The Habs were busy on Friday as they held ten selections in the final six rounds of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. They used nine of them in total; here’s a look at all of their new additions.
Scouting reports are posted as they appeared in their write-ups; typos were not corrected.
33rd Overall – Owen Beck, C, Mississauga (OHL)
Montreal’s first pick of the day saw them look to add some centre depth as they picked up Owen Beck out of major junior. He was quite adept at the faceoff dot in 2021-22, winning 60.6% of his faceoffs.
DOB: Feb. 3, 2004 – Port Hope, ON
Weight: 190 lbs
Draft Prospects: An intelligent, high-effort, two-way, play driving forward. Straight-line speed is strong. Carries the puck fluently off the rush, attacking on angles with his linear crossovers. Beck’s speed with the puck makes him capable of being the primary puck carrier in transition for his team. A play driver that’s impactful with and without the puck due to how smart of a player he is. He has top six two-way potential.
Elite Prospects: The first thing that stands out with Beck is just how well-rounded his tools are. Every one of them is an average-to-above-average NHL projection, if not better. They’re never going to drive gaudy, jaw-dropping offensive totals, but they should prove adequate even as the talent pool compresses around Beck at higher levels of competition.
Hockey Prospect: It might be the right decision to move him to the wing and allow him to still play a more simplistic offensive game, as offense is always more demanding on a center. Having said that, if everything goes well with his development, if he finds more consistency with his offensive game and his playmaking keeps improving, he possibly could play as high as a second-line center. When you look at his skating, shooting skills and playmaking, his lack of production this year doesn’t quite add up. He’s not a finished product by any means; there’s a lot of development left with him, which does make things intriguing. His talent level is raw, but there’s a lot to like, and if he can find more consistency and put everything together, he could become something good.
McKeen’s: At this point, Beck should be a sure bet to develop into a high-end bottom six option at the NHL level, capable of having a lengthy career as a penalty killer and energy player. The key for him playing higher in the lineup will be the development of his vision and decision making when operating at full speed. He will need to continue to learn to slow the game down more efficiently, improving his ability to blend puck skill with pivots and delays, while fighting off checks more consistently.
Recrutes: When you are a center who finishes top three in “best sense” and “best skater” categories, it comes as no surprise that Owen Beck is considered to be a terrific defensive forward. Beck utilizes his speed and hustle to get optimum positioning away from the puck.
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: He didn’t produce enough, for me, this year to earn the first-round rating that some in the public and private spheres have given him, but he’s a noticeable shift-to-shift player who excels at getting to the inside, pushing tempo, and winning battles. And there is skill to his game (he’s got good hands and enough talent to make things happen when he’s around the puck all the time) even if it fits within more of a hurry-up style than a slow-the-game-down-and problem-solve one.
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: Beck brings an intriguing amount of speed and skill to his shifts. He has NHL-level skating, and is able to make highly-skilled plays through checks at full speed. He shows the ability to be able to set up his teammates well while also being able to finish in tight or from the circles. Beck isn’t the biggest forward, but he competes well, can PK and doesn’t shy from getting inside by using his speed. He projects as a bottom six forward, likely on the wing.
Smaht Scouting: I think the most underrated part of his game is his puck skill. He’s able to manipulate defenders with his speed and lateral mobility, and is able to get around defenders both in tight area situations and when given a soft cushion by a defender. His ability to get around defenders with toe-drags, putting pucks underneath sticks, or between legs and continuing to move play to dangerous areas of the ice is impressive for a draft eligible player.
Dobber Prospects: Beck has some scoring touch around the net but his offense mostly stems from his work ethic and hockey sense as opposed to overwhelming skill. Away from the puck, he competes hard all over the ice and provides support defensively without overextending himself or getting caught out of position. He is also a trusted penalty killer who wins a ton of faceoffs in key situations. He might never develop into a big-time offensive contributor but Beck is a mature player who can be trusted in all situations with enough skill and intelligence to be an effective complementary player up the lineup or to be a focal point in the bottom-six for an NHL team.
LWOS: Beck also has a good array of shots. He gets himself into the slot and can let go of a hard and accurate wrist shot. He also has a quick and deceptive release. Beck also has a good snapshot and backhander. He doesn’t really use his slap shot all that often, but when he does, he generates good power. Beck uses his speed to get in quickly on the forecheck and pressure opposing defenders. He gets in on them extremely quickly, forcing them to move the puck quicker than they would like and creating turnovers. Beck wins battles on the boards and retrieves loose pucks. He keeps his feet moving and is a high-energy player.
