Normally, when a team drafts as low as the Montreal Canadiens, with the 26th overall selection, chances are most of the top end talent is off the board.
Tonight’s 1st round of the 2015 NHL Draft was nothing like that. After the Boston Bruins traded defenceman Dougie Hamilton and hated winger Milan Lucic to acquire picks 13, 14 and 15, it was almost a foregone conclusion that most of the top 20 talent would be gone. To everyone’s surprise, new Bruins’ general manager Don Sweeney drafted D Jacob Zboril, LW Jake Debrusk and RW Zachary Senyshen (ranked 12th, 19th and 38th respectively by NHL Central Scouting), it created turmoil on the Draft floor.
As picks came and went, there were plenty of players available for the Canadiens to choose from. The cupboards are bare in most areas of the farm system right now, with the likes of Nikita Scherbak, Michael McCarron and Charles Hudon due to get serious consideration at Canadiens’ camp in the fall, as well as defenseman Jarred Tinordi and Dalton Thrower. With plenty of defensemen available in the draft through rounds 1 and 2, it was expected the Canadiens would draft a skillful, well-sized and skilled forward to help address their scoring down the road.
Charlottetown Islanders’ leading scorer Daniel Sprong (ranked 20nd by NHLCS) was available for the Canadiens, and despite holes in his defensive game, his offensive skill ranks among the top 5 players available in the draft.
Canadiens’ general manager Marc Bergevin and Director of Amateur Scouting Trevor Timmons decided to bolster the back end, picking defenseman Noah Juulsen from the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Juulsen (22nd – NHLCS) is 6′ 1″ and 176 lbs, shoots right handed and has a very respectable two-way game. The 18 year old from Abbotsford, BC is an excellent skater and plays a relatively physical game. He can provide excellent support to his teammates and has an above-average ability to anticipate the game.
Noah Juulsen’s Career Statistics:
Many aren’t thrilled with the selection, including yours truly, but time will tell if Juulsen will fit the bill for Montreal. He needs to put on some significant muscle to play at the professional level, but given his age, he will spend a couple of more years in the WHL and perhaps one or two with the Ice Caps, which should give him more than enough time to fill in.
The NHL Draft continues tomorrow in Sunrise, Florida. Hopefully, the Canadiens’ brain trust have a few more moves up their sleeve to pacify Habs’ fan, who expected a bigger splash on the draft floor.