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For the second consecutive year, the Montreal Canadiens picked a defenseman from Minnesota with their first selection. After David Fischer from Minneapolis, MN, at the 20th spot in 2006, Ryan McDonagh from St. Paul, MN, was selected 12th overall in this year’s 2007 edition of the NHL Entry Draft.

The Canadiens, led by Bob Gainey and Trevor Timmins, director of Player Recruitment, put forth a strategy intended to bolster the team’s defence corp. Out of the 9 players they drafted, 6 were defensemen. The last time the Canadiens selected a defenseman with their first pick was in 2001, when they selected another American, Mike Komisarek. It took 4 years to Mike before establishing himself as a NHL regular. Time will tell if McDonagh will be able to help the Canadiens win a Cup before 2010. The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup at least once in each of the last nine decades, which is one of the most extraordinary streaks in all sports history.

The Canadiens went the Minnesota route this year, as they selected 4 players from “The Hockey State”. Five of the Habs 9 selections were Americans, going along this year’s trend started with Kane and vanRiemsdyk who became the first two American-born players selected first and second overall in the NHL Entry Draft.

The French Medias and a good number of Habs fans were upset that the Habs didn’t select QMJHL star Angelo Esposito. Esposito was once ranked first overall by the NHL Scouting department. He was still available when the Canadiens selected McDonagh. As much as the Habs would have like to get Esposito, they had McDonagh in really high regards. According to Timmins, Gainey tried to get a 3rd 1st rounder in order to land Esposito. But Gainey didn’t appear overly upset at the end of the day. After all, they had their precious pearl. They have been following the progression of Ryan McDonagh for the past 2 years. Timmins describes him as being as strong as a horse. Ryan also fared extremely well in the physical and psychological tests he underwent with the Canadiens.

Here is a look at the Canadiens class of 2007:

Rank Name Birthplace Specs Type
12 D- Ryan McDonagh St. Paul, MN, US 6′ 1" 200 Defensive dman
22 LW- Max Pacioretty New Canaan, CT, US 6′ 1" 203 Power Forward
43 D- P.K. Subban Toronto, ON, CA 5′ 10" 200 Offensive dman
65 C- Olivier Fortier Quebec City, QC, CA 5′ 11" 168 Two-ways forward
73 D- Yannick Weber Zurich, Switzerland 5′ 11" 194 Leader
133 D- Joe Stejskal Grand Rapids, MN, US 6′ 2" 186 Offensive dman
142 LW- Andrew Conboy Burnsville, MN, US 6′ 3" 190 Power forward
163 D- Nichlas Torp Jonkoping, Sweden 5′ 11" 196 Defensive dman
192 D- Scott Kishel Virginia, MN 5′ 11" 170 Punishing dman