The Montreal Canadiens entered the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in prime position to give the organization a major injection of young talent. With six picks in the first three rounds, there was a lot hype surrounding the team as it headed to New Jersey.
On the first pick, the team went slightly off the board to grab a player whose main skill was being big, and that particular gamble to select Michael McCarron hasn’t paid off.
The first two of three selections made in the second round haven’t yielded a top roster player, either, as Zachary Fucale toils away in the minor leagues and Jacob de la Rose straddles the boundary between top-line AHLer and NHL fourth-liner.
Their third pick of the second round — the fourth they made at the event — has panned out very well for the team. Artturi Lehkonen overcame some of the injury concerns teams initially had, and built upon a strong draft season in the Finnish league to become a key member of the team right from the start of his rookie NHL season in 2016-17.
He has scored 30 goals over his two seasons with the Canadiens, ranking fifth among the team forwards in that time. He was one of the top players on the team in the only playoff run he has seen since crossing the Atlantic, showing the abilities that allowed him to break a team scoring record, held by Daniel Alfredsson, in the 2016 post-season.
Looking at the 27 skaters selected in the second round, the young Finn is the best from among his peers in every statistical category, having more goals than his closest competitor has points.
2013 NHL Draft - Second-round skater selections
|34||MTL||Jacob de la Rose||L||119||8||11||19|
Extending the sample out to all players selected after the first round, only Jake Guentzel, Anthony Duclair, and Lehkonen’s former Frölunda HC linemate, Mattias Janmark, have found the net more often than the Canadiens player. (Fellow Habs draftee Sven Andrighetto was also a hit for the scouting staff.)
2013 NHL Draft - Top 10 scorers from rounds 2-7
Three consecutive seasons of trading away all of their second-round picks limited the possibility of adding a key contributor after the first round, but the team opted for two offensively talented prospects in round 2 in 2017, and currently have four picks to make in the second round in 2018.
With a good selection of talent available, and two picks right at the start of the round, there’s a good chance the Canadiens can add another player who eventually climbs to the level that Lehkonen has reached.