The Habs were busy on the second day of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, making seven more selections as well as three trades. As always, here are the details, stats, and scouting reports for each one.
47th Overall – Luke Tuch, LW, US U-18 (USHL)
With their first pick of the day, the Habs continued their recent trend of looking for size with the selection of the Boston University commit. Tuch is the younger brother of Vegas winger Alex.
DOB: March 7, 2002 – Baldwinsville, New York
Weight: 203 lbs
Hockey Prospect: One of the more interesting things to track in his future development years is if he ever comes around to being a more consistent worker and hitter. We see slight flashes of both here and there, but we’re always left wondering when that all gets embraced. The skill and the hockey sense alone are just not good enough for him to play this low-pulse style of game. His defensive acumen seemed to slide as the year went on. It was done less honestly, if nothing else. He would drift out of his zone and unproductively coagulate around his linemates too often in situations where the puck was in his own end for more than eight or ten seconds. Again, his mental game seems to have pulled the carpet out from under him on this one.
Recrutes: His stat totals were disappointing considering that he often got to play with the USNTDP’s top-scoring forward in Thomas Bordeleau. Scouts have mentioned that if you combined his brother Alex’s skill with Luke’s work ethic you’d have a top-15 pick.
Future Considerations: Tuch is a power forward who has a good set of offensive tools and while none of his skating, shot or puck control skills are high-end, they’re all above average and allow him to affect the play in different ways. He relies on his speed and willingness to engage physically in his hunt for the puck in the offensive zone. His playmaking is quite solid, and he works the puck around the zone in the cycle, getting himself into the middle of the ice as he works off the boards.
The Draft Analyst: Luke is a hard-charging power winger who uses his speed and puck control to frequently attack the inside, even against top-rated defenders with the fleetest of feet. Tuch is a hunter on the prowl in the neutral zone; one who looks for telegraphed passes to pick off or an unassuming puck carrier to nail into the boards. It’s nearly impossible to not notice Tuch on a given shift, and his physicality, quick stick and strong puck protection are critical to the success of the NTDP’s top line with center Thomas Bordeleau and Landon Slaggert.
McKeens: A heavy player who plays a heavy game, Tuch’s style is very similar to that of his older brother Alex, who also came up through the USNTDP program. Luke doesn’t quite have his brother’s hands, but they are soft enough for him to be a viable weapon around the crease. To his credit, the younger Tuch manages to play a heavy game without spending much time in the penalty box as he is physical without being dirty.
Draft Prospects Hockey: Excellent at finding a shooting lane and using a quick release to generate scoring chances. A good passer. Physical winger delivers huge body checks on the fore-check. Can suffer with tunnel vision at times. Needs to consistently contribute more in the defensive zone. Will need to improve his foot speed and explosiveness to succeed at the next level. Has middle six power winger upside at the NHL level.
Riding Pine: A very well-rounded and complete two-way winger, Tuch
has few holes in his game as he’s able to play a complete 200-foot game, but lacks the true elite offensive package to be considered a long term top six forward option.
LWOS: Tuch uses his size and strength to establish his position in front of the net or to win board battles. He also is an effective forechecker and will use his body to get the puck. Tuch plays a more physical game than his brother and is a threat to hammer a defenceman if they take to long to move the puck. He is also good at controlling the puck in the cycle game and at driving the net when an opening appears. If an opening doesn’t appear, he drives the net bowling right over the man defending him.
Future Considerations: 56
Central Scouting: 40 (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie: 43
Craig Button: 58
Hockey Prospect: 101
Draft Prospects Hockey: 71
The Draft Analyst: 54
48th Overall – Jan Mysak, C, Hamilton (OHL)
Mysak started the season in the Czech Republic but came to North America midseason and fit in well with the Bulldogs. Ranked by several as a first-round pick, that lack of exposure likely played a role in his drop.
DOB: June 24, 2002 – Litvinov, Czech Republic
Weight: 175 lbs
Hockey Prospect: We project Jan Mysak as a winger. His skill level ranges from good to excellent on several play types that don’t involve his playmaking, and he certainly has the speed and pace to generate points off the rush. Additionally, we’ve seen him used in the middle on a 1-3-1 powerplay formation both on Litvinov and Hamilton, which makes sense given his shooting instincts, so he can translate there as well. We would like to see him learn how to physically initiate contact correctly more often, so that he can have more versatility. When evaluating why we would draft him, it has to do with his speed, his skill, and attacking mentality. For these reasons, we view Mysak as having middle-6 potential who is most likely going to contribute as a third line energy winger.
