Quebec Remparts would be a good candidate.
A smart, mobile defender who can move the puck on second par and, who knows, buy time on the power play? Tristan Luneau of Gatineau Olympiques would only ask for that.
A giant, mobile but unpleasant later format whose potential has barely been tapped? Here you can choose between Maveric Lamoureux of the Drummondville Voltigeurs or Noah Warren of the Olympiques.
The Canadian hasn’t drafted a Quebecer in the first round since Louis Leblanc at the Bell Center in 2009. Will he do so again 13 years later?