With the Canadiens’ sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Canadiens selected Michael Pezzetta from the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves at 160th overall.
The Toronto native is 6’1", 181-pound centreman. He doubled his point production from his rookie season, amassing 10 goals and 18 assists in 64 games. While those aren’t very impressive totals, Pezzetta is a physical forward, clocking in at over one penalty minute per game.
He’s a hard-hitting forward who throws his weight around all over the ice, but perhaps too recklessly at this stage of his career. He does have decent hands and some playmaking ability, though given the low production at the junior level, won’t amount to much of an offensive threat in the NHL.
What the Habs are hoping to glean from this selection is big, energy player who can wear down opponents in a fourth-line role, similar to what Matt Martin does for the New York Islanders. The team was likely hoping for a similar role when they chose Connor Crisp a few years ago, highlighting the difficulty of drafting even bottom-of-the-lineup players into an organization.
Pezzetta is a solidly built, playmaking center with strong defensive awareness and high effort level each and every shift. He is an intelligent center who thinks the game well and knows what he needs to do and where he needs to be to find success. On the rush, he does a good job of getting to strong positions away from the puck to be an option going hard to the net or in support.
Hockey Prospect Black Book
Pezzetta is a physical forward who loves to punish the opposition. Consistently game after game he is noted for finishing his checks hard all game long. He can play on the edge and sometimes doesn't really have the mentality to let up when an opponent has turned which results in some pretty questionable hits from time to time.
His skating has continued to improve all season. He is strong on his skates and has good speed. He was active on the forecheck and got involved physically. His compete level never fades, always the hardest worker on the ice. Size/strength help him win puck battles.
Future Considerations: #158
ISS Hockey: #66
Hockey Prospect Black Book: #106
DraftBuzz Hockey: NR
Bob McKenzie: NR
Pezzetta enters the depth chart toward the lower end, but there is at least a moderate amount of ability to prevent this pick from being seen as a throwaway selection. There were likely more skilled players available with the pick, but as the talent dwindled toward to tail end of the draft, there isn’t much to be upset about with a pick like this. If it turns out he becomes a fourth-line player in a few years’ time, it will have been a worthwhile selection for the Canadiens.