A Montreal Canadiens Mock Draft (Rounds 1-4)

Bruce Bennett

This is a projection of potential draft selections by the Montreal Canadiens in the first three rounds of the 2013 NHL Draft, gathered from a compilation of draft rankings.

With the 2013 NHL Draft fast approaching, I thought I would step aside from the traditional mock drafts of examining what the entire league will do, and instead project what I believe the Montreal Canadiens can draw as potential future members of the organization.

Using a compilation of the rankings from scouting groups Future Considerations, McKeen's Hockey and Hockey Prospect, I developed an average ranking set for potential prospects and estimated who may be available for each of Montreal's draft picks. Given the uncertainties and fringe nature of the 6th and 7th rounds of the NHL Draft, I have decided to forego an attempted projection of who Montreal will take with their final two picks and work off their six selections in the first three rounds of the draft. Working within that range, I interjected my personal opinion based on the relative strengths of each of the available prospects to who I believe is the best available.

Barring any moves by the Canadiens themselves to adjust their draft stock, the team currently holds the 25th,34th, 36th, 55th, 71st and 86th picks.

With the 25th overall pick, The Montreal Canadiens select…

From the Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL): LW Émile Poirier

Rankings:

Future Considerations: 39

McKeen's Hockey: 26

Hockey Prospect: 27

Average: 30.6

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 183lbs

Shoots: Left

2012-13 Statistics:

Regular Season: 65GP, 32G, 38A, 101 PIM


Playoffs: 10GP, 6G,4A,
14 PIM

Arguably Poirier is a bit early for 25th overall, but I believe playing on a weak Gatineau squad this past season has left him a bit underrated. The Montreal Canadiens like speed and skill, while fortunately boosting their prospect pool with a local talent.

Poirier’s game begins with his excellent skating ability. He possesses strong acceleration that lets him get to a solid top speed very quickly, which creates many of his offensive opportunities. His puck skills are also very notable; he can both deke his opponents in one-on-one battles or wire a precision pass while in traffic. He possesses both a good wrist and slap shot. He displays solid vision on the ice, able to read plays as well as make solid decisions with the puck. While he is not an overly physical player, he will use his body to make plays happen and even drop the gloves when challenged.

Concerns around Poirier rest on his consistency, as he can be streaky point producer and be caught cheating on effort here and there. There are concerns around some clunky mechanics in his skating technique, but given his speed, it’s likely proper training can fix the mechanical issues to even further enhance his skating.

With the 34th overall pick, The Montreal Canadiens select…

From the Guelph Storm (OHL) : C Jason Dickinson

Rankings:

Future Considerations: 46

McKeen's Hockey: 34

Hockey Prospect: 42

Average: 40.3

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 179lbs

Shoots: Left

2012-13 Statistics:

Regular Season: 66GP, 18G, 29A, 31 PIM


Playoffs: 5GP, 1G, 1A,
14 PIM

One of the more attractive skill players that will likely still be on the board for the 2nd round, the Montreal Canadiens will gladly add to their skill quotient with Dickinson.

Like most appealing offensive prospects these days, Dickinson has a solid foundation of speed to drive his game, with a very smooth skating stride that is backed by good acceleration. He possesses very quick hands, allowing him to break coverage in 1-on-1 play and create space for himself as necessary. He possesses a very good wrist shot and is adept at tipping in shots around the net as well, displays good indications he will become a finisher.

The concern around Dickinson is physical immaturity; he will need to build up his frame to become an effective player. His lack of strength at present also makes him a player that is not always willing to engage in the physical side of the game.

With the 36th overall pick, The Montreal Canadiens select…

From the Swift Current Broncos (WHL): D Dillon Heatherington

Rankings:

Future Considerations: 36

McKeen's Hockey: 44

Hockey Prospect: 41

Average: 40.6

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 196lbs

Shoots: Left

2012-13 Statistics:

Regular Season: 71GP, 4G, 23A, 80 PIM

Playoffs: 5GP, 0G, 3A, 0 PIM

Going by the rankings, Heatherington should still be sitting on the board when the Canadiens select and I believe he offers an attractive profile for the club.

Heatherington is well-regarded as a very intelligent blueliner, he is very well composed, can read developing plays and has a good positional game. He has a very effective physical game that he will use in a multitude of ways. He will use it to slow down forecheckers, protect the puck while being checked, win battles along the boards and defend the crease. He makes good passes out of his own zone and has shown growing offensive talents this past season.

Heatherington’s offensive ceiling is likely going to be complimentary at best at a pro level. He also has work to do regarding his skating, for while he skates well for a player of his size, he will need to add quickness to be more effective.

