They can still be overtaken by Edmonton and bumped down to 29th, which would enhance the Canadiens’ chances of winning the draft lottery Tuesday night.
As things stand – and as best I can interpret the lottery system – the Canadiens will draft no later than the four hole in the opening round.
This may bump them out of the running for Nail Yakupov or Mikhail Grigorenko. But a solid centre prospect should be available when someone steps up to the podium in Pittsburgh on June 22 to announce the Canadiens’ pick.
Alex Galchenyuk of the Sarnia Sting? He’s 6’2″ , weighs 185 and will fill out his frame. Galchenyuk tore up his knee and missed almost all of Sarnia’s season, but some scouts see him as another Marion Hossa.
How about Radek Faksa, a Czech kid playing for the Kitchener Rangers. Also 6’2″ and highly regarded.
The Canadiens haven’t had a Swedish star since Mats Naslund. They might consider Filip Forsberg, who has been honing his first-round talent in the Swedish Elite league.
Is this too much draft geekery for y’all?
Would you rather I write about monotonous and poorly-played game that transpired in a Carolina arena that was quieter than a Crescent St. bar?
A lower Crescent St. bar.
OK, here are your highlights:
• Frédéric St. Denis blocked more shots than Josh Gorges. The late-blooming defenceman, a rookie at the age of 26, is exhibiting Gorges-like smarts and has played himself into at least the team’s preliminary plans for 2012-’13.
• P.K. Subban played only 20:15 because he took three penalties. P.K. leads the league with 46 minors – three more than Scott Hartnell, who makes players remember the fouls he commits on them. P.K.’s time in the box is a consequence of indiscipline. It’s something P.K. has to work on, and if you’ve followed the evolution of his game this season, there’s no doubt he’ll improve.
• The power play was 0-for-7. The Canadiens are 28th in the league – matching their standing – with an efficiency of 14.4 per cent. Puck movement has improved since Andrei Markov returned, but there’s too much perimeter play and not enough finish on the PP.
• David Desharnais is on fire in the faceoff circle: 26-12 over his last two games.
• Tomas Plekanec leads the known universe in shorthanded breakaways.
• Blake Geoffrion scored for the first time since the March 10 game in Vancouver. Nice goal, too: a wraparound that beat Cam ward, who was spectacular and made 30 saves. The kid is hardly the reincarnation of his grandfather or great-grandfather, but it’s nice to see Geoffrion getting some ice time before the curtain falls.
• In Aaron Palushaj, Brad Staubitz and the indefatigable Gabriel Dumont, the Canadiens may have discovered a fourth line that plays like an effective fourth line, i.e. unpleasant and annoying for the guys in the other jerseys.
That’s about all I noticed, apart from aborted breakaways and odd man rushes, passes into skates and general sloppiness and inattention to detail.
But the Canadiens showed up in the second game of a back-to-back. They tried to win.
The Canadiens played with honour, and that must have generated good karma because results elsewhere in the league ensured they’ll have the chance to draft a promising kid.
The Canadiens last Top 5 pick was Carey Price in 2005.
Before that, Petr Svoboda – like Price, a fifth overall – in 1984.
Over to you, Trevor Timmins … and whoever your boss turns out to be.
• • •
Brooks Orpik, who nearly ended Erik Cole’s career, did a nasty on Derek Stepan Thursday night.
Here’s the hit and John Tortorella’s postgame reaction: