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Getting to know Montreal Canadiens 128th overall selection Cole Fonstad

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With their ninth selection, the Habs go west to select another playmaking forward in Cole Fonstad.

Robert Murray/WHL

The Montreal Canadiens selected centreman Cole Fonstad in the fifth round, 128th overall, of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

Fonstad comes from the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders, where he showed tremendous progress in his second year. At 5’10” and 178 pounds, the Canadiens certainly picked him out of the group for his playmaking abilities, having amassed 52 assists last season to lead his team.

Eliteprospects.com

Fonstad has the ability to create space for himself and others on the ice. He has the handling skills to slip the puck in tight space and keep control. This allowed him to carry the puck in the offensive zone for his attack repeatedly this season.

He has a good passing game due to his great vision of the ice and can act as a quarterback for a team on the power play, but he can just as well set up scoring chances for others on the fly.

He is not the quickest of skaters, but never stops moving; so this weakness doesn’t affect his game as much as others with the same issue.

He will also have to add strength to better compete in puck battles, but, despite being undersized, he is not afraid to jump into scoring areas to try and bang a rebound in. His defensive game is a work in progress due to those same weaknesses.

Rankings

Future Considerations: #62

Hockey Prospect: #108
The Hockey News: #91
International Scouting Service: #93
Corey Pronman: #41
McKeen’s Hockey: #89
TSN/Bob McKenzie: #82

EOTP Consensus Ranking: 68

Scouting

Hockey Prospect Black Book

Cole’s best quality is his vision and ability to find the open man. He quarterbacked the Raiders powerplay all season. He makes the passes that you don’t expect him to make. Cole has the ability to seemingly gain the offensive blue-line at will. (...) His hockey IQ is far ahead of his age. (...) His downfall is his defensive ability and aggressiveness. He got pushed around at times down low and had a tendency to lose puck battles.

Cole Fonstad is another playmaker drafted by the Habs in this draft. This element of the game seems to have been identified as a need for Montreal going into this summer and they replenished their prospect cup board with plenty of creative players able to distribute the puck.

Fonstad spent some time both at center and on the wing this season, but due to his weaknesses, might be better suited as a winger down the road. He will have to add onto his frame and work on his awareness on defence, but banking on skill and ability to drive the play for a team is never a bad thing.

The prospect was ranked higher on most lists and it will be interesting to follow his development. Some players mature latter on than others and it could be the case for Fonstad. Some time in the gym could be just what he needs to take his game to the next level.