With the 55th overall pick, The Montreal Canadiens select…

From Severstal Cherepovets (KHL): F Pavel Buchnevich

Rankings:

Future Considerations: 51

McKeen's Hockey: 76

Hockey Prospect: 38

Average: 55

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 176lbs

Shoots: Left

2012-13 Statistics:

Regular Season:
KHL: 12GP, 1G, 1A , 0 PIM

MHL*: 24GP, 8G, 15A, 36 PIM

Playoffs:

KHL: 6GP, 0G, 0A , 0 PIM

MHL*: 13GP, 5G, 7A, 16 PIM

* The MHL is the Development League under the KHL.

A bit off the board for a team that has not dipped their toes much into Russia, but Buchnevich is also one of the more appealing players likely available at this stage of the draft.

Buchnevich is a very polished skater, has good speed and deceptive acceleration along with excellent agility that allow him to execute a variety of moves to beat his opposition. He displays good creativity and vision as a playmaker and is a very fluid stickhandler. He displays natural finishing abilities, with good accuracy, a powerful shot and a solid release. He displays an ability to play with a physical edge at times as well.

Consistency rests as a concern with Buchnevich, and he will need to develop the defensive side of his game. He will need to add some strength his to frame as well. The major concern is, of course, could Buchnevich be brought over from Russia otherwise he would likely be ranked higher.

With the 71st overall pick, The Montreal Canadiens select…

From the Saginaw Spirit (OHL) : LW Nick Moutrey

Rankings:

Future Considerations: 68

McKeen's Hockey: 109

Hockey Prospect: 46

Average: 75.3

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 208lbs

Shoots: Left

2012-13 Statistics:

Regular Season: 65GP, 16G, 27A, 44 PIM

Playoffs: 4GP, 0G, 0A, 12 PIM

While the talent is ebbing away at this point in the draft, there are still some promising options as Montreal takes a look at a potential power forward option in Nick Moutrey.

Moutrey has no issue using his size, he is a persistent forechecker, proficient at battling along the boards and will charge the net to create havoc. He protects the puck well with his frame allowing him to use his snap shot with a good release and is considered to have untapped offensive upside. He is developing as a two-way player as well, showing a solid work ethic in his own zone and coming into his own as a penalty killer.

Moutrey is a good skater overall, but has issues generating acceleration. He is not the most creative player and has had some struggles with consistency. The primary concern is his offensive skills may not develop enough to move beyond a checking role.

With the 86th overall pick, The Montreal Canadiens select…

From Swedish Modo - RW Gustav Possler

Rankings:

Future Considerations: 82

McKeen's Hockey: Unranked in Top 120, but termed a potential "Sleeper"

Hockey Prospect: 88

Average: 85 (between McKeen's and HP)

Height: 6’

Weight: 183lbs

Shoots: Left

2012-13 Statistics:

- Possler played the majority of the season for Modo's team in the Swedish Under-20 League.

Regular Season: 36GP, 19G, 21A, 28 PIM


Playoffs: 7GP, 4G, 4A, 4 PIM

With a growing interest in selecting out of Sweden in the last couple of drafts, the Canadiens pick out a potential scorer in Gustav Possler.

Possler displays a good skating stride, he accelerates very well with good straight-line speed and shows good agility. His true talent is in his scoring touch. He possesses a very strong wrist shot with solid accuracy, which he uses as often as he can and is willing to drive the net to get a scoring chance. He displays good stickhandling abilities and protects the puck well even when moving at full speed. He does not shy from contact and will engage physically to make things happen.

Possler will need to build on his frame to move ahead as he is still possesses a wiry build that will need to be improved. Arguably there are concerns about his offensive development, as his scoring this past season of 19G, 21A was essentially the same as his 23G, 17A in the 2011-12 season which suggests a bit of a stall has occurred in his offensive development at a critical age.

With the 116th overall pick, The Montreal Canadiens select…

From the Waterlook Black Hawks (USHL) Cal Petersen


Rankings:

Future Considerations: 135

McKeen's Hockey: 95

Hockey Prospect: 123

Average: 118

Height: 6’1"

Weight: 175lbs

Catches: Right


2012-13 Statistics:

Regular Season: 35GP, 21W-11L-1OTL-3SOL, 2.97GAA, .906 Save %


Playoffs: 4GP, 2W-2L, 4.26GAA, .881 Save %


Ranked just within the range of Montreal's 4th-round pick, the Canadiens find themselves in position to select a potential upcoming goaltender in Cal Petersen, who is set to attend the University of Notre Dame.

Petersen relies on his size and natural athleticism to stop pucks and displays good footwork as a goaltender, including strong lateral movement and works to make himself as big as possible in goal. He is very good at eliminating the bottom half of his net, using his legs to close out backdoor scoring opportunities. He shows some good ability as a puck-moving goaltender and is able to direct good passes towards his teammates.

Petersen does show a need to improve his rebound control as he can struggle after the initial save. He also has work to do in general structure of his game as he can overplay situations when losing track of the puck and can revert to the butterfly too quickly.


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