With just under 24 hours to go before the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Habs GM Bob Gainey is busy reviewing scouting reports and evaluations before making that key announcement on Friday.
Many panelists and mock-drafts already posted online all seem to agree that, this year, Montreal needs to get a centre to bolster the lineup down the road.
This season’s crop of prospects seems to be the year for the Canadiens to do just that.
Barring a blockbuster trade, we can rule out John Tavares, Brayden Schenn or Matt Duchene to be picked by the Canadiens.
So let’s look at just a handful of centres that could go in the middle area of the draft.
The Canadiens will pick 18th unless they trade up.
Ranked No. 13 amongst North American skaters
The native of Kirkland, QC is heavily favored as Montreal’s first round pick.
Leblanc made the easy transition from Midget to the USHL and will be going to Harvard this fall.
- good hockey sense
-little difficulty playing with other elite players.
– Makes smart quick passes and uses his linemates exceptionally well off the rush and on the powerplay.
Ranked No. 15 amongst North American skaters
Playing in the shadow of Tavares, Kadri will need to bulk up to get to the level he has achieved, in Junior, at the pro level.
His passing is suspect and he may benefit more on the wing.
- best offensive assets are his vision and hockey sense
- his speed can create mismatches and opportunities
- dangerous on the PK when he can focus on a certain assignment.
- can anticipate the play and pick off passes.
- has the intelligence and hustle to be a solid defensive play
Ranked No. 19 amongst North American skaters
Already with some great size, but is known not to give a 100 percent effort on every shift.
He does not play in heavy traffic on a regular basis and often doesn't commit to all his defensive responsibilities.
- His puck skills rival the majority of skilled forwards in the draft
- can stickhandle to create nice passes.
- Quick and accurate shot
- Can use his body well to shield the puck
Ranked No. 14 amongst North American skaters
Could you imagine Bob Gainey stealing a high school kid right out of Boston’s back yard?
No matter who picks him, they will want him to move on to a more competitive league to accelerate his development.
- displays good puck skills when it comes to passing and shooting
- good size already
- fast skater for his size
Ranked No. 28 amongst North American Skaters
Not the fastest skater out of the gate,His skating but once he gets moving he can keep pace with his faster linemates.
Se will be playing for the University of Denver next season.
- likes to get involved around the net and the dirty areas
- makes an honest effort in all three zones
- tries to make sure his defensive responsibilities are covered
Ranked No. 3 amongst European Skaters
Does not have the greatest puck skills, but is one of those players who can be in the right place with or without the puck.
A player that does all the little things needed to make the big-name stars shine.
- Smart and has the hockey sense to be a solid and versatile two-way forward.
- takes hits to make plays
- has the two-step quickness and agility
Ranked No. 20 amongst North American Skaters
Impressed many at this month’s NHL combine with his physical strength and appearance.
He will be going to Notre Dame this fall.
- Good skater that works hard
- excellent two-way forward
- Good hockey insight
- Compared to Chris Drury in his playing style