OHL Prospects: Mysak is definitely a multi-faceted goal scorer. He finds those soft spots in the slot with relative ease and is quick to gather and shoot. He also has a big slapshot and one timer, which he uses when running the point or half wall on the powerplay. As a defensive player, Mysak is excellent in coverage, applying pressure to the point and along the wall. He forces a lot of turnovers with his anticipation and quick stick. IMO, this is a kid who deserves consideration for the top 30 because I see a high upside because his puck skill, creativity, and finishing skills are all top notch. But also a higher floor of a goal scoring third line winger who can contribute in a variety of situations.
Recrutes: He’ll get a bunch of assists next season just from linemates burying rebounds off of his chances. Will he get those same chances in the NHL? Maybe not as frequently, but the kid is opportunistic. You just won’t see a lot of setups from him. It’s often shoot, or lose the puck. (Scout quote)
LWOS: Mysak has many of the tools necessary to be an effective top-six forward at the NHL level. With some areas of his skating needing improvement, he projects as more of a winger going forward. However, if he is able to improve his first few steps and his agility, he could be even more valuable as a 200-foot centre. He could grow to be effective at both ends of the ice.
The Draft Analyst: Much like Lucas Raymond, Mysak entered his draft year with a ton of hype but saw his stock slip a bit as the progressed. It’s doubtful he falls outside the first round, however, and the potential remains to become the best Czech prospect since David Pastrnak.
Smaht Scouting: The Czech forward is also a good, high-octane penalty-killer. He is by no means a physical player, and is somewhat undersized at 5’10, but that does not prevent him winning battles due to his physical attributes and IQ. Going forward Myšák arguably fits best at LW, but it would not be a great surprise if some NHL teams saw him as a potential 2C down the line. If Myšák falls past 20th overall in the upcoming draft whoever takes him will be getting a top ten type talent who in most drafts would be long gone.
McKeen’s: Mysak excels in the up and down game; extremely aggressive in taking the puck wide, looking to drive the net. His stride is not the most pretty or fluid, but he is still able to generate enough separation speed to make him dangerous. He plays much bigger than his 6-0” size, protecting the puck through traffic as he looks to play through the middle. When driving wide, he shows a consistent ability to get by defenders, putting them on his back as he cuts back in near the crease, possessing the hands and finishing ability to score on a large majority of these self-generated scoring chances.
Draft Prospects Hockey: A dynamically skilled, flashy offensive winger. He produces high speeds in just a few short strides. Quick feet. His edge work, transitions and overall four-direction mobility make him hard to contain. Possesses all the offensive intangibles to succeed in that department. Solid vision and creativity in the passing game. Has top six NHL offensive winger upside.
Future Considerations: Although he is not the biggest forward, he is good at finding ways to the net through traffic. Quick and shifty with the puck, he can change directions quickly and will make opposing teams pay if given the space due to his quick hands and slick puck skills. He brings loads of energy and an intense compete level to the game and constantly keeps his feet moving, which makes him a dangerous forechecker. Sometimes he wants to be too involved on the ice, which takes a lot of energy, but his work ethic is always on display. Could stand to work smarter in this regard. He always wants the puck on his stick, which makes him dangerous in the neutral zone as well.
Riding Pine: A skilled Czech forward with a great goal scorer’s touch,
Myšák immediately became one of the OHL’s most dangerous
scorers following his move from the Czech Extraliga. Myšák is
crafty with the puck on his stick, has good first-step quickness,
and owns a deceptive and powerful release on his shot.
Elite Prospects: Some of the industry sources we consulted with told us they wouldn’t even both using a second-round pick on Mysak. You’ll hear a lot from certain more statistically-inclined corners of the hockey world that Mysak has a high ceiling, but we’re not convinced as much. That’s okay. You’re not going to find many first-line calibre talents at this point of the draft. The long-term play with Mysak is likely that of a third-line checking winger with penalty killing value.
Future Considerations: 16
Central Scouting: 28 (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie: 34
Craig Button: 26
Elite Prospects: 32
Hockey Prospect: 26
Draft Prospects Hockey: 19
The Draft Analyst: 30
The Habs then made their first trade of the day, sending the 57th pick to Tampa Bay for the 124th pick and Tampa Bay’s 2021 second-round selection. Montreal now has a dozen picks for the 2021 draft.
