I'm going to highlight some of the habs needs and the players they can potentially draft to help meet those needs.
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The habs had a great post season run. Until they ran into the much larger Philly team. Montreal's skilled (yet small forwards) tried to compete but had trouble finding the open room in the offensive zone. It is clear that Montreal needs some size and skill on the top lines. A player who can play rugged and still chip in offensively.
Pouliot has the height but needs to fill out. He also needs to get a mean streak out there. He already can skate extremely well for a big man, his hands are as fast as Gionta's and he has a knack for scoring goals (at least that's what I noticed during the regular season). By no means should the habs give up on Pouliot. I believe he will be a 25 goal guy that brings some of that size to the top lines that i was talking about.
Since players with size and skill are hard to acquire, it is much easier to stock up on them in the system.
My Rankings of players that may be around when we draft/trade up a few spots
1. Riley Sheahan 6'2" C/LW shoots: L
He has the size we need, and could be a 2nd line Centerman if he reaches his potential. He is a complete 2 way player and may even be a better defensive forward than he is offensive. He plays in all game situations and plays with grit.
NHL central scouting: 22nd.
So there is no doubt he will be long gone before the habs pick at 27. So the habs will have to trade up to draft Riley. Depending on how the draft unfolds this one is pretty unlikely. Especially because the ISS is so high on him.
2. John McFarland 6'0" C shoots: R
He isn't that big, but his size is an upgrade over Pleks and Gomez. He has the skill level to be a premier point producer. My good friend from Sudbury watched him play a couple of times this past season with Sudbury and said that he is a selfish player and doesn't compete. Those red flags are enough to see John drop in the draft from being a potential top 10 pick to fall somewhere around the position that Montreal will be drafting in.
NHL central scouting: 15th.
He can very likely be availabe at 27th. He would be the project forward out of this group.
3. Charlie Coyle 6'2" RW shoots R
May not amount to being that top line power forward that the habs are looking for, but he does have the size and passing abilities to easily be a reliable 3rd line RW. I never had the chance to watch him play on TV so I don't know much about him other than his size and numbers playing for South Shore: 21 goals and 63 pts in 42 games.
NHL central scouting: 24th
So he may be there when we pick at 27th. Probly the most realistic pick for the habs if we don't move up in the draft.
4. Quinton Howden 6'2" LW shoots: L
Similar player to Riley Sheahan. Although he isn't as sure of a bet as Riley to be an NHLer. Has the size we need, and is defensively responsible which is the new direction the habs have taken.
THN ranking: 23
NHL central scouting: 19
Another guy we'd likely have to move up to draft.
Dylan McIlrath 6'4" D shoots: R
He's not a forward which IMO, is our biggest need. But he is a sizeable defensemen who shoots right. Something the habs are also in need of. He is no Subban on his skates, but for a big man he can skate quite well. And he has a mean streak: he beat the crap out of Petrovic in a fight during the prospects game. His nickname is "The Undertaker" because of his punishing frame and how he uses it. He is one of the toughest players in the WHL this year.
NHL central scouting: 17th
He is very likely the guy the habs will draft if he is available at 27th. Considering his nastiness and size, I would have no problem with this pick if he can translate his 'trade' to the NHL level in a couple of years.
My two cents, zzzzz
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