Thursday, June 21, 2012


Just about every serious Habs fan has an opinion right now about which of the top five 18-year-old prospects Trevor Timmins should select to be the team's next great player. You know what they say about opinions? Like arseholes, everyone's got one. To extend the metaphor, however, a lot of you have been tweeting or emailing or messaging this arsehole to see who my choice for the number-three overall pick might be.

While it's nice that you care who I'd pick, I have to be honest and say the most important thing is not who, but what, the Canadiens draft. I know what I would like to see. I'd like a young player who's dedicated, determined to win, thoughtful, smart, a good teammate (translation: puts team ahead of individual stats, bonuses, awards or contracts), coachable, as well as being a naturally good player. I think all five of the universally selected top-ranked players have at least some of those qualities. It's up to Timmins to pick the one with most of them.

To be honest, I don't know which guy that might be. I've seen clips and watched junior games. I've talked to my cousin whose kid plays in the Q and has seen some of the players first-hand. I've chatted with a couple of junior scouts. Other than that, I've got no great handle on whose name Timmins or Marc Bergevin should call on Friday. My instinct says it should be Alex Galchenyuk. Then again, my instinct said the Capitals had a steal in  Anton Gustafsson in 2008, and he's now out of hockey because he couldn't hack the pressure.

In the end, I think the draft is a giant crap shoot. People who think the player picked by the Habs will step in and turn the franchise around are bound, in most cases, to be disappointed. Eighteen-year-old young men aren't ready to be grownups, most of the time. They'll have slip-ups and set-backs and may need two or three years in the minors to learn how to be professionals. The Habs have taken a great step in hiring former pros to mentor the kids, but it still depends on how ready the individual is to take that adult step. Any team, including the Habs, that relies on a first-round draft pick to save it right away, isn't really being logical.

Trevor Timmins will most likely (David Fischer aside) choose a player who will be NHL quality on Friday night. Our job, as fans, is to be hopeful the kid he names is the one with the most big-league qualities and the one who will be the best Montreal Canadien. It's out of our hands. We just have to have faith. Then we have to hope the two second-rounders he picks are P.K.Subban, partes deux et trois.


Steve said...

It looks like Galycheck will be gone, I would still like us to pick a big center. In the new NHL you need a big center to stand in front of the goalie, better still he can skate and shoot and has Hockey vision and IQ.

JF said...

I like your take, J.T. It's not who the Habs pick, but what - the kid who best exemplifies the qualities needed to be a good NHL player. That said, I confess I'll be a little disappointed if we draft a defenceman, just because we have such a crying need for offence. There is a frightening drop-off in our offensive depth after Leblanc, Gallagher, Holland, and Kristo. Defensively, on the other hand, our prospects look pretty good.