Canadiens Welcome Seven New Prospects

The 2017 NHL Entry Draft has completed and the Montreal Canadiens selected seven players over the weekend. Four players from the Western Hockey League (WHL), one from NCAA hockey, one from the United States Hockey League (USHL) and one from the Swedish Hockey League.

Below is a brief biography on the newest additions to the Montreal Canadiens organization.

Ryan Poehling (St. Cloud State University – NCAA) [1st Round – 25th Overall]

Photo: Sportsnet.ca

At the 25th overall spot, the Montreal Canadiens selected Ryan Poehling out of St. Cloud State University. The 6’2″, 177lbs centre models his game after Evgeni Malkin and was the youngest player in the NCAA this season. He not only finished high school early, but he dominated high school hockey for Lakeville North High School with 54 points in 25 games a year ago.

During the 2016-17 college hockey season, Poehling recorded 7 goals and 6 assists for 13 points in 35 games.

In international play, Poehling earned a gold and silver medal for his home country this season. He tallied 5 points in 7 games for Team USA at the World Under-18’s and 6 points in 4 games for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

Prior to being a Montreal draft pick, Poehling had a number of personal connections to the organization. His uncle Stan Palmer was a 13th round pick by the Canadiens in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft, and he lists Habs defenceman Shea Weber as the coolest person that he has met.

Josh Brook (Moose Jaw Warriors – WHL) [2nd Round – 56th Overall]

Photo: Getty Images

Josh Brook was chosen by the Canadiens with one of two second round picks. Brook is a 6’1″, 191lbs left-shot defenceman from Roblin, Manitoba.

This season, Brook was a force for the Warriors on both sides of the ice. He held a +17 plus/minus rating and put up eight goals and 32 assists in 69 appearances. He also had a point per game performance in the Western Hockey League (WHL) playoffs with seven points in as many games.

Internationally, Brook had the opportunity to represent Canada at both the U18 World Juniors and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

The blue liner had quite the jump in the NHL’s central scouting rankings. At the midterm rankings he was placed 75th among North American Skaters. By draft day? 49th. It was fair positioning that the Canadiens claimed him at the 56th spot.

Joni Ikonen (Frolunda HC – SHL) [2nd Round – 58th Overall]

Photo: Frolunda HC

Two spots later, the Habs were back up to the microphone and went back to a forward. Joni Ikonen, ranked 17th among European Skaters was the 58th selection. Ikonen stands at 5’11″/177lbs and plays both centre and on the right side.

The Espoo, Finland native spent his 2016-17 campaign with the Swedish powerhouse Frolunda with their top professional team, J20 and J18 squads. On the J20 team where he spent the most time, Ikonen was a point per game player with 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points in 40 games. He was held off the scoresheet in 10 professional league games, but recorded five points in four J18 matches.

Ikonen was an assistant captain on Finland’s World Junior U18 squad. He had a very strong tournament with four goals and four assists in seven games.

The Finn will most likely be returning to Europe next season where he is still on a junior contract in the Frolunda system.

Scott Walford (Victoria Royals – WHL) [3rd Round – 68th Overall]

Photo: Jay Wallace/ISN

The Habs dipped into the Western Hockey League again for their pick, this time looking to the Victoria Royals. Scott Walford is another example of a player that improved between the NHL’s midterm and final scouting rankings that the Habs jumped all over. At the midterm he was ranked 153 among North American Skaters and jumped to #90 by the end.

The 6’2″, 193lbs Coquitlam, BC native is an addition that helps patch the hole of left-shot defenceman in the organization.

From the blue line, Walford tallied six goals and 24 assists in 60 games played this season for Victoria. That is an improvement from his 11 point season last year.

Walford is an interesting pick as many scouting agencies such as ISS Hockey, Future Considerations, and many others typically had him being drafted somewhere between 111th to 165th. It is interesting to see what the 68th overall pick can provide in the years to come.

Cale Fleury (Kootenay Ice – WHL) [3rd Round – 87th Overall]

Photo: Chris Pullen/Cranbrook Photo

Going back to the Western Hockey League, Cale Fleury was the Canadiens’ fifth pick of the weekend. Fleury is a 6’2″, 199lbs defenceman who shoots right. The 1998-born defender was born in Carlyle, Saskatchewan.

After being named assistant captain last year in only his second season, Fleury was the team captain this season for the Kootenay Ice. He’s only the sixth defenceman in franchise history to do so.

In the 2016-17 season, Fleury scored 11 goals and 27 assists in 70 games. This improved his career total to 76 points in 201 WHL games.

Cale is the younger brother of Haydn Fleury. In the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Carolina Hurricanes selected Hayden with the 7th overall pick in the first round.

Fleury told NHL.com that he tries to model his game after Ryan Suter. He is a quick, smooth-skating defenceman with a good shot and can control the play from the blue line.

Something that many have noted is that Cale had a -61 plus/minus rating this season, for a WHL career rating of -109. To be fair, that is far more of a team issue than a Cale Fleury issue. Kootenay has been the worst team in the league for the last two seasons, and the only team to concede more than 300 goals this season. Fleury logs very heavy minutes on a team where he receives little help – inflating his plus/minus rating.

Jarret Tyszka (Seattle Thunderbirds – WHL) [5th Round – 149th Overall]

Photo: Brian Liesse/PNG

With the 149th pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens are proud to select… the #41 ranked North American Skater. Jarret Tyszka is a 6’2″, 188lbs left-shot defenceman. The 18-year old has spent the last two years of his hockey career with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Langley, B.C. native has 31 points in 102 career Western Hockey League games since being drafted 16th overall in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. In 2016-17, Tyszka tallied 6 goals and 19 points in 54 games.

Personally modelling his game after Morgan Reilly, Tyszka is regularly praised for his speed and overall skating ability. With great vision and puck handling, his shot accuracy is typically high in the sense that his shot gets on net.

Tyszka’s dream has always been to play in the National Hockey League, and he looks to do that with the Canadiens.

Cayden Primeau (Lincoln Stars – USHL) [7th Round – 199th Overall]

Photo: USHL Images

Tyszka was supposed to be the Habs’ final pick of the weekend, until general manager Marc Bergevin sent a late draft pick in 2018 to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 7th round selection in this draft.

With Montreal’s last pick of the draft, they went for American goaltender Cayden Primeau – son of former NHL’er Keith Primeau.

Cayden was the 7th ranked North American goaltender and was projected to be a top 100 pick, despite being chosen at #199.

In the United States Hockey League this season, Primeau finished the season with a 14-11-1 record. Splitting time as the Stars’ starting goaltender, Primeau had a 3.16 Goals Against Average and .895 Save Percentage.

Despite listing Pekka Rinne as his childhood hockey idol, Cayden told NHL.com before the draft that Carey Price is the athlete that the 6’2″ goaltender admires most.

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