Should the Canadiens Trade their First Round Pick?

Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

I find myself asking this question every offseason, could this be the year that Montreal Canadiens trade away their first round pick? In all honesty, I don’t think Montreal will, not because it is a bad thing, but because General Manager Marc Bergevin has so much trust in director of amater scouting Trevor Timmins. I myself am glad that Bergevin trusts Timmins, and why shouldn’t he? After all, Timmins is responsible for first round success stories such as Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, and Ryan McDonagh (curse you Bob Gainey). Even more so for his later round successes, such as Brendan Gallagher, Jaroslav Halak, and Mark Streit. People like to criticize Timmins for draft picks that do not pan out, rather than focus on those that do. In reality, the draft can be a crap shoot.

So why would I bring up the possibility of trading Montreal’s pick if his draft record has been pretty great over the years? Well, the reason I bring it up is that in all of the last few years, Montreal has never been this close to a cup. So, what if this year’s 26th pick could be the piece needed to acquire a real top-six scorer? Keep in mind, it would take more than just the pick to acquire said scorer, but it could happen. We’ll take a quick look at three prospects that Montreal may take when the time comes, and then decide for yourself if the possibility of a top-six forward now is worth giving up a prospect (Thanks to fellow AATH writer Zachery Ellis for guiding me toward these selections).

Photo: Lisa Olaison

Photo: Lisa Olaison

First, we will look at Joel Eriksson Ek, a 6’2″ Swedish centre from Farjestad in the SHL. The centre is ranked 4th by NHL Central Scouting for EU skaters, but could fall to Montreal as stated in the Hockey News official mock draft. For comparison purposes, Future Considerations has him ranked 23rd for the draft whereas Hockeyprospect.com has him as high as 15th. The Karlstad native put up 6 points in 34 games for Farjestad, the most by any player under 18 in the SHL. He also represented Sweden in the Under-18 World Championship where he put up 5 goals, the Ivan Hlinka tournament, as well as the World Under-17’s in 2014. The young Swede could fit well with Montreal, playing a similar style to Tomas Plekanec.

Photo: Sportsnet.ca

Photo: Sportsnet.ca

Second, we will look at Jérémy Roy, a 6’0″ Canadian defenseman out of Sherbrooke. NHL Central Scouting has him at 21st for NA skaters, so he could be in the perfect zone for Montreal’s pick. Future Considerations has him ranked at 13th while Bob McKenzie of TSN has him at 29th. Roy led Sherbrooke’s defense in points with 43, in only 46 games. He is coming off a great year in which he won the Raymond Lagacé award for best defensive rookie. With Nathan Beaulieu graduated to the Montreal Canadiens and the Habs lacking that high offensive talent on the blue line in their prospect pool, taking Roy at 26th if he drops there would not be a bad pick.

Photo: Stephane Lessard

Photo: Stephane Lessard

Finally, a quick look at Anthony Beauvillier. Anthony is a Canadian centre, who is capable of playing the wing, that played with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL. Beauvillier is ranked lower on the draft rankings (31st by Future Considerations and 43rd by Bob McKenzie of TSN), but I believe that some teams may have him pegged higher on their board. This is the kind of player Montreal should target. Beauvillier is coming off a 94-point season with the Cataractes, which included 42 goals. The Sorel-Tracy native is a pure scorer with incredible puck skills and an amazing shot, who could transfer those skills to the professional ranks.

In my opinion as well as P.K. Subban’s, the Montreal Canadiens are in a position to win now. Therefore, if their first round draft pick is what the team needs to acquire an Eberle, a Kessel, or any scorer of that quality, a deal must be made ahead of the 2015-16 season. The Canadiens needs to win while Price, Pacioretty and Subban are in their prime. Losing a later round prospect, who has the potential to become good down the road, could be worth the risk to get the pieces they need to win this upcoming season as well as contend for more in the years that follow.

 

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