As former Habs head Coach Jacques Martin is fond of doing, I did my research following round 1 of the 2012 NHL draft last night.
The Canadiens hold 2 picks in the second round (33rd and 51st). The later pick was acquired as part of the trade that sent Hal Gill to Nashville in February.
4 names stand out to me as possibilities for the Canadiens to draft. I am profiling them below, as well as the 3 highest ranked locals remaining - After Michael Matheson was drafted by the Panthers.
I am not a Scout. I have not personally seen any of these players play. Therefore any information you read below is coming from credible sources who do this for a living. What I have done is compile information about certain players that I believe Montreal could be looking at. For a complete list of players, and information on many other players that are not mentioned here, please click the links I have provided to the many fantastic sources.
Sebastien Collberg - RW - 5'11/175 - Frolunda (SWE)
Drafted 33rd overall by Montreal
The 13th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 14th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 3rd ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #27 overall by TSN's Craig Button & by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
• Collberg split the 2011-12 season between Frolunda’s junior and Elitserien squads. He totaled 17 points (9-8--17) in 21 games -- and also appeared in two postseason contests -- for the junior team.
• In 2010-11, he recorded 44 points (21-23--44) for Frolunda’s junior squad, plus another nine points (4-5--9) in seven playoff games.
• Collberg competed for Team Sweden at the 2012 Under-18 and World Junior Championships. He tied for the team lead with nine points (4-5--9) at the Under-18 tournament as Sweden took home a silver medal, and ranked second for his country with seven points (4-3--7) at the World Junior Championship, helping Sweden capture gold.
"Sebastien can play in multiple offensive situations and contribute in different ways. He's very versatile and is comfortable in a straight ahead skill game or one that is heavier with more physical play. He is a very good skater who can beat defenders 1-1 because he has a change of pace as well as having a desire to get offensive opportunities. He plays in traffic and maintains a focus despite knowing that he may be entering the danger zone. He has a very good focus offensively and is tenacious with the puck and he has the knack for getting the puck 'settled down' and in position to make a good shot. Despite not being a big player, he battles in traffic and along boards and doesn't defer or take an easier path. He has good awareness and sense and can make plays and while he likes to shoot, he's not one dimensional. He's a reliable player in the sense that you know you will get his best efforts despite what the challenges or obstacles may be. " - Craig Button
For a more detailed look at Sebastien Collberg, please check out this excellent profile on him by Christopher Ralph of The Hockey Writers. Sebastien Collberg THW: Close Up
Matt Finn - D - 6'0/195 - Guelph (OHL)
Drafted 35th overall by Toronto
The 18th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 20th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 16th ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #9 overall by TSN's Craig Button & 21st by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
• In 2011-12, Finn led the Guelph Storm and finished sixth overall in the Ontario Hockey League in scoring among defensemen. He recorded 48 points (10-38--48) in 61 games and was named the Storm’s Most Valuable Player and Top Defenseman for the season.
• His cousin, Carlo Colaiacovo, currently plays for the St. Louis Blues and was drafted 17th overall in 2001 by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
• He won a gold medal with Team Ontario the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge recording a goal and six penalty minutes in six games. Team Ontario had several 2012 draft prospects including: Andreas Athanasiou (No. 40-ranked), Brendan Gaunce (No. 13-ranked) and Slater Koekkoek (No. 23-ranked).
• In 2009-10, Finn recorded 57 points (22-35--57) in 79 games on a Toronto Marlboro’s team that featured fellow prospects Scott Kosmachuk (No. 24-ranked), Adam Pelech (No. 120-ranked) and Scott Laughton (No. 28-ranked).
