The Canadiens made 6’5” forward Mike McCarron their first choice of the 2013 NHL entry draft. McCarron played this season 19 games for the US National Development team scoring five goals and five assists with 84 minutes in penalties. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told TSN that his scouts liked McCarron’s “size, grit and character.” (TSN Video of Canadiens Selection and interview below)
The Canadiens are notoriously small up front. At 227 lbs. he was not only the heaviest but the tallest forward available in this year’s draft.
Trevor Timmins got a good look at him at the U18 World Junior Championship in Sochi, Russia. What stands out is his 180 penalty minutes to go with 14 goals with 20 assists and was plus-six in 55 games during the season. In seven games in Sochi he scored 3 goals, including a goal in the 3-2 gold medal game loss to Canada, and was an even plus/minus with 2 assists and 14 penalty minutes.
Last November McCarron announced his intention to play college hockey at Western Michigan. His Junior rights are owned by the London Knights of the OHL, which still be an option. He was ranked 35th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2013 NHL Draft.
SECOND ROUND #1- The Canadiens again went for size using their first of three second round picks when the grabbed 6’2″ centre Jacob De la Rose from Leksand of the Swedish Elite League. (34th overall-from Nashville) In 38 games playing against men in the Swedish Elite League he scored 6 goals and 12 points. De la Rose will be returning to play for Leksand next season. Coaches have liked him enough to include him on Swedish national teams at the Under 16, Under 17, Under 18, and Under 20 levels over the years. He has won silver medals at the 2012 IIHF World Under 18 Championships, and at the 2013 World Junior Championships. He was also the Swedish captain at the 2013 Under 18s.
The best comparison seems to be Canadiens centre Lars Eller. An explosive hard working skater. He is a strong and plays a physical game. Kills penalties. The only question seems to be his offensive upside.
SECOND ROUND #2 – Some think the Canadiens made one of the steals of the draft with their second choice in the second round taking Memorial Cup winning goaltender Zack Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads. (36th overall from Calgary) Furcale was the number one goaltender on everyone’s list. Many projections had Fucale slotted somewhere in the middle of the first round.
Considered a “money” goaltender, the Laval native posted a 16-1-0 record in the QMJHL playoffs before backstopping Halifax to its first Memorial Cup tieing for the tournament lead with a .902 save percentage in four games (3-1-0) and was named to the tournament All-Star team. In the regular season, Fucale led all QMJHL goaltenders with 45 wins (45-5-2-1) and was second overall with a 2.14 goals-against average. Central scouting’s Al Jensen, a former NHL goaltender wrote this about Fucale; “An excellent positional-style goalie with great stance and balance. He plays and looks big in all situations, has an excellent butterfly style and is very tough to beat down low. Zach is very calm, relaxed and dependable, and has excellent rebound control. He directs the low shots and absorbs the higher shots.”
SECOND ROUND #3 -Using there own second round pick (55th) the Canadiens went back to Europe for right wing Artturi Lehkonen of Finland. Playing for KalPa at Kuopio in Finland’s top SMLiga, Lehkonen scored 14 goals 16 assists in 45 games last season and was named the league’s rookie of the year. Despite playing last season as a 17-year old,Lehkonen was the Kuopio club’s second-leading scorer and represented Finland in the 2013 U20 and U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. He scored 14 goals with 16 assists in 45 regular season games and was plus-12. Lehkonen with 12 penalty minutes. Lehkonen makes up for his 5’10″ size with a high skill set. Great hands and has the ability to find open ice. Competes hard. At this stage he lacks explosive skating. On the negative side, Lehkonen has a history of concussions. St. Petersburgh of the KHL also drafted him.
THIRD ROUND #1 - With their first of two picks in the third round Trevor Timmins selected centre Connor Crisp of the Erie Otters of the OHL. (71st overall from Dallas). Crisp is now listed at 6’4″. He scored 22 goals and 14 assist in 63 games last season. Crisp was ignored in the 2012 draft after a shoulder injury kept him out of all but the last six games of the 2011-2012 season. In his first game back he was forced to play goal when the Otters only goaltender was injured. (He allowed 13 goals on 45 shots in a 13-4 loss to Niagara Falls. Crisp uses his size well and is not afraid of the dirty areas. He pretty good hands especially around the net. Crisp, like McCarron, is not afraid to drop the gloves. hockeyfights.com lists nine battles last season some of them against the league’s top scrappers. On the down side, he is a below average skater at this stage.
THIRD ROUND #2 - Their second third round round pick went for Swiss born Sven Andrighetto. He is 20 years old and was passed over the previous two drafts. Andrighetto, who is 5’9″, scored 31 goals and 67 assists to lead Rouyn-Noranda last season. He was dominant in the playoffs with 30 points in 14 games helping the Huskies to the QMJHL semi final where they fell to the eventual Memorial Cup Champion Halifax Mooseheads. Andrighetto also has plenty of international experience playing for the Swiss at various international tournaments over the years, including the last two World Junior Championships. At the lastest World Juniors, he put up 5 goals and 8 points in just 6 games. Obviously size is the problem. However he has a hockey body at 188 lbs and is strong on his skates. He has good top end speed and acceleration. He has a hard and accurate slapshot. Some like to compare him to Mike Cammalleri, which isn’t all that bad.
FOURTH ROUND – The Canadiens fourth round choice (116th) was 5’8″ Gatineau centre/left winger Martin Reway. Reway, who was born in Prague but plays internationally with Slovakia, scored 22 goals and 28 assists in 48 games this past season with the Olympiques. He had an excellent playoff scoring a goal and 11 assists in ten games before Gatineau was eliminated by Halifax.
FOURTH AND FIFTH ROUNDS – The Islanders have the Canadiens 4th round pick from the James Wisniewski trade in December 2010 and the LA Kings took their 5th round choice in return for Davis Drewiske in April.
SIXTH ROUND – Their 6th round choice was used to select winger Jeremy Gregoire at 176th overall. The 6’0″ 190 lb. centre split his time between Chicoutimi and Baie Comeau scoring a total of 19 goals and 13 assists in 62 games. However he broke out with QMJHL finalist Baie Comeau with 9 goals and 7 assists in 18 playoff games. He suffered a training camp knee injury in Chicoutimi which caused a slow start, leading eventually to a trade. He’s considered a hard nosed forward with some offensive upside. He was ranked 79th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
SEVENTH ROUND - The Canadiens traded their final choice in the draft to the Florida Panthers in return for a seventh round choice next year.
TSN Video of Canadiens First Round Selection and Interview with Mike McCarron and Marc Bergevin -