Habs select Russian forward Scherbak with first-round pick

The Canadiens chose Russian forward Nikita Scherbak from the Saskatoon Blades as their first-round pick in the NHL entry draft.

The 6-foot-1, 172-pound Moscow native led the Blades in scoring this season with 28 goals and 50 assists. He was named the team’s most valuable player and rookie of the year.

Ranked No. 15 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Scherbak was still available when the Canadiens picked at No. 26.

“Obviously we had him higher than we picked him,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told TSN’s James Duthie.

“When he kept sliding, we made the decision to go ahead and make the pick,” Bergevin said.

“It’s someone that we feel has top-skill talent. He’s got a good frame that he can build up on. And with the success  we had with Alex Galchenyuk and (Andrei) Markov, and (Alexei) Emelin, we feel that we have a good group of Russian players that could help.

Dan Marr, the director of Central Scouting, told The Gazette earlier this week that he considered Scherbak “one of the more exciting players in his draft class.”

He’s “ultra quick” with an impeccable sense of timing to be open — “just to get the puck or take the shot. He finds the openings out there,” said Marr, who thought Scherbak would be selected in the Nos. 10-20 range.

“He’s one of the ones who can break away while he’s being checked, he can get the shot off while he’s being checked. He doesn’t seemed to be fazed by anything that you kind of throw in his way as he’s got the puck, going to the net,” Marr said.

“He really took to his teammates. They took to him.”

“This is a kid with NHL skills,” Marr said.

The Canadiens aren’t scheduled to pick again in the draft until No. 87.

The Florida Panthers hung on to their first pick in the draft, which started Friday evening, selecting defenceman Aaron Ekblad from the Barrie Colts.

The 6-foot-3, 213-pound Ekblad led defenceman this season in the Ontario Hockey League with 23 goals.

Ekblad was ranked No. 2 by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters.

“It’s unbelievable,” Ekblad told TSN’s James Duthie at the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia where the first round of the draft is underway.

“I believe that they’re an up-and-coming team,” Ekblad said of why he wanted to be chosen by the Panthers.

“They have one of the best defensive cores in the next couple of years in the NHL and I feel that this is where I can facilitate my development and I can help a team win a Stanley Cup in a few years.”

The Buffalo Sabres picked Sam Reinhart, a 6-foot-1, 186-pound centreman with the Kootenay Ice, with the No. 2 pick.

The Edmonton Oilers followed by selecting Leon Draisaitl, a 6-foot-1, 208-pound centreman from Germany who scored 38 goals and picked up 67 assists in 64 games this season with the Prince Albert Raiders.

The Calgary Flames chose Sam Bennett with the No. 4 pick. The 6-foot, 178-pound centreman with the Kingston Frontenacs was ranked No. 1 by Central Scouting among North American skaters.

The New York Islanders chose Oshawa Generals forward Michael Dal Colle fifth overall.

The Vancouver Canucks chose forward Jake Virtanen from Abbotsford, B.C. with the sixth pick.

The Carolina Hurricanes opted for a defenceman with the No. 7 pick, choosing 6-foot-2, 202 pound Haydn Fleury from the Red Deer Rebels.

The Toronto Maple Leafs used the No. 8 pick to select William Nylander, a 5-foot-9 forward from MODO in the Swedish elite league.

At No. 9, the Winnipeg Jets chose 5-foot-10 Danish forward Nikolaj Ehlers who plays for the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

There was also trade news during the first round. The Pittsburgh Penguins traded James Neal to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

The Anaheim Ducks chose Nick Ritchie, a 6-foot-2, 226-pound forward with the Peterborough Petes, with the 10th pick.

The Nashville Predators selected Kevin Fiala, a 5-foot-9, 178-pound centreman who plays for HV 71 in Sweden’s Under-20 league. Fiala was ranked No. 3 by Central Scouting among European skaters.

With the 12th pick, the newly renamed Arizona Coyotes chose 6-foot-2 forward Brendon Perlini from the Niagara IceDogs.

The Washington Capitals landed Czech centreman Jakub Vrana, who played this past season with Linkoping in the Swedish Hockey League.

Finnish defenceman Julius Honka, who plays for the Swift Current Broncos, went 14th overall to the Dallas Stars.

The Detroit Red Wings chose 6-foot-1, 190-pound centreman Dylan Larkin 15th overall.  A Michigan native, Larkin scored 31 goals with the U.S. under-18 team in 2013-14.

