Draft week begins with a stroll down memory lane

Just for laughs – and to start a few water-cooler arguments – let’s look back at the Canadiens’ recent first-round draft choices.

For each of the last 10 years, we list the Canadiens pick(s), then a player or players whom they might have chosen, followed by later-round choices that have worked out well.

We’d have gone back farther, but that gets you into the heartbreak of such first-round busts as Éric Chouinard, Jason Ward, Matt Higgins, Terry Ryan, Brad Brown, David Wilkie, Brent Bilodeau and Turner Stevenson.

With the notable exception of Saku Koivu, 21st overall in 1993, the ’90s were a lost decade for first-rounders.

On the other hand, the Canadiens got Andrei Markov with the 162nd pick of the 1998 draft (which also yielded Mike Ribeiro, François Beauchemin and Michael Ryder).

The 1980s began with the team’s last first overall pick. And with Denis Svard available, they took Doug Wickenheiser – kicking off a dreary decade that saw first-round choices wasted on Mark Hunter, Alain Héroux, Alfie Turcotte, José Charbonneau (that’s him, with the poofy hair, in the pic), Mark Pederson, Andrew Cassels, Éric Charron and Lindsay Vallis.

The 21st century has been better for first-round picks … but let’s second-guess them anyway.


2009: Canadiens took Louis Leblanc (18th overall). They could have taken: No obvious second-guesses. Later-round bonus: Mac Bennett (3rd round, 79th overall

2008: No first-round pick. Canadiens took Danny Kristo in the second-round, 56th overall. Again, no obvious One Who Got Away. And Maxim Trunev (5th round, 138 overall) might be a player if they ever get him out of Russia.

2007: Ryan McDonough (12th overall) and Max Pacioretty (22nd) in the first round. Colton Gillies was still on the board when McDonough was picked, and David Perron went four spots after Pacioretty. (Lars Eller went one spot after McDonough). But the Canadiens got P.K. Subban in the second round, 43rd overall (one spot before Aaron Palushaj).

2006: Canadiens took David Fischer 20th overall. Two picks later, the Flyers took Claude Giroux. Later in the first round, Patrik Berglund went to St. Louis and Nick Foligno to Ottawa. Possibe sleeper: Ryan Whte in the third round … but that doesn’t make up for missing out on Giroux.

2005: Carey Price, the Franchise, chosen 5th overall (one pick after Minesota took Benoit Pouliot). Still on the board at that point: Devin Setoguchi, Anze Kopitar, Marc Staal, Tuukka Rask, T.J. Oshie and Andrew Cogliano. Canadiens took Sergei Kostitsyn in the seventh round, and that looked like a steal for a while. Not so much lately.

2004: Kyle Chipchura, 18th overall. Still on the board: Travis Zajac, Andrej Meszaros, Jeff Schultz and Mike Green. But the Canadiens took Mark Streit in the 9th round, 262nd overall.

2003: Do we even want to talk about it? The Canadiens took Andrei Kostitsyn 10th overall. Still available: Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Steve Bernier, Zach Parise, Eric Fehr, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corey Perry. In the second round the Canadiens took Corey Urquhart with Patrice Bergeron, Matt Carle and Shea Weber available. Then they took Maxim Lapierre one spot ahead of David Backes. Heartbreaking … but the Canadiens got Ryan O’Byrne in the third and, with the 271st overall choice, Jaro Halak in the 9th round.

2002: Christopher Higgins in the first round, 14th overall. No obvious first-round overlooks, but Cam Ward lasted till the 25th pick. Canadiens took Tomas Linhart in the second round ahead of Matt Stajan, Jiri Hudler, Johnny Boychuk and Tomas Fleischmann. Later rounds were a wash … but maybe Konstantin Korneev will come over once he’s 35 and washed-up.

2001: Mike Komisarek (seventh) and Alexander Prezhogin (25th) were chosen the first round. Komo went ahead of Tuomo Ruutu, Dan Hamhuis, Ales Hemsky and Colby Armstrong. Perezhogin was picked with Derek Roy still available. But the Canadiens took Tomas Plekanec in the third round (71st overall).

2000: Ron Hainsey (13th) and Marcel “The Other” Hossa (16th) were the first-round picks. Still on the board: Brooks Orpik, Alexander Frolov, Brad Boyes, Steve Ott, Justin Williams and Niklas Kronwall. A wasted draft, but third-round pick Josef Balej was traded for Alex Kovalev.

Scouting is an inexact science. And hindsight is 20-20.

said, this team has come a long way from 1971 – when the first round
yielded Guy Lafleur, Chuck Arnason and Murray Wilson, with Larry
Robinson added in the second round.

Whom will the Canadiens pick
with 27th choice on Friday night?

Let the free advice begin.



  1. TomNickle says:

    The NHL should do that with the awards too.  But not the players.  I think the coaches should vote on everything.  They are the ones who have to gameplan for every player they go up against.  The players certainly have to execute but they seem to care a lot less than coaches.

    See: Haynesworth, Albert

    I hope the Redskins get every penny of that back.

    There are retired players who can’t walk right now getting dirt poor pensions and a guy like that can’t even show up for a freaking mini camp.