A couple of hours later, Montreal dealt their top pick in the fourth round (98th overall) to San Jose in exchange for Washington’s 2021 third-round pick. This was the selection initially acquired for Nicolas Deslauriers. The count for next year runs to 13 picks now.
102nd Overall – Jack Smith, C, Sioux Falls (USHL)
The Habs haven’t shied away from long-term projects in recent years and this selection falls in line with that trend. Smith split the season between Sioux Falls and St. Cloud (Minnesota high school) and is headed to Minnesota-Duluth next season.
DOB: July 6, 2002 – St. Cloud, Minnesota
Weight: 182 lbs
Hockey Prospect: Smith plays a good two-way effort down the middle that can affect the outcome of the game in multiple ways. Games of him not making the scoresheet are few and far between but he is able to make an impact even if he isn’t contributing in the offensive end. Smith’s ability to improve away from the puck in recent years improves his pro upside considerably as that was a big question mark in his game early on. While Smith could still benefit from adding some more north-south to his game, his improvement in this area over the last year has been noticeable and improved his outlook to play center at the next level.
Recrutes: The smart playmaking center missed much of the season with a torn labrum. Came back to total 19 points in six state championship games, then had surgery shortly afterwards. A quick, agile skater whose motor rarely stops, he’s heading to the USHL for one season before enrolling at Minn-Duluth.
The Draft Analyst: Smith is a dual-threat pivot who anchored one of the state’s top lines, with wingers Nate Warner and Blake Perbix on his flanks. All three were seniors, and the chemistry they showed during possessions and up-ice attacks was evident from the start of the season until the very end. He has a sturdy frame with ideal length, thus making him tough to knock off the puck. But Smith also is highly agile and skates with a long, powerful stride. Like most top players in high school, Smith logged a ton of minutes and was used in all situations. Remember, this is a young man who turned down an invitation to play for the NTDP, so delivering the goods on offense should not be a concern. Smith also plays physical and is more than willing to mix it up after the whistle.
Central Scouting: 169 (NA Skaters)
The Draft Analyst: 170
109th Overall – Blake Biondi, C, Hermantown (USHS)
Biondi is the second Minnesota high schooler in the round and absolutely lit it up with 76 points in 25 games although he was more limited in his USHL action. The Mr. Hockey award winner is also headed for Minnesota-Duluth in 2020-21.
DOB: June 24, 2002 – Hermantown, Minnesota
Weight: 181 lbs
LWOS: Biondi brings his strong work ethic to all three zones. He pesters opposing forwards with effective backpressure against the rush. He also works to support the defence down low. Biondi is willing to battle for loose pucks all over the ice, including in his own end. His quick stick also helps him to poke check opponents. There are some areas of his game that need to be rounded out though. He needs to do a better job of staying with his man away from the puck and being in the right position. This could be something he will learn with time though. The reality is that playing high school hockey, he dominates.
The Draft Analyst: He has outstanding pucks skills, beginning with his deadly shot and continuing with expert stickhandling and keen vision. Dozens upon dozens of prospects pile up the points against high school competition, but few are able to incorporate physicality and a high compete level while contributing in all areas of the game like Biondi. His no-nonsense approach, clutch play, and abrasiveness towards tough opposition, especially when the importance of the game increases, are just a few of the reasons why he should excel in college and beyond.
Hockey Prospect: Despite his early season struggles with the step up in competition, Biondi showed some good physical tools and some development in his game throughout that gives some indication that all he may need is some time to adjust and continue to develop and can still become a legitimate NHL prospect. Biondi skating stride could be better, he’s a bit choppy of the start but looks ok once he gets rolling. He looks bigger than his size when he skates due to his upright posture. Biondi can be difficult to separate from the puck on the perimeter.
Future Considerations: Biondi is shifty enough on his skates to make players miss while using a second gear to get wide on defenders. His stride is strong, and while more speed should be in his wheels, he uses his edges well and can turn his hips while controlling the puck looking for teammates. He often stands out as the best player on the ice, and you can tell that he knows it, buzzing around the ice doing whatever is needed of him.Overall, he wants to win games and will do whatever he can to lead his team. He appears to have the leadership that winning teams need as his effort in all three zones are apparent, making him one of the top high school players in the draft.
McKeen’s: Biondi failed to have much impact on the scoresheet over ten games with Sioux City, but he was still driving possession. The Minnesota-Duluth commit has a strong shot and impressive offensive instincts and vision. He will need to improve his pace at the next level.