Elite Prospects: 21
Future Considerations: 33
Central Scouting: 10 (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie: 33
Craig Button: 35
Draft Prospects Hockey: 36
62nd Overall – Lane Hutson, D, US NTDP (USHL)
On Thursday, size clearly mattered to Montreal with the pick of Juraj Slafkovsky and the acquisition of Kirby Dach. Hutson is the exact opposite. He’s highly skilled for a defenceman but the Boston University-bound player is very small.
DOB: Feb. 14, 2004 – Chicago, IL
Weight: 159 lbs
Hockey Prospect: His level of smarts and offensive creativity are undeniable. He blew us away at last year’s World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Dallas as an under-ager, and his success continued this year with the U-18 team where he averaged 1.05 points per game (the highest rate in the history of the program, beating Cam York at 1.03, Adam Fox at 0.92 and Quinn Hughes at 0.82). Obviously, his lack of size is going to hurt him, though. If he was even just closer 5’11” and 30 pounds heavier, you could make a case for him as the best defenseman in the draft.
McKeen’s: It is important to note that Hutson is a high risk/high reward type of defender. His over aggressiveness offensively and the utmost confidence in his one-on-one stick skill can lead to turnovers as he tries to force through defenders. He can get caught up ice and hurt his team. This is something you may have to live with. Given his 5’8, 150lbs frame, he may never develop into an adequate defensive player either. However, on offensive upside alone and the ability to truly create, Hutson deserves to be ranked highly for this draft. He just may need to be sheltered even strength defender at the NHL level.
Draft Prospects: Mobile, shifty, quick, smart, offensive defenseman. Loves to push the pace. Quickly scans the ice and sends crisp breakout passes to his teammates. His quick decision making allows him to be deceptive. Mixes his body language well to throw off the opposition. Add this with his ability to quickly move laterally, and you get a guy that is hard to get a body on. Shields the puck well by turning his back and making sure he is between the puck and the defender. High upside player that is fun to watch.
Elite Prospects: Few in this draft can match Hutson’s quality from the offensive blue line as a defender. The way that the 5-foot-8 blueliner evades opponents with weight shifts, handling moves, and fakes allow him to turn every puck touch into a Grade-A scoring chance, whether he’s the one pulling the trigger or as a setup man.
Dobber Prospects: There may be no defender available in the 2022 draft class more dynamic than Lane Hutson. The undersized defenseman plays with high-end deception, skill, and planning. Lane Hutson is as slight of a player as you’ll find in the NHL draft, and this obstacle is a large one, but if he can surmount it and keep improving the things that make him one of the most entertaining players available, he could turn into a real steal. He is the definition of a boom or bust prospect – if he cracks an NHL top-four, he will be tremendously valuable and electrifying, but if he doesn’t, he won’t be an NHLer at all. The risk will put off a lot of teams, but he could be a high-value selection on day two of the draft.
Smaht Scouting: Hutson has excellent mobility and its a credit to his crossovers and edge work. He can generate open space for himself and shake off attackers with his mobility. Good outside edges when doubling back in the neutral zone as he had ran into traffic the neutral zone and looks to double back to find an open teammate on the opposite side. Good inside edges to pivot out of pressure along the blue line. Hutson does a good job of leaning on his edges when turning his body to react to puck movement. By leaning on his edges, it allows him to retain speed and that makes him far more likely to generate open ice for himself.
Daily Faceoff: Though he is among the smallest defensemen in this draft, he is a highly intelligent two-way player with dynamic offensive ability. While he’s not a straight-line blazer, Hutson’s skating is deceptive and creative. His ability to change directions on a dime is one of his best attributes and makes him difficult to track for the opposition when he has the puck. With elite vision and soft hands, he makes a lot of plays in all zones. Defensively, he has one of the best sticks in the draft, which allows him to make up some for his size disadvantage. He’s totally committed to defending despite that size disadvantage and the dynamic skill set. I think he’s one of the most exciting players in this draft, but I fully understand the limitations that someone at his size could face at the next level.
