Every year prior to the draft, the SBNation NHL network conducts a mock draft, with each blog making a first-round pick on behalf of their team. Last year we picked the talented winger David Pastrnak. Due to Montreal's strong regular season record, our pick once again landed late in this year's mock draft. Here's a list of picks made so far.
Without further ado, Eyes on the Prize is proud to select with the 26th-overall pick, from the Saint John's Sea Dogs of the QMHJL, defender Thomas Chabot.
We were incredibly excited to see that he was still available, and pounced on the chance to pick such a high quality prospect. It's a multipurpose selection, in that not only is Chabot incredibly talented, one of the best players available at the time of our pick, but he fills a desperate need for left defensemen, a position where the Habs have little to no depth in terms of prospects.
Age: 18 (1997-01-30)
Place of Birth: Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, Québec
Heigth: 6’2" Weight: 180lbs
Favourite NHL Team: Montreal Canadiens
Favourite NHL Player: Erik Karlsson
Chabot is a smooth-skating blue-liner that's seen as one of the most reliable prospects available in the draft. His high hockey IQ leads him to make smart decisions with and without the puck.
He's particularly adept at supporting the offense, however he made big strides in his defensive game this season, establishing himself as a well-rounded defender that has the ability to play in every situation. He doesn't necessarily possess a heavy shot, however he does have the ability to get his shots on net, which is often more beneficial than a booming slap spot. Chabot won a bronze medal with Team Canada at the Under-18 Championship, as well as owning the second-longest scoring streak by a defenceman in Sea Dogs history (1 goal and 9 assists.)
He finished first among Saint John's defenders in scoring, fifth on the team. His 27 even-strength points were fourth among all QMJHL defenders this past season, indicating that he doesn't rely solely on powerplay situations to create offense.
Future Considerations: 21st
Hockey Prospect: 20th
Central Scouting Service, North American Skaters: 16th
International Scouting Service: 16h
Bob McKenzie: 25th
A quick-thinking two-way defenseman that is able to make fast decisions and help his team whenever he is on the ice. Possesses excellent mobility and has good individual puck skills; can catch the opposition off guard with his speed. All-in-all, a player who strives to be better with every shift, staying a student of the game. Has the potential to flourish into a very reliable all-around defenseman that can eat up minutes.
A strong passer who delivers pucks with good timing and accuracy…has the ability to read the play and pick-and-choose his spots…has a powerful stride that generates power but could improve the overall quickness in his feet…willing to join the offensive attack…handles the puck well…not a big point shot but gets it on net consistently…reads the play well in his own zone and defensively he has the size and reach to close off lanes…good transition defender that moves the puck up ice.
"Chabot’s game is very similar to that of St. Louis Blue defender Alex Pietrangelo when he was in the OHL. Chabot should be among the first wave of defensemen taken in the draft as he has a high upside and will only need time to finish developing his overall game."
A versatile defender who can play big minutes in all situations , powered by long springy strides – skating mechanics provide a solid base - needs to work on adding strength and quickness to his stride .. pivots and turns are smooth and composed providing steady shielding. Exceptional footwork, elegant and effortless transition from back to forwards. An intelligent puck carrier with really fluid crossover steps - maintaining a soft control on the puck at all times. Wants to be a difference-maker and will use his ability to carry it into the offensive zone. High hockey IQ, anticipating the play well, jumping up aggressively as an attacker. Keeps his head up when walking the blueline and gets his shots through as a result.
After a decent first season in the league, Chabot was much better this season and was without a doubt one of the most improved players in the league. His play in his own end is where we saw the biggest improvement from last year; he was scratched for one game early in the season for poor commitment in the defensive end and ever since, he has become an impact player for the Sea Dogs at both ends of the ice.
" Chabot was one the most improved players in the QMJHL this season, still work to be done in his own zone but his offensive potential and skating are top notch" – HP scout Jérôme Bérubé
"I saw Roy and Chabot on back to back nights this season. That was when I first thought Chabot had a chancet o be a real climber on our draft board. He played with amazing confidence and created a lot of offense for his team. He had a few brain cramps in Switzerland but the kid has pretty big upside." – Mark Edwards
Is he a fit with the Habs?
Simply put, yes.
He fills a positional need but, more importantly, he's arguably the best player available. With Jarred Tinordi on the cusp of a permanent NHL promotion, the Habs have little-to-no high-ceiling defensive prospects in the ranks, even less so on the left side.
Most people would be inclined to draft a forward, seeing as how the present-day edition of the Habs has an incredibly tough time producing goals, but the fact of the matter is that the Canadiens have a fair amount of scoring prospects developing in the CHL and the AHL.
Have your say
Do you agree with the pick? Let us know below, by voting on the poll and and elaborating in the comments as to which prospect you would have preferred.