Sonny Milano, a 6-foot forward from Massapequa, N.Y, went 16th overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Philadelphia Flyers selected 6-foot-3, 181-pound defenceman Travis Sanheim from the Calgary Hitmen 17th overall. Sanheim shot up Central Scouting’s rankings of North American skaters from No. 167 on its mid-term list to 53 on its final list. (Others ranked him higher like The Hockey News.)

The Minnesota Wild chose forward Alex Tuch from the U.S. National Team Development Program with the 18th pick.

Offensive defenceman Angela DeAngelo went 19th overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning. DeAngelo finished second in points on the Sarnia Sting this season, posting 15-56-71 totals.

The Chicago Blackhawks moved up to the No. 20th pick (through a trade with the San Jose Sharks involving draft picks) and selected Nick Schmaltz, a 6-foot forward who led the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers in scoring last season.

The St. Louis Blues selected Robby Fabbri, a 5-foot-10 centreman with the Guelph Storm, who was this season’s most valuable player in the OHL playoffs.

With the No. 22 pick, the Pittsburgh Penguins chose Kasperi Kapanen, a 5-foot-11 forward from Finland who was the top ranked European skater by Central Scouting.

Conner Bleackley, a 6-foot centreman and captain of the Red Deer Rebels went 23rd overall to the Colorado Avalanche.

With their second pick in the first round at No. 24, the Canucks selected Jared McCann, a 6-foot centreman with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

The Boston Bruins chose forward David Pastrnak, who played this season for Sodertalje of Sweden’s second division, 25th overall.

The San Jose Sharks selected Sarnia Sting forward Nikolay Goldobin 27th overall. 

With the 28th pick they acquired from the Lightning in a trade of draft picks, the Islanders picked Josh Ho-Sang from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.

The Los Angeles Kings selected Swedish forward Adrian Kempe 29th overall and centreman John Quenneville from the Brandon Wheat Kings went 30th overall to the New Jersey Devils.

The draft continues on Saturday.

You can also follow Postmedia’s live blogging of the draft here.


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Habs take Russian Scherbak, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey


  1. chrskwn says:

    bob murray on the phone with mb

  2. chrskwn says:


  3. Un Canadien errant says:

    Chris’ dream shatters. The Blues nab Robbie Fabbri.

  4. HabCez says:

    Although doubt we will waste our pick going for Hunter Smith..
    but I would to have him if at 3rd round..

    just love his size 6’7 220 RW shoots right

    “Emelin’s the real deal.”
    – HabCez

  5. Forum Dog says:

    I’m really liking this Nikita Scherbak kid. Big, rangy, aggressive playmaker. Hoping he falls a bit further….or MTL trades up….


  6. Kfourn says:

    So who’s left that could potentially be a game breaker?

    “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

  7. The Jackal says:

    Really hope we draft Ho-Sang

    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  8. Un Canadien errant says:

    Ah, Nick Schmaltz goes to the Blackhawks. Glad I don’t have to cheer for a guy in a bleu blanc rouge ‘Schmaltz’ sweater.

  9. johnnylarue says:

    Schmaltz! Now THERE’S an intimidating name…

  10. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Any chance Barbashev can just run to the KHL on us?

  11. slapshot777 says:

    Wow, that was a big statement by Yzerman, ” DeAngelo could be a top 4 defenseman in the NHL ” nothing like putting pressure on the kid.

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  12. Dulljerk says:


    No eternal reward will forgive us for wasting the dawn.

  13. Un Canadien errant says:

    Gahd I can’t stand Gary Bettman. If he was the principal at my school I’d vandalize his car and bully his son.

  14. CH Marshall says:

    LOL “I could announce a trade”

  15. Un Canadien errant says:

    Hello, the Lightning draft Anthony DeAngelo. That means someone else falling to us at #26.

  16. Haberoooo13 says:

    Based on my 100% accurate averaging of the various rankings here’s what is left:
    Kappanen, McCann, Scherbak, Fabbri, Barbashev, Pastrnak, Ho-Sang, Blackley, Kempe are top forwards left
    Dougherty and McKeown on D

    Lafleur coming out rather gingerly…

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Yep. With so many tickets, we can’t possibly lose!

    • PK says:

      Still a lot of choices for the Habs at #26 and we are already done with pick #20

      >>>> Les Canadiens sont là
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

      “Une équipe de hockey sur glace de l’île de Mont-Royal va gagner la Coupe de Lord Stanley à 24 reprises dans le 20e siècle et trois fois au cours du 21e siècle.”

