April 9th was originally supposed to be a day that had an impact on the fortunes for the Habs with the Draft Lottery scheduled to take place. While that’s on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trevor Timmins spoke with the media today to talk about the draft and more. Here are some of the key elements from his conference call.
Timmins noted that his staff has access to a large video archive with games available in full or broken down into specific elements that have been put together beforehand. Scouts are reviewing their games and still filing reports and the goal remains to have their draft board put together around the usual time of mid-May even though the actual draft date remains unknown after it was postponed recently.
Another postponement that was announced at the time was the draft combine in Buffalo. That was where teams were able to see fitness testing as well as get updated medicals on each player. Timmins indicated that if the combine isn’t rescheduled and they proceed without one, the NHL will try to provide that information to all teams. At the very least, player interviews can be conducted but obviously not face to face.
In that particular circumstance, that would also stop teams from hosting their own combines which is something the Canadiens have taken advantage of in recent years. They’ve often had a local one to get a closer look at some of the Quebec-born options (as well as possible invites for development camp) but the last two years, they’ve put together an international combine which is rather unique. The Habs have used some of the results from that to draft several players headed by Alexander Romanov and Timmins admitted his disappointment in losing what he felt was a “competitive advantage”.
Speaking of Romanov, Timmins suggested that part of the reason that his minutes weren’t particularly high this season (12:53 during the regular season, 4:56 in the playoffs) was the expectation that the blueliner will be heading to Montreal for next year. Timmins joins GM Marc Bergevin in expressing optimism that Romanov will sign although it’s possible that he may wait to see if NHL regular season games resume this season, allowing him to get out of one of the cheap years of his entry-level deal quickly.
Timmins also made a note about how they feel that they don’t have a defining need to try to fill. While this may seem like basic lip service on the surface, it’s worth noting how much the team has drafted for need as they have predominantly focused on centres and left shot defencemen in the last couple of drafts. It would be nice to see his statement come true with however many of the 14 picks they wind up utilizing; it’s certainly reasonable to think they’ll be trading into future drafts with some of them knowing that they’re likely to get another shot at hosting one in either 2021 or 2022.