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:
25. NICOLAS DESCHAMPS
Weight: 173 lbs.
From: Delson, QC
Team: Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
CSB: 21 NAS
|Comparable: Patrice Bergeron
From TSN: The Chicoutimi centre plays a strong
From NHL Central Scouting: He is a very good skater
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.