ENTRY: "Building Through the Draft"

Habs fans know their team awfully well. They know how good of a defenseman PK Subban is, how Max Pacioretty is capable of a 40-goal season and most of all how Carey Price has the potential to back stop them to the Canadiens’ 25th Stanley cup. What most of them don’t realize is who is responsible for getting these players. Many will guess, "Well It’s the GM". Although that’s partially true its really the amateur scouts who are the ones in the trenches watching as many Junior games as they can whether its in North America or in Europe (where they scout young 18 year olds playing with men) and they’re hoping to find that diamond in the rough.

The man responsible for gathering all the scouting reports and deciding on which player to draft based on upside and potential to become an everyday NHLer is Trevor Timmins. He is the Director of Amateur Scouting and has been for the last 12 seasons. He is responsible for drafting NHL superstars like PK Subban (2nd round-2007) and Carey Price (1st round-2005), but there have been some that haven’t panned out like Derek Fisher (1st round-2006) and Louis Leblanc (1st round-2009). For the most part Trevor Timmins and his staff have been one of the top drafting teams in the NHL.

What makes Trevor so unique is that he doesn’t pay attention to the need the Canadiens might have at that moment, but most importantly he doesn’t pay attention to size and nationality of a player. That’s the way scouting and drafting should be. Picking up Brendan Gallagher in the 5th round was an absolute steal. Mark Streit in the 9th ROUND I’ll take it. Character is what Trevor looks for in his players. Yes Brendan Gallagher is 5’9 180 but he has great character and gives it his all every single shift. Not all his players had character though as players like Andrei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski had the talent but their inconsistency and lack of character didn’t bring out all of their potential. One of the most frustrating things that can happen is watching a hockey game and seeing the player has talent but is just missing the consistency needed to be able to stay in the NHL. One night you would see a 2 goal 2 assists performance and the next you couldn’t even tell if the player even suited up for the game because his performance was so bad.

My greatest memory of Trevor Timmins’ drafts was the 2007 draft. The Canadiens had two 1st round picks and one 2nd round pick. Boy oh Boy did they use those picks wisely taking Ryan Mcdonagh and Max Pacioretty with the first two picks. Then took PK Subban in the 2nd round. They got 3 star players in that draft year, but unfortunately some boneheaded managers decided to trade Mcdonaugh for Gomez, which would eventually go down as one of the worst trades in NHL history. You see Trevor Timmins’ job is to get the players; the GM’s job is to make improvements to his team. (Via trades/free agency). If the GM wants to make a trade involving a prospect he should always consult his director of amateur scouting because chances are he’s the one who knows most about the player and he is the one who has the best projection of what he can become in the NHL. The good news is, that GM is long gone and we wont have to see a player getting traded during a game ever again (Mike Cammalleri).

For the GM of the present Marc Bergevin, his vision is to build through the draft and by player development. This means that he is not willing to compromise the future for a short-term fix. Drafting well is essential to having a good team consistently for years and years. Just look at the Chicago Blackhawks drafting players like Dustin Byfuglien and James Wisniewski in the later rounds. But once you draft a player that you think has potential to make the NHL, what’s the next step? That’s when player development comes in. Martin Lapointe who is the Canadiens’ Director of Player Development is responsible for keeping tabs with a player after he is drafted. If a player is supposed to gain 15 pounds or improve his skating he will go and visit the player a couple times a year to make sure he is developing smoothly and according to the plan. He also talks with the player and his coach to go in detail on how he is improving himself to become the best player he can be. This is a very important stage of a player’s career. Many talented players have cut short their careers because of bad development whether it was because they were rushed into the NHL or they never made adjustments to be able to be a consistent NHL player.

In conclusion, Trevor Timmins and Martin Lapointe have done a fantastic job at finding and developing players. We also need to give credit to the scouts in general who are the ones that are in the front lines looking for the players while being away from their families for most of the year and missing holidays and family reunions. Their countless dedication and passion for the game is incredible. The players who you see shining in the bleu blanc rouge are there because of the guys who don’t get in the headlines but do their job because they love the game that much.

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