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: He’s got shakes and shimmies to spare, routinely making opposing defenders miss one-on-one in all three zones. He’s one of the most clever players in the draft. And while his size will continue to make evaluators pause, I actually quite like the way he defends. He gets back to so many loose pucks that he doesn’t have to rely all that much on engaging in battles and even when he does, his positioning and active stick help him disrupt opposing carriers and break up plays. But above all else, he’s the kind of player where when you think you’ve put him in a difficult spot or you’ve got him cornered, he’ll show you that he isn’t with a spin (or a spin into a spin!), a fake (with his eyes, or head, or shoulders, or hands, or feet, or each) or his sublime vision through layers. He just looks right past what’s in front of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a sly No. 4 defenceman in time.
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: Whether a barely 5-foot-9 defenseman who isn’t an elite skater can defend in the NHL is the question with Hutson. He’s a competitive, quality defender versus juniors and college opponents but that will need to be a test he’ll need to clear down the line. I think he plays in the NHL, and projects as an offensive-tilted top-four defenseman, but I realize the odds are against a player who looks like him becoming that.
LWOS: In order to succeed as an undersized defender, one must have dynamic skating ability. Hutson definitely has that as he is one of the smoothest and fastest skaters in this draft class. His mobility is exceptional. He has excellent speed and acceleration in both directions. Hutson can push the pace offensively and still get back into position defensively. When carrying the puck, his ability to quickly change speeds is a weapon that can fool defenders.
Elite Prospects: 47
Future Considerations: 31
Central Scouting: 25 (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie: 40
Craig Button: 31
Draft Prospects Hockey: 35
75th Overall – Vincenz Rohrer, C/RW, Ottawa (OHL)
Rohrer barely qualified for this draft as he was born just six days before the cut-off, making him one of the youngest players of this draft class. The Austrian played in Switzerland previously before coming over to major junior for the 2021-22 season. We had him going to Montreal at this spot in our mock draft last week.
DOB: Sept. 9, 2004 – Port Hope, ON
Weight: 168 lbs
McKeen’s: Rohrer also is a terrific defensive player and penalty killer. One of his most noticeable traits is actually his shot blocking. He is already one of the best in the OHL at getting in front of shots on the penalty kill and as such, he is very dangerous shorthanded as an offensive player, consistently making the correct read at the top of zone coverage. With a non-stop motor, great instincts, and physical intensity, Rohrer projects as a high-end bottom six player at the NHL level. Of course, his quickness will need to continue to improve, and his strength will too, however, he has the makings of becoming a fan favourite for whatever NHL team drafts him in the future.
Elite Prospects: While Rohrer’s puck-game in transition isn’t complex, it’s largely projectable. Where most players get locked into straight-line rushes down the boards, he passes to start the give-and-go. Inside the offensive zone, he largely plays a simple game, but there are moments of more. In open ice, he uses deception to drag defenders out of passing lanes. On retrievals, he makes quick passes off the backhand to the slot. If the offensive flashes become full-time skills, he has top-nine upside. If not, he’s probably just a depth piece. Most likely, he becomes a capable fourth-liner who brings a valuable combination of physicality, off-puck offence, and some playmaking.
Hockey Prospect: Rohrer’s style of play is very North American; he is often seen playing along the wall and in traffic. He’s still physically raw, but much stronger than his listed size would indicate. He doesn’t hesitate to finish his hits and drive to the net and he has a a lot of pushback in his game. There’s a lot of “want to” with him on the ice, he wins a lot of battles. There’s good in his physical projections, he’s a battler and has a strong core which makes him efficient in one-on-one battles. However, he is far from being a finished product and there is still a ways to go before he’s fully maxed out physically. We still see him lose his equilibrium on the ice after some contact, falling down a bit too often. Those are all things he can work on: improving his balance as he adds lower body strength.
Draft Prospects: Possesses a high IQ, especially in the offensive zone where he can read and process the game quickly. Not the most physically strong player but does play with a little chip on his shoulder and isn’t afraid to make or take a hit. Noticeable on the ice because of his relentless puck pressure. Not a defensive liability. He stays with his check in coverage, keeps his stick active and does what he can to transition play out of his end. Needs to bulk up and bring it more consistently in his own zone. With his somewhat gritty, determined game he has top six upside and a bottom NHL six floor.
