The Canadiens added size with their first-round pick at the NHL draft in New Jersey, selecting 6-foot-5, 228-pound forward Michael McCarron, who was ranked 35th by Central Scouting among North American skaters.
The Habs also nabbed top-ranked North American goalie prospect Zachary Fucale, who many expected would go in the first round. A Rosemère native who grew up a Canadiens’ fan, the 6-foot-1 Fucale backstopped the Halifax Mooseheads this season as they won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship and Memorial Cup.
The Canadiens chose Fucale 36th overall. You can listen to what the 18-year-old goaltender said to reporters here.
Mooseheads’ coach Dominique Ducharme described Fucale earlier this month as a “super kid” with great ability.
“He’s really intelligent, calm, confident,” Ducharme told The Gazette.
“He’s another one that really enjoys being on the ice. He’s working hard. And he’s got great ability. He’s pretty good athletically, but technically also. Put all that together with a great mindset. He knows how to win a game.”
“If there’s one thing that makes him even better, it’s his hockey sense,” Ducharme said. “And sometimes we don’t talk about hockey sense for a goalie that much. But the way he reads the play, the way he sees it coming, that helps him a lot . . . to be in a good position.”
The Habs chose Michigan native McCarron, who is with the U.S. under-18 development team, 25th overall at the draft, which was held at the Prudential Center in Newark. In 59 games this season, McCarron posted 16-21-37 totals and led the U.S. development team with 182 penalty minutes.
“I never thought I was going to go this high,” McCarron told TSN. “Even today I didn’t think I was going to go this high. It’s the biggest surprise to me. I’m so excited.”
“Obviously we like the size, the grit and the character,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said of McCarron on TSN. “Mike has a lot of character and the way he’s been used we know he has hockey sense and he has grit. And it’s something that we need to build moving forward with his size.”
The Canadiens used their 34th overall pick to select 6-foot-2 Swedish centreman Jacob de la Rose. European Central Scouting placed him seventh among European skaters in their final rankings. You can hear what de la Rose had to say here.
The Habs also looked to Europe with their 55th pick overall, selecting Finnish forward Artturi Lehkonen. In the scouting report on NHL.com, Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting, said of the 5-foot-9, 163-pound Lehkonen:”He has very quick feet and smooth hands, plays a solid two-way game, and uses his speed and hockey sense to his advantage. He’s full of surprises in the offensive zone, can score the big goals and accelerates quickly, especially when in possession of the puck. While he’s not very big or strong, he’s still a first-round talent.”
The Canadiens selected Connor Crisp, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward in the Ontario Hockey League, with their 71st overall pick. Crisp scored 22 goals and picked up 14 assists in 63 games this past season with the Erie Otters.
With their 86th overall pick, the Habs chose forward Sven Andrighetto from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Andrighetto put up 98 points this season (31 goals, 67 assists) in 53 games. The team’s next pick was Martin Reway from the Gatineau Olympiques in the fourth-round (116th overall.) Both are 5-foot-9 wingers.
Jérémy Grégoire, a 6-foot, 188-pound centreman with the Baie Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL, was the Habs’ sixth-round pick (176th overall) He was ranked 79th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
The Canadiens went into the draft Sunday with nine picks, six of them in the first three rounds. The Habs traded their seventh-round pick to Florida for the Panthers’ seventh-round pick at next year’s draft.
You can listen to what Bergevin told reporters here:
And you can listen to what Trevor Timmins, the Canadiens’ director of amateur scouting, said to the media here:
(Photo by Bill Kostroun/The Associated Press)