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Buffalo vs. Montreal | December 7th,2013 | 1900 EST
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The Habs were more active than they had been in the early stages of Day Two at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. They had three of the first 34 picks of the day and used them all on players who would be considered as sliders relative to where they were projected to go before the draft began, a theme that would best sum up their selections. At the end of the day, the prospect base of the Montreal Canadiens looks much more impressive than it did going into Saturday.
Here is a listing of the Habs' selections and a little bit about each one:
Sebastian Collberg, RW (2nd round, 33rd overall), 5'11, 180 lbs, Frolunda (SEL)
Collberg is a player where the stats don't tell the whole story. He is a gifted offensive forward despite not putting up a point in 41 SEL games this year. However, he also saw very limited minutes with Frolunda, a team known to play their veterans. Against his own age group he was much more effective, including putting up 7 points in 6 games en route to Gold at the 2012 World Juniors.
From NHLMockDraft.org: "He uses a very short stick which hurts his abilities as a sniper (though his release is lightning-fast) but allows him an excellent level of control displayed in his frequent obscene dangles and distribution-game. Heís modestly gritty and shows an effort to get back on defense and fight for loose pucks but his strength is very lacking at this point."
From TSN's Craig Button: "He is a very good skater who can beat defenders 1-1 because he has a change of pace as well as having a desire to get offensive opportunities. He plays in traffic and maintains a focus despite knowing that he may be entering the danger zone."
From TheScoutingReport.org: "Collberg is undersized, but he makes up for it with some slick hands and an NHL release. Heís a threat to score anytime he gets the puck in the offensive zone and does a good job of finding open ice despite being a smaller player."
Frolunda (SWE Jr.): 21 GP, 9 goals, 8 assists, 17 points, 18 PIMS
Frolunda (SEL): 41 GP, 0 points, 2 PIMS
Sweden (World Juniors): 6 GP, 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points, 0 PIMS
Sweden (World U-18's): 6 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, 14 PIMS
Dalton Thrower, D (2nd round, 51st overall), 5'11, 200 lbs, Saskatoon (WHL)
Another player whose size likely contributed to him slipping but he plays a lot bigger than his small frame would suggest. He logged first pairing shutdown minutes with Saskatoon while nearly tripling his point production. He also played with now-fellow Montreal prospect Darren Dietz, both will be suiting up in the next Memorial Cup as the Blades are the host team. Expect Thrower to play a very prominent role on that squad.
From NHLMockDraft.org: "Gritty and physically intimidating, Thrower is mobile with some modest offensive upside. He should be an average middle pairing distributor/puck-mover and see spot time on a second-unit powerplay."
From TSN's Craig Button: "Dalton is a player who can make his presence felt, literally and figuratively. He's a competitor who will deliver big hits and can be a deterrent to opposing forwards thinking they can move about untouched. He is not hesitant to fight if challenged or if necessary."
From TheScoutingReport.org: "He showed positive improvements with his puck handling and puck distribution skills this year and also utilized his shot more frequently, tallying 18 goals from the backend. Thrower is a tough player to play against and is a willing combatant who isnít going to back down from a fight."
Season: 66 GP, 18 goals, 36 assists, 54 points, 103 PIMS
Playoffs: 4 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, 4 PIMS
Tim Bozon, LW (3rd round, 64th overall), 6'0, 183 lbs, Kamloops (WHL)
Yet another player who was pegged as a 1st rounder in our mock draft, Bozon's natural scoring abilities is what caught the eyes of scouts. After spending the past few seasons in Switzerland, he joined the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL which tied him for 20th in the league overall and 1st amongst rookies. The son of former NHL'er Phillipe represents France on the international stage. As is often the case with young prospects, skating is a concern for some scouts.
From NHLMockDraft.org: "Heís a toolsy attacker: His skating, shot, hands, ingenuity and game-processing are all solid. He needs to work on his strength and defensive game and iron out his inconsistencies to increase his potential at the next level but heís a very solid bet to find a position as a top-nine scorer."
