Draft Lottery: It’s All Over But The Crying

And there we have it folks. The suspense is over, the NHL theatrical is behind us and we now know that the Montreal Canadiens will, indeed, be talking 15th at the next NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21st… unless the Canadiens’ General Manager has something else up his sleeves at the Draft table that is.

Marc Bergevin has always been consistent in his message in saying that good teams aren’t built through free agency and that some of the biggest mistakes are made on July first, the opening day of the free agents’ market. For the most part, he has been able to avoid those mistakes with the exception of Karl Alzner. Does that mean that Bergevin won’t try landing a big fish through free agency? Not at all. As a matter of fact, he’s heading to the Draft and to the free agents’ market with pockets full of cap space, the backing from Geoff Molson to spend that money and with several spots available under the 50 contracts limits. The Canadiens also have no fewer than 10 draft picks at the upcoming draft.

Source: capfriendly.com

If I were a betting man, my money would be on Bergevin being most active between June 21st and July 1st on the trade front and looking at his track record since taking over the Habs, that is definitely the way to go. He absolutely and categorically must finally find a suitable and capable left-handed top-4 defenseman and anything short of filling the team’s biggest need would be a failure, at least in my opinion. Just as he fixed the holes at centre last summer, a player capable of playing big minutes from the left side of the defense is a must in order for this team to take the next step.

Prospect Alexander Romanov will not be suiting up for the Canadiens until 2020-21 at the very least

As the Canadiens’ top hockey man mentioned himself during his year end press conference, top prospect Alexander Romanov cannot join the Canadiens until the 2020-21 season and I would add that even then, it would be unrealistic to think that he can step into a top-4 role at the NHL level right off the bat. If anything, the Habs must do with him what they’ve done with Jesperi Kotkaniemi by bringing him slowly and gradually with favourable matchups. So that’s why a stop-gap top-4 defenseman would be needed, someone who can eat up 3-4 years on the left side until Romanov is ready. The Canadiens simply cannot wait that long to address that need.

In the meantime, everyone and anyone will try to play prospects’ experts by making their own mock drafts, selling you on prospect A, B, C or even D for the Canadiens. But remember one thing: Trevor Timmins is the only one with all of the information, and he has his own list which he will be sharing with his management team first, then announce his choice to the rest of the NHL on June 21st. If you don’t believe me, just look at a year ago. That said, let’s hope that fans have learned their lesson and don’t make fools of themselves once again. Go Habs Go!

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Habs on the Ball for Lottery Draft

BallsDraft2016

It’s been almost a month that our Habs have been eliminated from the playoffs and fans are finding other things to do. While some are watching the playoffs, more are watching something else as viewership in the first round have fallen by 61% in Canada in comparison to last year, due in big part to the fact that none of the seven Canadian teams made the Spring Tournament.

There are few consolations to Canadian fans (and Canadiens’ fans as well) but one of them is the hope that this season of misery can be rewarded with some change, some new blood and several moves during this upcoming off-season. Whether it’s the hope of getting a good draft pick, changes in management (not in Montreal as we know), trades and/or free agents’ signing, fans are hoping for some excitement that they missed with their team(s) out of the playoffs.

The first step for all of us is coming up this Saturday, April 30th, as the NHL is doing it’s Draft lottery. As it stands right now, the Montreal Canadiens have a five percent chance of getting the very first pick at the next NHL Draft for having finished the season with the 22nd best overall record in the league. This is not much but a few years ago, they would have automatically picked ninth at the Draft.

Picks

It is being said that the race between the top-three picks is extremely tight this year, with Austin Matthews still holding on to the number ranked prospect title as we speak. Close second is Finnish prospect Patrik Laine, and his compatriot Jesse Puljujärvi following close behind at third best rated prospect. The first player from the QMJHL is Pierre-Luc Dubois who now ranks fifth overall. The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles is a native of Ste-Agathe-des-Monts and it has been well documented that both Trevor Timmins and team GM Marc Bergevin have followed the Screaming Eagles in the playoffs.

Do the Canadiens have a chance?

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to play with the NHL Lottery Simulator. I ran it prior to writing this piece and it took me 14 times before the Canadiens won a top-three pick, coming out with the second overall pick. I had to wait to the 26th time to once again get the second overall and finally, with my 31st time running the program, Trevor Timmins had the very first pick overall.

The good news is that I’m not the one pressing the button so don’t rely on my experience. It does, however, bring a bit of a reality on the odds of the Habs getting a top-three pick this year. Either way, we will find out soon enough as Saturday is coming fast. Happy Lottery Habs’ fans!