Elite Prospects: By virtue of so much play down low, Biondi finds most of his offensive success around the crease, digging for rebounds, jamming in pucks, and acting as a screen-tip threat. The puck is never on Biondi’s stick for long, jettisioning it without much purpose at times. This extends into his shot selection, where Biondi tends to fire from confusing spots on the ice.
Draft Prospects Hockey: skilled, puck magnet. Not a pretty skater but has quick feet to gallop around the ice with speed. Has good edge work that he utilizes to weave around defenders. Strong on the puck. He finds open spaces allowing him to use his heavy shot. Strong along the boards. Has skilled, quick hands and showed off lots of creativity with the puck on his stick. The skill of his hands allowed him to dish off terrific soft, accurate passes. Great passing in transition and on the breakout. Weak defensive positioning and urgency. Too many times he is caught slow tracking back and not offering a ton of hustle. Has middle six offensive NHL upside.
Future Considerations: 118
Central Scouting: 64 (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie: 93
Elite Prospects: 90
Draft Prospects Hockey: 159
The Draft Analyst: 58
124th Overall – Sean Farrell, C/LW, Chicago (USHL)
Montreal continued to add to their forward depth with the selection of the diminutive Farrell. He averaged nearly a point per game this season and is committed to Harvard.
DOB: November 2, 2001 – Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Weight: 175 lbs
Hockey Prospect: Farrell is a hard-working, skill winger who favours passing over shooting. Saw some time at center early in the year, but it ended up not really being a match. He has maintained a very strong work ethic and can always be found buzzing around the ice no matter what situation he’s put in. His constant pressure on the puck makes him useful in general, but because he has been in the fortunate position of playing on lines where he’s not necessarily the most talented player out there, Sean has proven to be a really good play extender and puck retriever.A little bit non descript as a forward and one without a real jutting talent, but he’s a good worker who has never let anyone down in the variety of high-end offensive situations he’s been in and that alone has some scalability even if the pure skill level isn’t super impactful.
McKeen’s: Farrell is quick and agile, playing at a good pace without being a truly dynamic skater. The main drawback he will always carry as a prospect is his size. Listed at 5-8”, that might be generous. He is at least on the stocky side and has a low center of gravity, which aids in puck possession, but the question remains how he will adapt playing against more competition that is more physically mature at all spots on the roster. We believe his ability to read the game at both ends is strong enough to allow his skills and mobility to overcome his lack of stature.
LWOS: Farrell is a pure goal scorer. He has an excellent array of shots. He can score with wrist shots, snapshots, slap shots and one-timers. Farrell is even dangerous with his backhand. His soft hands give him a quick and deceptive release on those shots. He is also very accurate, able to pick corners. Farrell generates good power with his shooting arsenal as well. His hands also give him the ability to beat a goaltender in close to the net. He can deke a goalie, bang in a rebound, or one-time a pass to the back of the net.
The Draft Analyst: Although he was more of a support player on a stacked NTDP a season ago, Farrell’s abilities, namely his speed and creativity, were quite distinguishable during limited ice time. This season, Farrell proved himself as one of the USHL’s most prolific scorers on a Chicago roster loaded with talent, and his energy and high compete level set the right example for his teammates to follow. He helped run the power play and also killed penalties; the latter being an situation where he was a constant shorthanded threat.
Draft Prospect Hockey: A small forward with an electric skill set from soft hands to quick edges. Extremely shifty and explosive skater that has very quick first few strides. A real play driver for his club team this season. Controls the puck at very high speeds. Playmaker with excellent hockey sense and vision. Goes to the gritty areas despite his lack of size. Protects the puck. Has an accurate shot with tricky release. Constantly fighting for body position around the net. Plays in all situations. Plays with tons of energy and is tenacious on the forecheck to terrorize defenders. Has decent strength in this league but is still smaller for NHL standards. Has middle six two-way NHL upside.
Riding Pine: A playmaking winger who is as creative as he is agile, Farrell is incredibly gifted on his edges and can use his agility and mobility to move around the offensive zone to open up passing lanes. Possesses good in-zone vision and skill on the puck, but can be guilty of being on the perimeter too much.
Elite Prospects: We’re going to need to see some substantial growth from Farrell as a skater for him to continue to find this sort of scoring success at the next level. It’s not necessarily that he’s a poor skater but that he’s not a good enough skater to continue to attack the way he does in professional hockey.