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: The more I watched Rohrer this season, and the more I learned about him, the more I liked him. He’s a righty, airy skater who can weave through neutral ice to gain the zone, or win a race for a flipped breakaway puck. He creates from outside in, evading checks and sliding passes through seams but will also drive the net or try a wraparound. His feet and hands move out of sync, sending mixed messages and deceiving defenders with his pathing. He’s exactly the kind of player I’d bet on in the middle of the draft.
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: Rohrer is a very skilled and intelligent forward. He has the slick hands to beat defenders at a high rate. He shows great vision to find seams and create off the perimeter. Rohrer isn’t that big and won’t run guys over, but he works hard off the puck. His skating, especially for his size, could use a few extra steps for the pros but he’s not slow. It’s why it’s hard to slot him onto an NHL team as of now, but his skill gives him a chance.
Elite Prospects: 59
Future Considerations: 61
Central Scouting: 42 (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie: 80
Craig Button: 75
Draft Prospects Hockey: 79
92nd Overall – Adam Engstrom, D, Djurgarden (SWE Jr.)
Engstrom was a big riser in the NHL Central Scouting rankings as he had the biggest jump from the mid-term rankings to the final one, moving up 43 spots.
DOB: Nov. 17, 2003 – Sodertalje, Sweden
Weight: 185 lbs
Elite Prospects: At his most effective, you’ll notice him in transition as he carries the puck up-ice, speeding past the forecheck with his long strides. His inability to make advanced defensive reads – like proactive switches in coverage – and his lack of physical play made an NHL projection seem out of reach. Further complicating matters was the lack of creativity that we commonly associate with offensive defencemen.
Hockey Prospect: While Engstrom does not play a flashy, highly skilled game, he is incredibly reliable. Engstrom skates well and has a solid shot where he can get fairly high-velocity shots off from the point. Offensively he lacks a bit of mobility and agility to really excel. He can get quite static at times and his movement patterns offensively during our viewings have been at 90 degree angles on the perimeter.
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: Engstrom has a lot of qualities that make him an interesting NHL prospect. He’s a 6-foot-2, fluid, powerful skater that can transition pucks up ice and close well on oncoming forwards. Offensively he doesn’t stand out, but he can make a decent outlet pass and has a hard point shot. Whether he excels enough at either end of the rink to carve out an NHL role is the debate with Engstrom, but his tool kit gives him a chance.
Central Scouting: 38 (Euro Skaters)
127th Overall – Cedrick Guindon, LW, Owen Sound (OHL)
Montreal continued to turn to the OHL with Guindon’s selection as the forward put up 30 goals in his first season of major junior.
DOB: Apr. 21, 2004 – Rockland, ON
Weight: 170 lbs
Draft Prospects: Methodical goal scorer with an excellent release. Shoots the puck heavy and can score from distance or in tight. Not afraid to let a wrist shot go from the blue line and can beat the goalie clean. Uses a long stick and doesn’t really change the angle on his shots much just over powering most goalies. Two-foot shooter with a classic wrist shot release. Accurate shot shooting through traffic under pressure. Can fire the one timer especially on the power play where he becomes an off side threat. Plays center and wing showing some versatility.
Elite Prospects: Intelligence, not tools, drives Guindon’s game. Without fail, he gets open. In the defensive end, he supports battles and builds speed underneath the puck. In transition, he skates his routes to back off defenders, but also changes his route if a pocket of space emerges. And he offsets any mechanical limitations by playing a give-and-go that emphasizes his off-puck instincts. The AHL’s filled with Guindons – intelligent, skilled prospects without standout tools or manipulation ability. But Guindon’s advanced off-puck game and shooting skill gives us optimism that he could carve out a third-line role if he continues along his upward trajectory.
McKeen’s: Guindon epitomizes what Owen Sound tries to build their team around, effort, intelligence, and quick strike finishing ability. A solid skater, Guindon’s best asset is his four-way agility and ability to build speed out of pivots and cuts. Not a large player, he needs this to be elusive in the offensive end and to work his way through traffic. Guindon is also a highly intelligent offensive pivot who is equal parts goal scorer and playmaker. He has a great shot and scoring instincts; however, he also shows patience and poise with the puck and uses his good shot as bait to draw in defenders before dishing off.
