Nicolas Deschamps?

He’s a 6-foot, 173-pound centre from Delson on Montreal’s south shore (not far from Guillaume Latendresse’s hometown of Ste. Catherine). He plays for the Chicoutimi Saguéneens (part owner: Guy Carbonneau) and scored 24 goals, adding 43 assists this season.

TSN rates Nicolas Deschamps the 25th best prospect available for Friday’s draft.

The Canadiens have the 25th pick.



Here’s the TSN assessment:



Pos: Centre
Shoots: L
Height: 6’0
Weight: 173 lbs.
Born: 06/01/1990
From: Delson, QC
Team: Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
TSN: 25
ISS: 25
RLR: 17
McK: 18
THN: 35
Comparable: Patrice Bergeron

From TSN: The Chicoutimi centre plays a strong
pro-like game, consistent and responsible in his approach. While he
didn’t post huge offensive numbers, he’s regarded as a solid offensive
prospect and he did lead all QMJHL rookies in scoring. He’s diligent
without the puck and only needs to get physically stronger to excel in
that role. The book on Deschamps is that he’s a relatively late bloomer
who could be a first-round steal.

From NHL Central Scouting: He is a very good skater
who thinks the game well and has soft hands. He works hard and the up
side to his skills makes us think he is going to be a pretty good
all-round player. He was one of those players that kept improving to
surprise a lot of people because the expectations for him were low at
the beginning of the season.



McKeen’s Draft Guide rates Deschamps 18th:

There are better skaters, prospects with softer hands, players with 30 more pounds and a couple of inches in height, but there are few players, if any, with more character in this draft.

If a team on draft day is looking for a surefire NHLer with over-the-top determination and smarts, it would be well served to seek the services of Deschamps.

"He’s the type of player who will help you win a championship," says one scout who has him solidly planted in the Top 20. "This kid is all heart and grit. He’ll do whatever it takes to win."

Most scouts concede that his skating needs some work, but don’t se it as a negative.

"He just needs to get stronger," says a scout. "He certainly has no problem moving his feet; they never stop from the start of a shift to the end."

This was Deschamps’ first year of major junior hockey, and the improvement from the start of the season until the end was discernible to all who followed his progression.

"He’s got a good frame," notes a scout. "He’ll carry 30 more pounds easily, and when he does, look out. He’s already excellent down low cycling the puck, and he’s a solid playmaker. He wins lots of puck battles, and he’s not afraid to stand in front of the net."

The Hockey News Draft Preview rates Deschamps 35th and recalls he was an undrafted Midget player because he was 5-9 and weighed 145.

Some scouts told THN that Deschamps takes nights off.

"He’ll be good for a week, then he’ll tail off," one scout said. "He has good size and pretty good skill and when he competes, he competes hard. He’s an intriguing player."

Another scout isn’t as effusive.

"To me, he’s a vanilla ice cream player. He’s not fast, but he’s not slow. He’s not a bad offensive player, but he’s not terribly creative, either."

The Hockey News labels Deschamps a "Project forward."

The Journal du Montréal rates Deschamps the 21st prospect on the board and the best Quebec player available.

"He’s smart, always well positioned, he works hard at both ends of the ice and goes to the net," a scout told the Journal, noting Deschamps’ strong performance at the Under-18 tournament.

"He has offensive talent, good hands and a good head," another scout said. "He was used in a lot of critical situations, which is rare for a 17-year-old player. But he has to get bulk up. He’s not timid, but he has to be stronger along the boards and in heavy traffic.


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