Allure of Draft-eligible Prospects Eases Habs Fans’ Pain: Part II



MONTREAL, QC. — Gloom-and-doom mode has returned after a Monday-night loss against Carolina, and the disappointment of a shootout loss against the Bruins may have many Habs’ fans groaning for an alternative. Last week we presented to you our review of Bob McKenzie’s top ten prospects heading into the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and how they might fit into the needs of the Montreal Canadiens. The following bunch may not all be sure-fire Habs’ picks, but for the idle browser who just can’t wait til late June, here’s a reader’s digest version of more draft-eligible talent that has piqued our interest here at All Habs. (A little window-shopping, if you will!)

Zemgus Girgensons
C, Dubuque (USHL)
6’1”, 201 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: 11
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 12 (North America)

The future prospect of the University of Vermont has the all-around smarts and competitive style to become the first Latvian selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. Sometimes lacks the capacity to make well thought-out plays, but his all-around game, faceoff abilities and hands makes him an attractive pick.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★1/2
Just outside the top ten, so barring a trade or a miracle, don’t count on getting him, but it’s nice to think about.
Need a visual? Click here.

Martin Frk
RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
5’11”, 204 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: 24
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 25 (NA)

A fan-favourite among All Habs writers, draft-followers likely won’t need to buy a vowel when it comes to this Czech. Despite having missed the first half of the season with a concussion, Frk is putting up decent numbers in his return, with nine goals and seven assists in 21 games thus far. Plays with physicality and skill; his hybrid of strength and agility permits him to come away with the puck even in otherwise tricky situations.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★1/2
He’s in the grey area where projected first-rounders might become the steals of the second round. While unlikely, it is worth noting that having missed so much action this season could hurt. The important months are fast-approaching.
Need a visual? Click here.

Malcolm Subban
G, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
6’1”, 188 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: 22
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 1 (NA-Goaltenders)

PK’s not-so-little brother, once the 218th overall pick in the OHL Draft, is the top-ranked North American goaltender heading into the draft, and not without reason. He leads all CHL netminders with a 2.06 GAA and .935 save-percentage. He has won 16 of 23 outings this season, despite having missed a combined ten weeks with ankle and groin injuries. Is fast, and accurate in how he reads plays but aforementioned injuries and battles with consistency have sparked concerns.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★
Those dreaming of a Subban-trifecta in Montreal may have to hold off on those plans, realistically-speaking, given his ranking and how attractive the best goaltender in Canada would appear for a team in need of goaltending depth. Again, though, just think of the triple-low fives coming from that dream selection.
Need a visual?

Teuvo Teravainen
LW, Jokerit (FIN)
5’11”, 165 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: 28
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 7 (European)

Teravainen is a riser, mostly due to his demonstrated ability to compete in the Finnish Elite League despite his young age. One of the youngest in his draft class, Teravainen has speed and creative hands. The 165 lb-winger has much work to do on his size, but has performed well in recent events, including the U-19 Five Nations Tournament. He also had a strong showing at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this past August.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★
If the kid is able to put on a few pounds, we can worry about him less. Maybe.
Need a visual? Click here.

Stefan Matteau
C/W, USA U-18 (USHL)
6’1”, 210 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: 25
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 13 (NA)

The son of former NHL-er Stephane Matteau has declared his intention to bring his talents a little closer to home next season.  He is slated to play for his father’s team, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, where the expectations—and comparisons—are likely to heighten. Stefan is a competitor who plays the gritty style, who lacks a little in the way of consistency and puck-skills but makes up for it by his determination.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★
His physicality might be a tad over-bearing, as he has had multiple suspensions in the USHL this season. If he’s able to discipline himself, he may be an interesting player to look at.
Need a visual? Click here.

Tomáš Hertl
C, Slavia Praha (CZE)
6’2”, 198 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: 23
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 3 (Euro)

Hertl was an unexpected star in this year’s World Junior Hockey Championships, where he co-led the Czechs in scoring despite being one of the youngest members of the team (only Radek Faksa was younger than he is, and he had only two goals in the tournament). Hertl’s skating has been put into question but his instinctual prowess and playmaking skills speak for themselves.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★1/2
Size, skill, potential, the fact that he’s Czech (what? Who said that?), what else?
Need a visual? Click here.

Michael Matheson

D, Dubuque (USHL)
6’1”, 180 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: 37
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 29 (NA)

The native of Pointe-Claire was a question-mark surrounding the QMJHL Entry Draft last season, but despite being selected by the Memorial Cup-hosting Shawinigan Cataractes he eventually committed to play in the States. The smooth-skating Matheson has put up four goals and 14 points in 34 games this season, contributing a smart game with good offensive instincts along the way. His rights now belong to Moncton, but he is committed to the program of Boston College for next season.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★
Matheson’s leadership abilities have been demonstrated early-on in Midget AAA, as well as internationally with Team Canada. It will be interesting to find out what path he chooses next to further his development.