Future Considerations: He is a smart player who likes to crash the net hard and is constantly hunting for the puck. The only noticeable issue in the offensive zone is the accuracy on his cross-ice passes are far from perfect. Shows an ability to dangle and open space for himself when pressured. Quick hands and soft touch on passes. He doesn’t have the most powerful wrist shot, but he owns a lightning quick release, which catches goalies off guard. His shot selection is great, and he gets a lot of his scoring chances from the slot. Defensively, he puts pressure on the defender with quickness and stick positioning and transitions to backcheck with speed.
Cole Caufield: STEAL
Recrutes: Not many American prospects get two years with the national program and one in the USHL under their belts before they are draft eligible. Farrell has shown an ability to play with older players and hold his own. Look for a quick transition to Harvard for the undersized playmaker, who tied for most assists in the USHL.
Future Considerations: 44
Central Scouting: 62 (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie: 85
Craig Button: 70
Elite Prospects: 42
Draft Prospects Hockey: 76
The Draft Analyst: 36
136th Overall – G Jakub Dobes, Omaha (USHL)
The Czech-born goaltender moved to the US in 2017 after playing in Pirati Chomutov’s system. He split this past season between the NAHL and the USHL and will likely remain there for another year before heading to college at ‘The’ Ohio State University.
DOB: May 27, 2001 – Litvinov, Czech Republic
Weight: 200 lbs
Hockey Prospect: Dobes is a low, compact goalie, who keeps a tight butterfly. He has a glove hand that starts fingers pointing towards the puck and requires him to get his fingers up before moving into position to make a catch or block. This is a bit of wasted movement and can make a difference for a goalie who isn’t very set in his stance or his save process. The elbow-tuck aspect to it jives well with his style, but he could do a better job with his glove blocking more net than it does in his normal stance. It takes a lot of work for him to anchor himself or make a push back against the way he came – it’s a little bit tough to watch even. As an athletic goalie, he makes it a look much tougher than we would have expected. Dobes is interesting because of his size, his ability to not let much through his body, and the rawness of having very little high-level hockey experience for a 19 year old.
Central Scouting: 20 (NA Goalies)
171st Overall – Alexander Gordin, RW, St. Petersburg (MHL)
Gordin was sixth in MHL (Russian junior league) scoring this past season as the Habs added some more offensive upside. Gordin recently made his KHL debut. This was his second year of eligibility.
DOB: July 31, 2001 – St. Petersburg, Russia
Weight: 194 lbs
Hockey Prospect: The way that the left-handed marksman conducts his business is quite interesting and unique. He’s not one of those bigger, slower players that comes bombing down the slot late and fires a missile into the net. He actually seems to work better in traffic than he does without it. His primary weapon is his ability to protect the puck and roll off of players. His hands are very good in close but sometimes it’s the move that he doesn’t make that is the most effective – he causes so many defenders to bite on the move that they think he’s going to make…it’s pretty uncanny. When he’s dialed in or frustrated, he plays with some fire and will finish checks…or take unnecessary penalties.
The Draft Analyst: A cocky but tough goal-scoring winger who was one of the MHL’s most prolific scorers, Gordin was a mainstay on SKA-1946’s top line and occupied the right half wall on their lethal power play. His 39 goals tied him for second in the league, of which 11 game winners to lead the MHL. His skating can look clunky and heavy but Gordin gets to where he needs to go and never seemed to have an issue getting open for a clean look at the net. He also has elite hands and can stickhandle his way into the low slot before attempting multiple moves in tight.
Recrutes: Overlooked in last year’s draft in part because he didn’t turn 18 until July 31 and needed to mature, the strapping Russian winger was a force in the MHL this past season, posting 39 goals and leading a loaded SKA team in scoring. A powerful skating stride, slick puck skills and heavy shot will get him drafted this time around.
Elite Prospects: Gordin’s lack of mobility will likely prove to be a fatal flaw as it also limits his pace of play. On the other hand, few other MHLers are smarter than the winger. Gordin is a project for a great talent sculptor. There are edges to remove and other parts to reconstruct entirely. But in the end, the carving work might just reveal an effective bottom-sixer.
Future Considerations: 287
Central Scouting: 35 (Euro Skaters)
Elite Prospects: 124
The Draft Analyst: 23 (among non-first timers)
The Habs then dealt their final pick, 188th overall, to Chicago for Montreal’s own previously-traded 2021 seventh-round pick, bringing Montreal’s haul for that year up to 14 picks.