      – Nostradamus, 1552

  17. Un Canadien errant says:

    Whenever I come across a commercial on TSN, I try to switch over to RDS, but they’re running commercials then too. It’s like they planned it that way…

  18. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Just tuned in and saw that there are some good prospects available.
    I may be bias because he is from my home junior team, but man would I love to have Barbashev fall into the Habs lap. I have watched this kid play, he has speed, hands, grit, smarts…he is a tough skater to get the puck from and can put the puck home.

    I can only imagine how good he could be playing with a mature Galchenyuk.

    • johnnylarue says:

      If we land that kid I’m officially changing my avatar to a Barbapapa in a Habs sweater.

      • RiverviewCanadien says:

        What the heck is a Barbapapa?!

        EDIT: is that a good thing, or a “I wish this was a bad dream” thing?

        I really like the kid…tonnes of potential.

        • johnnylarue says:

          Rather classic Belgian (?) cartoon/comic/toy franchise. They’re colourful blobs who can transform into mundane household objects!


          • RiverviewCanadien says:

            I just watched them turn into stairs then a bridge…they are unbelievable!

          • johnnylarue says:

            They’re very malleable creatures.

            Now, if Barbashev can similarly transform himself into a Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky, we’ll be in business…

          • RiverviewCanadien says:

            Of course he is capable. I have watched him get into an unidentified, black car with tinted windows, and enter a tunnel underneath the Coliseum…I am sure he can be whatever the Habs need.

            I am…the Ivan!

  19. Kfourn says:


    “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      We can’t agonize over that one, it was a really long shot we’d have a chance on him.

      • Kfourn says:

        Ya true enough I was just hoping seeing as how he slipped so far.

        “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

  20. jols says:

    Alex Tuch going to the Wild?

    • jols says:

      Damn. Was so hoping he would fall into our lap.

      • habsr4ever says:

        no way Tuch was going to slide all the way to us…..the new nhl is BiG players.
        not surprised trades aren’t being made either…..all talk NO action….typical.
        gibbons needs to be fired….shocked he continues to have faith in his “ace” past the 5th inning…his team just ties up the game and they throw him out there again to start the 7th inning? simply insane….and they have a special catcher for him too who can’t hit the ball? time to trade this guy Dickey as well…C ya! Same old movie – home runs in the 7th inning off of our ACE….simply a joke….
        ok ya I am bitter at gibbons and Dickey.

        back to the draft….habs at least make the right decisions….back to the draft….I want the kid from the blades….Schmaltz would have been nice but again – no way he was dropping to us either.

  21. PK says:

    Fingers crossed.
    There may be a few “good” choices left at #26?

    Correction: Tuch did not fall down to #26!!!
    Being unrealistic, I guess.

    >>>> Les Canadiens sont là
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    “Une équipe de hockey sur glace de l’île de Mont-Royal va gagner la Coupe de Lord Stanley à 24 reprises dans le 20e siècle et trois fois au cours du 21e siècle.”

    – Nostradamus, 1552

  22. Un Canadien errant says:

    Philadelphia messes up again, pick Danny Watkins, again.

  23. Haberoooo13 says:

    Still several very interesting offensive forward options left

    Lafleur coming out rather gingerly…

  24. Commandant says:

    Trade up now… Get Alex Tuch.

    Go Habs Go!


    • Kfourn says:

      I was just asking below what the chances would be that the Habs nab him…I really hope so.

      “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Sorry bud, Minny gets him.

  25. Marc10 says:

    Columbus is an interesting team on the rise. I hate the Hartnell deal down the road for them, but it’s just money. If they’re happy to buy Hartnell out in a couple of years… they’ll be a handful. Lots of character and grit over there.

  26. johnnylarue says:

    “Can I get a Ho-Sang?”

  27. Un Canadien errant says:

    Who’s the Bond villain announcing the pick for the Blue Jackets?

  28. HabCez says:

    Darn Dylan Larkin one of my picks for habs at rank 17th.
    Darn Detroit!

    “Emelin’s the real deal.”
    – HabCez

  29. Un Canadien errant says:

    So far so good, haven’t lost any players we could conceivably covet when our turn comes around. If we play our cards right, we may get three or four players we like at #26. But the Bruins will probably object, insist we only take one…

  30. Captain aHab says:

    Man they need to slow down…having a hard time keeping up with the picks.

    Prepare to be boarded!!

  31. SC-1993 says:

    all I want is a winning team come April 2015

  32. Captain aHab says:

    A Honka Honka burning love.

    Prepare to be boarded!!

  33. habs_54321 says:

    am i the only one who thinks anaheim robbed vancouver in that kesler trade? very underwheling return for vancouver.

