2020 NHL Entry Draft Options: Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens enter the 2020 NHL Draft holding 12 picks, five of them being in the first three rounds. That’s a lot.

The one thing Trevor Timmins and his scouting crew have done well is drafting for upside in every round. This process started in 2018 when the Canadiens left Dallas with 11 selections, picking Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall and in 2019 where they picked 10 times. If the trend stays the same, they’ll likely wrap up this year’s draft class with double digit selections. 

2020 is similar to 2019 as they currently hold the 16th overall pick due to the fact that they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the play-in round and then were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers. They dropped from ninth to 16th in that process. We’ll see in a few years if this was a blow to the team’s overall talent pool and whether this run returned any sort of dividends. Only time will tell.

With them moving back seven spots, they probably miss out on certain high-level players, but I do like the depth of this draft and the mid-first round is not scarce of talented individuals.

Here are some of the options for the Montreal Canadiens in 2020:

Round 1

Monika Majer/Getty Images North America

Noel Gunler – Right Wing /Left Winger

There is a lot to like about this German born player. He’s tall, has good balance and excels in the one thing this organization lack the most – high end scoring. One thing he is extremely good at is anticipating the play. He’s an excellent consolation prize for the team dropping seven spots due to the play-in series win against Pittsburgh.

Vincent Ethier/LHJMQ

Rodian Amirov – Left Winger

Another European winger who excels at producing offence. Similar build to Gunler, Amirov is more puck moving and puck control than pure shooter, but he does have a quality release and is lethal at both passing and shooting. He’s very shifty, similarly to Minnesota’s Alex Galchenyuk.

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Connor Zary – Center

Zary has a lot of want in his game and he is a very talked about player in the WHL. The reason why his stock is up and down is because he has so many quality tangible and intangible tools that his ceiling is high, but lacks consistency. His skating is his weakness, but it’s an area that can be fixed if he puts in the time. Nick Suzuki is a great example. Zary also plays an emotional game and loves the attention and spotlight. Seems like a great fit.

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Dawson Mercer – Right Winger

Mercer is the one of the more balanced players in this draft when it comes to offence. He is a guy that can beat you in many facets. He’s very competitive and definitely enjoys being involved in the play. Good continuous motor and never out of position. He also seems to fit better when he plays higher up in the lineup.

Other Options: Braden Schneider, Jan Mysak, Jacob Perreault

Round 2

Chicago Steel/USHL

Sam Colangelo – Right Winger

Colangelo was a major piece to the Chicago Steel’s success in the USHL. He’s a big winger who uses his frame and drives play towards the net. His offence is led by his love of shooting and he’s a goal scorer first. He’s not a great skater, but even with his limited movement, his game was still dominant for his team. A darkhorse to be drafted in the early 30’s.

William Villeneuve – Defenseman

Villeneuve is a balanced right-handed defensemen who plays a sound and effective game and is often the center of the counter attack. A good first pass, Villeneuve never rushes plays and always seems to have quality control exits from his zone. He recorded 58 points in 64 games for the Saint-John Sea Dogs last year and is expected to take another step offensively, possibly reaching 20+ goals.

William Dufour – Right Winger

A big winger who can use his body to help him score is a plus for any team. He’s very good at puck movement and has good offensive awareness. His shot and net play are his biggest attributes and he excels at finding loose pucks when there is chaos in front of the net.

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Evgeny Oksentyuk – Right Wing/Left Winger

A bright spot for the Flint Firebirds, Oksentyuk is a small player who plays a big game. He finished the season with 33 goals along with 45 assists for 78 points. He did so in 58 games. His biggest asset is his overall skill and his movement on the ice. He’s very aggressive for a five-foot-seven forward and his low center of gravity allows him to maintain control of the puck.

Other options: Yan Kuznetsov, Ozzy Weisblatt, Lukas Cormier, Thomas Bordeleau

Third Round

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Jack Finley – Center

This towering center would be tremendous value at this point in the draft. Standing at six-foot-five, Finley is a major presence on the ice. He’s got a lot of natural toughness where he continuously puts himself in physically demanding situations and still manages to come out on top. He’s got a wide range of tools that allow him to produce on the ice as he finished the year with 57 points in 61 games in his second season with Spokane. He’ll need some time to develop, but at this point, you can afford to draft projects.

Luke Tuch – Left Winger

Younger brother of Vegas’ Alex Tuch, Luke is both a gamer and good two-way player. He’s not as skilled as his older brother, but he does have the skillset to play in every situation. Somewhat underwhelming statistics, he may have to sharpen his offensive game if he wants to be a bigger force. If he adds more offence to a great overall IQ and top defensive awareness, then the NHL is more than likely a probable part of his career.

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Martin Chromiak – Left Winger

Chromiak bounced around a lot last year, playing in three different leagues and two different international tournaments. He still managed to produce admirably in all of them. He found a landing spot with the Kingston Frontenacs where he ended the year with 33 points in 28 games and will be returning next year. His offensive ceiling is very high and elevated his game to another level as the season progressed. His biggest attributes are his positioning and calmness which allow him to either drive for a shot or wait for a lane to feed to a teammate. He has a chance to explode offensively in his second year in the OHL.

Other options: Emil Andrae, Jaromir Pytlick, Tyler Tulio, Antonio Stranges, 

Fourth Round

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Jack Thompson – Defenseman

Jack Thompson is a very “involved” blue liner. He likes to have the puck on his stick and does a good job getting open to receive it. He’s mobile, quick and also makes good tape to tape passes. His progression from year one to year two was positive as he doubled his points playing on a good Sudbury Wolves team led by top prospect, Quinton Byfield. He’ll have more than enough ice-time and training days to refine his skills and develop his full game.

Cross Hanas – Left Winger

There’s a lot to like about a player like Hanas. He brings a quality offensive skillset, good motor as well as good vision. His progression in year two was very good as he recorded 27 more points in seven less games playing for the Portland Winterhawks. His upside and pace should have him higher, but lacks consistency when it comes to maintaining a certain production. If he can figure out how to play the same way for the majority, he will become a quality player.

Other options: Oliver Suni, Alexander Pashin, Carter Savoie

Potential Late Round Picks

  • Pavel Gogolev – Left Winger
  • Devin Levy – Goaltender
  • Christian Tanus – Center/Left Winger
  • Gunnerwolfe Fontaine – Left WInger
  • Dyland Garand – Goaltender
  • Gage Goncalves – Center

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