From TSN's Craig Button: "He has a good shot and he's able to get to the dangerous spots and take advantage. He's learning how his skill can be of the initiating type in terms of imposing it on opponents and gaining increased chances. He plays a very controlled game in terms of not running around without purpose."
From TheScoutingReport.org: "Bozon should continue to grow into his lanky frame and will need to improve upon his skating, however his soft hands and quick release have made it difficult for defenders to step up and challenge him as the puck is on his stick, and then back off of it in a hurry."
Season: 71 GP, 36 goals, 35 assists, 71 points, 40 PIMS
Playoffs: 5 GP, 5 goals, 0 assists, 5 points, 11 PIMS
Brady Vail, C (4th round, 94th overall), 6'0, 195 lbs, Windsor (OHL)
Vail is the prototypical 'meat and potatoes' player. He's not flashy but doesn't take shifts off and competes in all three zones. As the season progressed with Windsor, he rose through the depth chart and received increased checking responsibilities. Offensively, there isn't a ton of upside but he should be able to produce enough from a bottom six role in the NHL.
From NHLMockDraft.org: "Even with only a borderline top six/solid top-nine skillset he has value as an energy forward who can contribute some secondary scoring and effort for the full 200 ft."
From TSN's Craig Button: "There is not a lot of fanfare to his play but there's a lot of good, industrious hard work that leads to productivity and ultimately to his team being in a better position to win. Skating is good and he has a good stride but will benefit from improved speed. He isn't behind but with his strong sense, more speed will allow him to impact the game in a far greater way. There is nothing that he isn't willing to do in the game."
From TheScoutingReport.org: "Vail went from a spare part as an OHL rookie to the teamís most versatile centre this season. Vail was used in all situations by Head Coach Bob Boughner and has become a very effective Penalty Killer who is also very effective on the forecheck. Vailís offensive production took a significant jump in Year 2 and his ability to play against teamís top lines will not be lost on NHL scouts."
Season: 68 GP, 22 goals, 30 assists, 52 points, 55 PIMS
Playoffs: 4 GP, 0 points, 4 PIMS
Charles Hudon, LW (5th round, 121st overall), 5'10, 170 lbs, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
The Habs made their first and only foray into their own backyard by selecting the diminuitive skilled forward out of Chicoutimi. Size and strength are a big concern as is his defensive presence but he brings good leadership traits along with a dynamic offensive skill set. On a team who had a lot of veterans in their top-6, Hudon should see premier ice time next season.
From NHLMockDraft.org: "He can make opponents look silly with a staggering array of moves. He has a good head for the game and can back defenders off with jukes and intelligent pacing to make space to find the seams. With his diminutive frame, his modest speed is a major concern Ė though he is quick."
From TheScoutingReport.org: "The 5-foot-10 winger lacks explosive speed and his footwork is going to need to improve, but the raw offensive ability is intriguing. Hudon is a very creative player who is also a capable goal scorer. While he has been a strong point producer in the Q, his production flat lined this year and curbed some enthusiasm about his overall upside."
Season: 59 GP, 25 goals, 41 assists, 66 points, 50 PIMS
Playoffs: 18 GP, 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points, 16 PIMS
Erik Nystrom, LW (6th round, 154th overall), 5'11, 176 lbs, Modo Jr. (SWE Jr.)
Montreal once again looked to Sweden with another player who split time between the junior and pro ranks. He is a strong, hard working skater with some offensive upside although it didn't show in his games with MoDo. He slipped a bit in Central Scouting's final rankings, dropping from 77th to 85th among European skaters.
(Unfortunately there are no scouting reports available for this player.)
Modo (SEL): 19 GP, 2 assists, 2 points, 0 PIMS
Modo Jr. (SWE Jr.) 32 GP, 9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points, 16 PIMS