  34. Captain aHab says:

    why do they keep showing the same tweets over and over again?

    Prepare to be boarded!!

  35. Un Canadien errant says:

    Why do talking heads, who are paid for their public speaking, so often mess up the word ‘boisterous’. They’re not completely sure what the word is exactly, they kind of confuse it with vociferous, so it kind of comes out as “bvoister-ous”.

    If you don’t know the word, don’t use it. Say loud, or animated, or another word that means what you think it means.

    And stop saying “mischeevee-ous”. It’s mischievous. “Miss tchivas”, if you must.

  36. thehabsfan29 says:

    With Spaling & Hornqvist being acquired I think Brandon Sutter could be available

    Would love to see MB try and grab him

  37. Mike D says:

    Hornqvist makes 4.25mil and Spaling is an RFA who made 1.5mil last year and will get a reasonable raise. Neal makes 5mil for the next few years.

    I get it’s two players for one, but not sure how it really helps their cap situation. They could have kept Neal and acquired a 2mil forward for their 3rd line for a lot less (or gone the UFA route and give up nothing at all).

    Neal wasn’t as good with the Pens as most thought he would be, but a guy you can reasonably expect to score 25-30 goals who’s is only 26 years old, has size, and is signed to a very reasonable contract is not something you trade for spare parts.

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

  38. JohnBellyful says:

    What was I thinking? I set my alarm for Canadiens’ pick at 8:20.

  39. Un Canadien errant says:

    The Ducks spend the #10 they got from Ottawa in the Bobby Ryan trade on Nick Ritchie, another thumper to compete against the Kings and the Sharks.

  40. Un Canadien errant says:

    The Jets get Nikolaj Ehlers, lots of talent, but a few questions too, about his size, and whether his production is attributable to his playing on a line with Jonathan Drouin.

  41. Kfourn says:

    So what are the chances that Alex Tuch will slip to the Habs?

    “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

  42. CJ says:

    I’m going to walk this steak off. I don’t imagine I’ll miss anything.

  43. HardHabits says:

    Nice pick for Kings.

  44. CJ says:

    I’m glad Ritchie went out west. If he pulls it together, he will be a difference maker.

  45. Un Canadien errant says:

    Trade between the Preds and the Pens announced on Twitter:

    BREAKING NEWS: James Neal traded to the @PredsNHL for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

    Can’t believe the Penguins couldn’t win more than one Stanley Cup with a core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, and Kris Letang. Breaking it up already.

  46. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Malkin for Pacioretty?

    Just thrrrrowin it out there!!!!!

  47. thehabsfan29 says:

    Cant believe Neal went for So little! Hornqvist is solid and will help as a top 6 forward for the pens & Spaling will help the 3rd line but no major prospects or picks involved is a head scratcher!

    MB could have for sure came up with a better deal then that!

    Neal would have been a great fit on the habs

  48. on2ndthought says:

    man, capgeek is fast, they already made the trade. I don’t see how this helps pitts cap space much

    “a cannonading drive”

  49. Marc10 says:

    So Miki Ribs bought out for being the train wreck he was always going to become. Nice career before it happened though.

  50. Mike D says:

    Neal for Hornqvist and Spaling? Dafuq?
    Pretty sure we could have come up with a better package than that without giving up any of our real keepers.

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

    • CJ says:

      The effects of a $69 million dollar cap. Add in Jim Rutherford and an elite player who is prone to suspensions and poor decisions and viola!

    • Marc10 says:

      Pens wouldn’t want to help a Conference Rival out. If you’re going to give someone away, better do it out of the backyard. That is a ridiculous deal though. Just awful, but the Pens are hamstrung by the salary cap.

      I’d now like to take a moment to say a big howdy dooo from Marc Bergevin to Stan Bowman. How’re ya doin’ buddy? How’s the Kane and Toews double contract going…?

  51. UKRAINIANhab says:

    James Neal traded for squat….

  52. twilighthours says:

    Not a good deal for the Pens.

  53. Un Canadien errant says:

    The Leafs take some nobody named William Nylander, who I never liked anyway. And I’m sure I’ll learn more than I ever care to about this stiff due to the ministrations of Mark Masters. Stupid Leafs.

  54. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Bad pick for the lafss. Apparently he never passes… Not good!

    I like ittttt!

  55. CJ says:

    James Neal to Nashville….

  56. jols says:

    Laffs surprised me, good pick. Damn.

  57. slapshot777 says:

    Not a good pick in my opinion for the Laffs.