Charles Hudon
LW, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
5’8”, 165 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: —
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 96 (NA)

His CSS ranking perhaps might not tell the real story, considering the fact that last season as a sixteen-year-old, Hudon was second in scoring for the Sagueneens,  as well as the reason that a handful of Chicoutimi forwards had breakout years.  He has 58 points in 47 games this season, just two points shy of last year’s total over 63 games. What he lacks in size he makes up for in speed and playmaking ability.

Hab-Friendly: ★★3/4
While he does fit the criteria for the Habs’ current set of forwards, he is more likely to make another team very happy.
Need a visual? Click here.

Branden Troock
RW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
6’2”, 174 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: —
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 90 (NA)

Troock’s name has come up a lot in recent weeks, mostly due to his showing at the Top Propsects Game where he scored the first goal for Team Orr and added the game-winner with 24.5 seconds remaining in regulation in a low-scoring affair that ended up a 2-1 final. He is another player with injury concerns, as two full seasons were lost due to a serious neck injury originally thought to be a concussion due to the migraines he was getting. It was determined to be a nerve from his neck and was treated with acupuncture, and he’s kept on troocking ever since. Troock is able to handle much bigger defensemen by beating them wide, an attribute not always found in someone his size.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★1/4
We have here another riser, who may not stay at rank #90 for long. Anyone that’s able to nab him before or after the third round should probably celebrate.
Need a visual? Click here (and try not to laugh at their pun).

Dillon Fournier
D, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
6’2”, 180 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: —
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 138 (NA)

Fournier was among the top rookies last season in the QMJHL, and was even featured in a few scoring categories despite being a defenseman. The two-way rearguard is regarded as a sleeper pick in this year’s draft, which is fueled by the fact that Rouyn-Noranda is far from the league’s best team this season.  They picked him first overall in the dispersal draft that resulted from the folding of the Lewiston MAINEiacs franchise for his quickness, skating prowess and willingness to join the rush.  Needs to add a bit of size and aggressiveness to round out his game.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★1/4
While his team may not feature in any headlines from here to the rest of the season, if Fournier finishes the season well he is worth an added hard look in any category.
Need a visual? Click here.

François Brassard
G, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
6’1”, 154 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: —
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 16 (NA-Goaltenders)

Brassard was cut twice from Gatineau’s Midget AAA squad, the Intrepide (and twice in Bantam AA, and even once in Bantam BB!) before going on to a dream run with the Lac St-Louis Lions (who grabbed him off waivers!) and most recently unseeding Phoenix Coyotes’ prospect Louis Domingue from the starting goaltender position in Quebec. Head coach Patrick Roy likes his cool, calm and collectiveness and confidence in his abilities.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★
The way he has climbed up the ranks after being dogged so many times makes him a bit of wild card, and it will be interesting to find out what kind of post-season the Remparts will have—especially his role in it.

Andrej Makarov
G, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
6’1”, 180 lbs.
McKenzie’s Rank: —
Central Scouting Mid-Season Rank: 8 (NA-Goaltenders)

Speaking of feel-good stories involving goaltenders, Makarov played for the now-folded-and-dispersed Lewiston MAINEiacs last season and went un-claimed in the dispersal draft. He has now moved on to the WHL where he has a 2.92 GAA and a .913 save-percentage this season. He was also a bright spot for silver-medal winning Team Russia at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Hab-Friendly: ★★★
His no-quit attitude makes him someone to root for, even if his lack of goaltending style may throw some potential teams off (unless they’ve had a look at Tim Thomas lately).

Need a visual? Click here.



  1. Girgensons may be in Habs range, if Habs have a super March and move up standings a bit, he is a nice big centre.
    Fournier impressed me at prospects game, especially given his ranking, but Habs need forwards and in 2nd round where he is, there will likely be some good ones like Troock, Colten Sissons, Frk/Hertl, Matteau,etc, and no need to pick a d-man and no need with a goalie (they seem to be available through trade if need be).
    Just hope Gauthier is able to acquire a couple more picks in the 30-90 range

  2. […] 4. Who should Montreal draft in the first round? (By the way, follow Robert Rice on Twitter for all prospect news. Great guy, great opinions, very informative.) The top names this year include Nail Yakupov, Mathew Dumba, Mikhail Grigorenko, Filip Forsberg and Alex Galchenyuk. Check out czechtacular’s overview of the prospects here and here. […]


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