"Matthew is not going to show up in highlight videos on any type of a regular basis. It's not in his game to be flashy but it is his game to be incredibly effective. That effectiveness translates into every area of the game and all of its situations. Simply put, he is a player who completes plays. He does it with the puck. Defensively in getting the puck out of danger. Offensively in reading the play and getting the puck to areas where his team can attack. He is superb in transition and can do it skating with the puck or passing the puck. He does it without the puck. He has very good body positioning and stick position where he can keep opponents at bay. His skating is strong in all regards and he asserts with his body & with excellent lower body strength and balance, he's a hard player to gain an advantage on. He has excellent sense and understands what is unfolding and what the appropriate response should be. He has great poise playing and the challenges of the game do not faze him in any way. He is a player who makes teams stronger." - Craig Button
For a more detailed look at Matt Finn, please check out this excellent profile on him by Carl Maloney of The Hockey Writers. Matt Finn THW: Close Up
Pontus Aberg - LW - 5'11/195 - Djurgardens (SWE)
Drafted 37th overall by Nashville
The 20th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 28th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 6th ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #33 overall by TSN's Craig Button & 37th by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
"Pontus is a prototypical goal scoring winger. He has good speed and uses a burst of quickness to break free and get to scoring position either with the puck or to get the puck. He reads the play well and doesn't get himself unnecessarily 'tangled' up in traffic and he gets to scoring position at opportune times to take advantage of his skills. He is able to handle the puck in tight areas and around the net and finds ways to free his stick to make a play on the puck. He's not going to overpower a goalie with his shot but he has an accurate shot and can maneuver his hands to give himself a better opportunity or to open up a part of the net. He will make plays and that allows him to not be a one-dimensional player. He gets involved in the hard areas and will pay a price to score and he competes for his chances. Overall, he is a player who wants to score and can be productive in an offensive role." - Craig Button
For a more detailed look at Pontus Aberg, please check out this excellent profile on him by Ryan Pike of The Hockey Writers. Pontus Aberg THW: Close Up
Colton Sissons - C - 6'0/190 - Kelowna (WHL)
Drafted 50th overall by Nashville
The 25th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 29th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 14th ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting
He was Ranked #33 overall by TSN's Bob Mckenzie & was not ranked by TSN's Craig Button.
• He finished the season second on the Rockets in scoring with 26 goals which included a team-high 13 power-play tallies. Sissons’ matched his rookie point total (41) in five fewer games this season (58).
• In 2010-11, Sissons finished 12th overall in rookie scoring and second overall on the Kelowna Rockets with 41 points (17-24--41) in 63 games. He finished with a plus-15 rating, the highest on the team.
• Prior to making the jump to the Western Hockey League, he competed for the BCHL’s Westside Warriors in Junior A – he recorded six goals and 22 points (6-16--22) in 58 games.
• As the youngest forward on the Vancouver Northwest Giants in 2008-09, he finished with 54 points, fifth overall in the league, helping the team win the BC Major Midget League Championships -- 2011 first overall selection, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, was a teammate on the Giants.
• A fan of the Food Network, he is a self proclaimed “fantastic cook”.• In 2011-12, Finn led the Guelph Storm and finished sixth overall in the Ontario Hockey League in scoring among defensemen. He recorded 48 points (10-38--48) in 61 games and was named the Storm’s Most Valuable Player and Top Defenseman for the season.
"Colton is a straight ahead up and down winger. There is not one area of his game that stands out but he is consistent in his effort and plays a dependable and responsible game. He works hard and plays with a tenacity that can wear down opponents. His skating is good and along with strong balance, it allows him to play strong along the boards and in 1-1 physical battles. He's not punishing but is hard on the puck and engages physically to create opportunities for his team. Very good sense and feel for the game and he plays within his strengths and understands the subtle plays and how to make them and knows they are plays that help a team be successful. He is not a prolific scorer but he can make the plays that help a team create scoring chances. Going to the net without the puck, winning 1-1 battles along the boards, being strong on the fore check are a few examples of how Colton contributes to a team. He's a leader by example who is not flashy but he makes others around him better and helps his team be successful. " - Craig Button
For a more detailed look at Colton Sissons, please check out this excellent profile on him by Ross Bonander of The Hockey Writers. Colton Sissons THW: Close Up.
There are also 3 highly ranked Local prospects to keep your eye on.
Christophe Lalancette from Roberval, QC is the 62nd ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He plays RW for Acadie-Bathurst in the QMJHL. Drafted 109th overall by San Jose.
Ryan Culkin from Montreal, QC is the 66th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He plays D for the Quebec Ramparts in the QMJHL. Drafted 124th overall by Calgary.
Kevin Roy from Greenfield Park, QC is then 78th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He plays C for Lincoln of the USHL. Drafted 97th overall by Anaheim.