At one point in time the obsession with size dominated the discussion before the NHL Entry Draft. Is the player big enough to survive in the big leagues? Will his skill trump the lack of strength? Can he make a lot of useless hits that won't help the team win?
Nowadays the discussion has drifted away from the size obsession, towards the more important examination of talent and skill sets.
In Anthony Beauvillier's case, he has talent to spare.
Place of Birth: Sorel-Tracy, Canada
Position: Centre/ Left Wing
Heigth: 5’10" Weight: 181 lbs
Playing for an underwhelming Shawinigan Cataractes team, Beauvillier put together a fantastic season, leading his closest competition for top scorer on the team by 30 points. He finished eight in QMJHL scoring, and ninth in goals, incredibly impressive considering his young age. He almost tripled his offensive output from his rookie season, without the help of any elite talent on his line.
He relies on speed to initiate the attack, and compliments his swift skating with top notch puck handling. He's not just a goal scorer, as evidenced by his 52 assists last season. Essentially, he's a epitome of a talented, offensive prospect.
A dynamic scoring center with good hockey sense. Not very large in stature, but makes up for it in speed, skill, and cunning. A talented puck-handler with good hands: is equally efficient a passer as he is a goal scorer. All-in-all, an offensively minded center that can outplay the opposition in a number of different ways. Needs to work on discipline and getting stronger.
Beauvillier uses strong puck-handling skills and a strong, low centre of gravity stride to beat his opponents, either coming off the left wing or down the middle. Timashov uses equally impressive speed to create chances off the rush, unafraid to hang onto the puck until an opportunity presents itself or stop up and find a seam through the middle of the ice.
Beauvillier’s 1.48 points per game ranks him between the first two drafted QMJHL prospects in 2014 in their draft year’s. Ehlers, who was drafted ninth overall, posted 1.65 points per game in his draft year playing parts of the year with CHL Player of the Year Jonathan Drouin, who contributed on 32 of his 104 points. Equally as impressive for Beauvillier, the speedy 2015 draft-eligible forward’s 39 goals in 56 games pace him at a 44-goal 63-game pace, just shy of Ehlers’ 49 in his draft year. This, despite playing without elite talent, bouncing on and off of a line with another potential first round pick in Dennis Yan and a handful of undrafted forwards.
Future Considerations: N/A
Hockey Prospect: N/A
Craig Button: 16th
Central Scouting Service, North American Skaters: 33
Hockey Prospectus: 26th
My main concern isn't his size, but rather his sudden offensive explosion. Was it a result of his usage in Shawinigan, or was it simply a breakout year from an offensively talented forward? Either way, you can't put too much stock into his relatively tame rookie season.
The fact of the matter is that he's got the talent to score goals, which is an area where the Habs definitely need help. Is he first-round worthy? That remains to be seen.
Of course, the majority of the conversation will focus on his size, but it's doubtful that the team that drafted Brendan Gallagher, Martin Reway, & Charles Hudon will worry about his height. They're likely to focus on his skill, which is abundant. The main difference will be whether or not the Habs will want to gamble on a player of his stature in the first round.