On June 22 in Pittsburgh, the Canadiens will have the third pick in the first round of the NHL draft.
This will be their highest draft position since 1980, when the Canadiens used the first overall pick to select Doug Wickenheiser.
It didn’t turn out well.
Breaking news: Super agent Pat Brisson, whose client list includes Sidney Crosby, has dropped out of consideration for the Canadiens’ vacant general manager position.
Since the first NHL draft in 1963, the Canadiens have had the third pick only once.
In 1968, they selected Jim Pritchard, a 5’9″, 175-lb. defenceman who played his junior hockey in Winnipeg.
He never played a game in the NHL.
Picking third overall in the 2000 draft, the Minnesota Wild selected Marion Gaborik, after the Islanders drafted Rick DiPietro first and Atlanta picked Dany Heatley.
Chicago took Jonathan Toews third overall in 2006, and Colorado snared Matt Duchene third in 2009.
In 1999, Vancouver used the third pick to select Henrik Sedin … after picking twin brother Daniel with Pick 2 … after Atlanta wasted the top pick on Patrik Stefan.
Canadiens fans will recall Ottawa’s pick in the 1994 third spot: Radek Bonk.
In 1991, the Devils got the great Scott Niedermayer at third.
Biggest third-pick bust?
In 2001, Tampa Bay drafted massive Russian Alexander Svitov. He played 186 games with the Lightning and Columbus, scoring 13 goals and spending 229 minutes in the penalty box before going home to play in the KHL. Svitov is the player who caved in Alexei Emelin’s face in a fight.
In the most recent two drafts, Florida had had the number three pick and took Erik Gudbranson in 2010 and Jonathan Huberdeau last June.
On the TSN Draft Lottery Draw show, former Calgary general manager Craig Button predicted the Canadiens would select Mikhail Grigorenko, a 6’3″, 200-lb. centre who plays for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.
His coach in QC is Patrick Roy, whose name keeps popping up in speculation about vacancies in the Canadiens’ front office and behind the bench.
Here at HIO, we’re concerned by reports that Grigorenko may be a bit of a dog, intensity-wise.
HIO’s director of Amateur Scouting and Rumour Development, Otto Yerass, likes Alex Galchenyuk, consensus number one Nail Yakupov’s teammate on the Sarnia Sting.
We also like Filip Forsberg. The Canadiens haven’t had a great Swede since Mats Naslund. Andreas Engqvist doesn’t count.