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  58. Un Canadien errant says:

    I fear what the Canucks will do with their #24 pick. They’ll be in the market for pretty much exactly what we’re looking for. Like last year when they took Jordan Subban one pick before we were up in the fourth round, they’re going to cook-block us.

    • Marc10 says:

      Not too worried about the Nucks. They are hopeless. See Kesler trade. This is a floundering franchise about to enter the wilderness for years to come.

  59. Un Canadien errant says:

    Michael Dal Colle, you drew the short straw and are headed to Charles Wang’s madhouse. Pray that he sells to someone else, soon.

  60. Marc10 says:

    Laffs picking… Ah who cares! Poor kid. My heart goes out to the family.

  61. jols says:

    The Laffs will be all over Ritchie.

  62. habfan01 says:

    Some nice looking mothers out there

  63. Un Canadien errant says:

    Jake Virtanen goes to the Canucks at #6, Abbottsford kid with size, lots and lots of speed, scoring touch. He’s been on my radar since he was listed as a possible pick for the Canadiens in mock drafts early in the season.

  64. Captain aHab says:

    We’d like to thank Philadelphia for being the putrid cesspool that it is and making all of our cities look so good.

    Prepare to be boarded!!

  65. Habitant in Surrey says:

    All I want for Christmas is a honking 260 lb, 6′-8″ centre that skates like Kreider and scores like Stamkos.

    Is that asking for too much ?

    Protest Rogers blackout of Habs games…sign at:


  66. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Imagine being at the draft…

    Am I the only one thats half asleep already, I would be if Pierre would not shut up!

    Wake me up when the Habs pick fellassss!

  67. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Hate, loathe, spittle, on da Weeds is a sport unto itself, …but One must envy the incredible talent that comes out of the GTA-area now-a-dayz


    For all HIO members: this is Scott Moore’s Twitter account link; https://twitter.com/MooreScottmoore

    Scott Moore is President of Sportsnet and NHL Hockey for Rogers.

    Any of You with a Twitter account, give him Your opinion of the Roger’s television access for Our Montreal Canadiens

    While You’re at it, provide him the link to Our petition page so he can sign it 🙂

    “Protest Rogers blackout of Habs game…sign at:


  68. Un Canadien errant says:

    A blast from the past:

    Kid, you’ve been drafted by the Islanders. Now smile.

    One thing I’m wondering about, but am too lazy to actually research, is what a draftee says to the local press after being drafted by the New York Islanders or the Columbus Blue Jackets. In Montréal, we keep hearing the same things, how excited they are to be part of such a prestigious organization. We know these kids are trained to deal with the media and their responses are rehearsed, but what about if they’re Long Island bound? What’s the script then?

    With the Canadiens or the Leafs, you have an easy job talking about the history and rabid fan base. The Wings and Devils you mention the strong organization, the Rangers you talk about the Big Apple and Mark Messier, the Kings is easy with the beaches and Hollywood and a Stanley Cup to boot. Southern cities have climate and young fan bases to conquer, Nashville has a special character you can refer to, and the unspoken aspiration to also bed Carrie Underwood eventually, which confers a genuine smile to the starry-eyed prospect. In like fashion, the western Canadian teams have unpluggable gushers of puck bunnies, which you can refer to as the ‘awesome fans’.

    So what about the Islanders?

    “I really excite about grrreat trrradishin of Mike Bossy a decade before I vaz borned.”

    “I’m really stoked about the facilities. The Canadiens’ already have a decade of use or more, the Islanders’ will be brand spanking new when they get around to starting construction, in five or ten years or so, and we can then move out of the rusting shit pile that is Nassau Coliseum!” (High-fives Larry Brooks)

    “Onstage I got to to shake hands with eccentric nutjob owner Charles Wang. I can’t wait to meet lifelong Islanders like Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro. Maybe some day I can be a goodwill ambassador like Pat Lafontaine for a few months before I get kicked out the back door too.”

    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige


  69. Un Canadien errant says:

    Oilers nab Leon Draisaitl, Flames Sam Bennett, so the Top 4 is as expected.

  70. Marc10 says:

    Brian Burke with ‘X-Men Magneto Helmet Hair’. Love your work TSN radio!

  71. habcertain says:

    You got to think EDM is open to trading young forwards for some young D Men, who got some of those, appears we are not using them!

  72. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    Edmonton takes a dry saddle? I guess they’ve drafted enough wet ones.

  73. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Arron Ekblad would have been nice …O well 🙂

    “Protest Rogers blackout of Habs game…sign at:


  74. slapshot777 says:

    That was a short thread.

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  75. habcertain says:

    Go Habs go

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