With few snipers populating their prospect pool, the Montreal Canadiens may look at drafting Brock Boeser if he's still on the board at 26. Boeser already has NHL size but has committed to the NCAA next season with the University of North Dakota.
Scouts are quick to praise Boeser's shot, which would mean nothing if the winger didn't have a knack for fighting for ice and positioning himself to score. With an above average hockey IQ and strong skating, Boeser has the tools required to become an NHL player. And when it comes to development, it's much easier to teach defense than it is goal scoring.
Place of Birth: Burnsville, MN, USA
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 192 lbs
In his first full USHL season with the Waterloo Black Hawks, Boeser finished third in league scoring with 68 points in 57 games. He also co-captained Team USA to Bronze at the Hlinka Memorial Tournament, picking up 6 goals along the way.
There's no questioning his offensive capabilities compared to his peers, which may draw scouts' attention before the Canadiens pick late in the first round. While his play away from the puck was a concern, Brock has earned positive reviews for his improved defensive game this year. If he can maintain this progression, the 18-year-old may find himself suiting up in the NHL sooner rather than later.
A dynamic offensive winger and natural goal scorer. Has great instincts and is able to quickly get into position for premium scoring chances; possesses an accurate release on his shot which he can get off in the blink of an eye. He always knows where his linemates are, and is a great passer; that being said, his individual puck possession play is incredible and sets him apart as an offensive player. He will need to work on defensive zone coverage and a slew of small details such as board battles, but Brock Boeser has a ton of elite-level scoring potential due to the way he can read, make, and finish plays.
Some scouts are seeing quite a bit of Patrick Sharp in Mr. Boeser. He skates well and has a complete set of goal-scorer's tools. Doesn't give up his own end, and transitions to offense in such a quick and concrete way that he can catch the opposition off-guard.
A big power winger who utilizes his size and strength to generate offensive chances…a real do-it-all guy…plays hard in all three zones…has a great compete level…protects the puck extremely well, especially with defenders draped all over him…fights through any contact he encounters…has a lethal shot, quick release and very accurate…drive the net…can also pull up and set-up his teammates with a skilled pass…defensively he does a great job taking away shooting lanes and forcing the other team to adjust their plan…a real pro-style player.
A strong skating forward who is very effective at getting to open space. He possesses a hard, accurate shot and has the ability to create opportunities off the rush.
Future Considerations: 28th
Hockey Prospect: 14th
Craig Button: 8th
Central Scouting Service, North American Skaters: 27th
Boeser could become the Habs seventh first round pick with a Minnesota and/or USHL connection in the last decade. Of those seven, Max Pacioretty, Jarred Tinordi and Michael McCarron are still in the Canadiens' system, while McDonagh has since donned the 'C' for the New York Rangers. The other two didn't exactly pan out with Louis Leblanc toiling in the Anaheim Ducks system and David Fischer playing in Europe.
Montreal has convinced committed NCAA players to move on to the CHL in recent years, so it shouldn't be surprising if any plans to draft Boeser hinge on his development flexibility.
While the Habs can use the scoring help now, the more time Brock Boeser spends honing his offensive skills the better. Look at the Minnesota native as a mid-range project, with a full two to three years before he's NHL ready.
With Pacioretty, Gallagher and (hopefully) Galchenyuk locked up long-term after this summer, there's no doubt Boeser would add a extra boost to the Canadiens' top six by then.