For the first time since 2011, the Habs selected a defenceman in the first round of the draft on Friday night. With the 26th overall pick, Montreal picked Noah Juulsen from the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Juulsen was a teammate of the Canadiens’ first rounder last year, Nikita Scherbak.
DOB: April 2, 1997 – Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Height: 6′ 1.75"
Weight: 174 lbs
(Height/Weight are from the NHL Combine.)
CSB: 22 (North American Skaters)
Hockey Prospect: 22
Future Considerations: 32
Hockey News: 33
DraftBuzz Hockey: Laid out in front of everyone is a kid who has a great muscle attracting frame, ample puck skills, more than ample desire to press offensively, and a willingness to hit you can’t teach. Juulsen offers a rare to find package of competitiveness and skill with size that is nowhere near maturity.
Future Considerations: You can tell he will have the potential to be an absolutely devastating hitter once he adds another few pounds to his frame. Along with that physical play away from the puck, he shows solid gap control and good reads against the rush. He is strong in his stick positioning, taking away passing lanes and interrupting shots when necessary.
FC Scout Cody Nickolet: For me he projects as an above-average middle-pairing blueliner at the NHL level and a guy who will be able to play in any situation while being a threat to score as many as 15 goals due to his high-end slapshot.
Hockey News: One scout compared him to Kevin Bieksa and Rhett Warrener, two defensemen whose hearts and fights are bigger than their stature. Juulsen plays the point on the power play in Everett and has done well in that role but some scouts wonder whether that will translate to the NHL level.
Hockey Prospect: Defensively in one on one situations he is calm and effective. All while displaying a willingness to play physical when the opportunity presents itself. In his own end, Juulsen throws big hits all over the ice despite looking rather lanky—physical and equipped with a long reach. He’s a difficult player to beat along the boards.
Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Red Line believes he’s the most underrated prospect in the WHL.
McKeens: …Heady player with strong on-ice communication skills, showing vocal leadership .. plays with a wide frame of view, vision roams with strong awareness of surrounding plays .. doesn’t allow easy net front plays, but needs to be more physical when battling screeners.
TSN: He has a good feel for situations and makes solid plays. Not spectacular in any sense of the word but has that ‘can do, will do’ approach to winning.
Marc Bergevin noted shortly after the pick that Juulsen has two more years of junior before he’ll turn pro. He’ll need some time in the AHL after that not only to continue to bulk up but adapt to the pro game. There are players who can make the jump quickly but he’s likely to be a player who will need a good couple of years on the farm before he’s ready to make an impact with the Canadiens.
As things stand, it will be a while before Trevor Timmins makes his next selection on Saturday as the Habs don’t pick next until the 87th selection.