  2. Storm Man says:

    Stafford has the tools but with QB’S it is very hard to tell. As for the Pro Bowl yes the fans have a 30 percent say the players and the coaches have 70 percent. Wish the NHL would do that.

  3. Puck Bard says:

    He’s just a really good writer that can make the dryest of subjects seem fascinating. Some tend to prophetize him and make him out to be the next Alvin Toffler… Lol.

  4. Storm Man says:

    I played in the big 12…. I play in Calgary flag football lots of ex CFL guys play and university players it is the largest flag football league in north america. Kind of odd when most people think of Calgary as a town full of cowboys lol.

  5. Max_a_million says:

    In 2010 we want Eller

  6. Chorske says:

    It’s probably better to say that they are indirectly at odds- Gladwell would say, you’d be amazed at how many key decisions you make with your gut, and Ariely would add, and you’d be amazed at how often that gut instinct is irrational, or based on preconceptions you didn’t even know you had. But both books are awesome.

    Puck Bard, that’s good to know. I think some have used that book as a how-to guide, and I don’t think that was Gladwell’s point. BTW, I also loved “Outliers”.

  7. TomNickle says:

    The fans have a 30% share in Pro Bowl selections do they not?

    Several snubs every season at the NFL level when it comes to the Pro Bowl due to fan voting.

    You think Matt Stafford will be a Pro Bowler in a conference that has Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb(although he’ll probably struggle this season), Kevin Kolb and Eli Manning?


  8. Storm Man says:

    Just for kicks like I said the 2005 draft first round in the NFL 9 all-stars and in the 2005 first round in the NHL Crosby and who would you like to add? had to have made a all-star team. Lets not forget the players in the NFL pick who makes the pro bowl not the fans like in hockey? Guess you will add Price to your list that is ok the count is still 9-2.

  9. TomNickle says:

    Good for you man, that’s awesome.  No sarcasm.

    I love football and do still play, though not in full pads or anything.

    Where did you play?  Let me do some guessing……..

    I’m gonna guess 3 schools here.

    I’m assuming you’re Canadian so I’m not going to guess a huge D1 school here.



    Stanford(just for $shits)

  10. Clay4bc says:



    “Peoples will only be truly free when the last king is strangled by the bowels of the last priest” Denis Diderot

  11. ed lopaz says:

    in 2007 we took Mcdonough 12th overall, Eller went 13th.

  12. TomNickle says:

    Actually, funny story.  It’s a bit of a pat on the back but whatever.

    Saw Sam Bradford playing against Texas Tech his red shirt year and told my buddy he’d win two Heismans if he didn’t declare after his junior year and rip off a couple MVP awards in the NFL.

    Funny how an injury screwed me out of that one.  Maybe the Rams can shore up that offensive line.  There defense looks beyond repair.  


  13. Storm Man says:

    I don’t need to ask anything about football Tom I played the sport and played NCAA Div 1…. I think I have the football thing covered. I can sit here and pick off draft years in the NHL number 1 picks who are doing god knows what now. In hockey you can be drafted in rounds and become a allstar in the NFL it does not happen. I think I have made my point on the matter. Tom as for the beer Im more of a gray goose guy and when Im in Montreal this year to see some home games I would be more then happy to talk shop with you.

  14. Max_a_million says:

    That’s why they wanted Eller so bad.  They are looking for players with strong work ethic and heart these days. 

    I think that was what Gainey learned … well actually he knew it, but you have to work with the cards you are dealt and try to make the best hand you can … the blowing up of the team was about adding players with heart.  As much as so many people hate Gomez, he has a giant heart as do Cammy, Gionta, Gill, Mara, and Spacek. 

    I think this is the new Canadiens direction, and I like it.  Not flashy, but I like it.

  15. Puck Bard says:

    As someone who went to school with Malcolm and counts him as a friend, I would have to say that even Gladwell would suggest we have all over-emphasized the importance of Blink and its lessons.

    “arrest this girl, her hitler hairdo, is making me feel ill”

  16. TomNickle says:

    A guy who was drafted the following year out of UCLA by the name of Freddie Mitchell was a player I thought would tear up the NFL.  Unfortunately college hadn’t taught him much and he flamed out pretty quick.

  17. Mc says:

    HI, first post, but I have been lurking for a long time.

    The NHL used to have a draft age of 20.  Guy Lafleur and Bob Gainey who both 20 when drafted in 1971 and 1973 respectively, for example.  The age was lowered to 18 when there was a potential legal challenge in Canada, as you are legally considered an adult at 18 and can sign a contract, so a professional sports league should not be able to hold them back.  I believe the change in age was effective around 1980 but I could be wrong.  (And please, someone correct me if I’m wrong.)



  18. Clay4bc says:

    Funny that 3 of the 4 players you mentioned don’t play for this team, though…asset management is a big part of it too, and what did we get in return for those 3 players? NOTHING, is the answer to that.


    “Peoples will only be truly free when the last king is strangled by the bowels of the last priest” Denis Diderot

  19. puck face says:

    didn’t say it wasn’t.

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