There’s now an adage in use when speaking of the Montreal Canadiens: you can never have too many defencemen. For the Habs’ first selection in the upcoming draft, there is one who may be of interest to the Habs.
Callan Foote is the son of long-time NHL player Adam Foote, and while pedigree always raises interest, Foote is a legitimate prospect in his own right who is currently at the top of his game for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL.
Standing 6’4’’ and weighing in at 215 lbs., Foote is already a giant on ice, and will continue to grow into his frame as he matures a bit more. Size isn’t everything, but when combined with the tools Foote possesses he becomes an extremely coveted asset in this year’s draft class.
Place of Birth: Englewood, Colorado
Weight: 215 lbs
The biggest thing with Foote is that he’s well-rounded on the defensive side of the puck. He uses his long reach to poke pucks away from opposing forwards and puts his large size to use, boxing out players around the net. While his footspeed going forward isn’t a strength, his agility while skating backwards and defending is excellent, allowing him to keep pace with even the quickest forwards.
Foote has the ability to be a producer on the back end, though he tends to play a more conservative game most of the time. While that’s fine because of his outstanding defensive game, his ceiling at the NHL level might be a bit lower since he’s more likely to err on the side of defence
When Foote chooses to join the play in the offensive zone he’s more than capable of distributing the puck, and racking up points. His assist total (51 in the past season) ranked sixth among all defenders in the WHL, and in the top 25 for all skaters. For someone who is known primarily for their defensive play this is an encouraging sign that even at the pro level he can contribute on the offensive side.
With Foote’s ceiling being projected to be a top-four defender with solid defensive skills, and the occasional offensive contribution. It draws comparisons to that of current Habs blue-liner Jeff Petry. That’s not to say they’re the same, but they both have skills in multiple areas of the game, and that makes them valuable commodities.
Foote plays a traditional, steady two-way game. He’s not one to rush the puck, but he makes a good first pass and takes care of his first and foremost. His edge work allows him the finer tuned movements that coupled with his tangible physical assets makes him effective in quick plays. Performs well under pressure and doesn’t overcompensate for quick movement, keeping his opponent framed up. His reach and quick hands allow him to dead end offensive chances as he is quick to get to the puck. He is a safe pick, and one that is likely to be a strong physical defender as a pro.
An assertive two-way defenceman that reads plays quickly and understands both the offensive and defensive sides of the roles he is put into. He uses his size to gain leverage against other players, though he isn’t an overly physical force. His hockey sense is outstanding, and his ability to no just read, but start and on the odd occasion, finish plays is overtly indicative of his high talent level.
Future Considerations: 25th
NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters): 12th
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of drafting Callan Foote is that he is a safe pick. He’s not likely to be a boom-or-bust prospect; scouts unanimously agree he’s a good pick for any team. He’s not flashy, and doesn’t post crazy goal totals, but he’s arguably one of the most sound defensive players in the draft.
He may be available when the Habs step up to the podium in the first round, and given his attributes he’ll be of great interest to Montreal. While the Canadiens do have pressing needs, particularly at the centre position, ignoring a solid defender like this could be a costly error. He’s a safer bet with little chance to surprise, but if being safe nets you one of the best defenders in the draft then it’s not such a bad thing.
And remember: you can never have too many defencemen.