Hockey Prospect: There is no doubt that he has good offensive qualities. He has a good shot with a pretty good release and he was very successful in his rookie year at beating opposing goaltenders. He has no trouble identifying passing lanes and delivering accurate passes to teammates. However, the ceiling to his offensive game takes a hit because he lacks some creativity and we do not think that he will have the speed to get as many offensive opportunities at the NHL level.
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: Guindon is a very good skater. He’s strong in transition due to his speed and skill and has a good shot as well. He lacks ideal NHL size, though, and while he has some offense he’s not a true driver of play with his skill and playmaking. What his NHL role would be is questionable but the talent is intriguing enough.
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: Guindon scored 30 goals and had really strong underlying numbers as a clear driver of on-ice results in Owen Sound this season. He’s got speed to burn with a quick acceleration gear that propels him in and out of holes and puts defenders on their heels both off the rush and out quick cuts. He can also make plays out of those bursts, whether that’s beating a defender one-0n-one or slicing through coverage into his dangerous curl-and-drag shot. He’s not super dynamic for his size, but he’s got enough speed and skill to turn a breakout season into a greater name recognition next year.
Elite Prospects: 83
Future Considerations: 150
Central Scouting: 59 (NA Skaters)
Draft Prospects Hockey: 204
Montreal also held the 128th pick but moved it to Vegas in exchange for their 2023 fourth-round pick. The Habs now have ten picks in the 2023 draft.
130th Overall – Jared Davidson, C, Seattle (WHL)
Montreal went a different route with this pick as Davidson is already 20 and could turn pro next season. Given that he’s a third-year draft-eligible player, he wasn’t featured in draft guides for scouting reports and rankings.
DOB: July 7, 2002 – Edmonton, AB
Weight: 181 lbs
162nd Overall – Emmett Croteau, G, Waterloo (USHL)
Montreal has taken tall project goaltenders in recent years and that trend continued with this selection. Croteau is expected to attend Clarkson next season.
DOB: Dec. 7, 2003 – Bonnyville, AB
Weight: 194 lbs
Future Considerations: 269
Central Scouting: 10 (NA Goalies)
192nd Overall – Petteri Nurmi, D, HPK (SM-liiga)
Montreal opted to take their second 20-year-old pick of the day in Nurmi who spent the bulk of the season playing in Finland’s top league. He has two years left on his contract out there so this is a draft-and-stash selection. He logged 16:40 per game on HPK’s back end this past season.
DOB: Jan. 12 2002 – Helsinki, FIN
Weight: 168 lbs
McKeen’s: 2002 born two-way defender who established himself as a Liiga regular this year. Three zone awareness is excellent, and he makes a great first pass. The athletic tools may not be good enough, though.
Central Scouting: 136 (Euro Skaters)
216th Overall – Miguel Tourigny, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Montreal has had some success lately going with older QMJHL players at the back of the draft with Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Xavier Simoneau. This pick follows a similar idea as Tourigny is 20 and could return for his overage year or turn pro.
DOB: Feb. 9, 2002 – Victoriaville, QC
Weight: 172 lbs
Hockey Prospect: The Victoriaville native is a decent skater (good footwork, good agility but just average top speed and acceleration) but for his size, we would like to see him improve his skating closer to the elite level. His slapshot and wrist shot are both accurate, but also have very good velocity. Tourigny has had a lot of success as a goal scorer in the past two seasons, but let’s not forget his playmaking abilities from the back end that often get a backseat to his goal-scoring prowess. However, he’s another one of these players that fit the mold of the good junior defenseman… but not necessarily good NHL Draft prospect.
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: Tourigny is a dynamic player. His skating pops, with the top-end speed to beat checkers wide and lead a rush in transition. He’s an elusive skater with good edgework and is very hard to check on retrievals, despite his diminutive frame. He’s a very smart puck-mover who can make tough, skilled plays with pace and from a standstill, showing ability to hit seams from the offensive blue line. Tourigny is a great passer, but also had a great shot as evidenced by his goal totals the last two seasons. The one obvious drawback is his frame, he’s a tiny defenseman by NHL standards at 5-foot-8. He competes well and defends well enough in junior but whether he can take a regular NHL shift is the question.
Future Considerations: 163
Central Scouting: 147 (NA Skaters)
Corey Pronman: 43