Montreal Canadiens: Grading Every Habs Pick From the 2017 NHL Draft

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Ryan Poehling poses for photos after being selected 25th overall by the Montreal Canadiens during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Ryan Poehling poses for photos after being selected 25th overall by the Montreal Canadiens during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens are always under plenty of scrutiny for their draft choices. Let’s take a look back on their performance at the 2017 NHL Draft.

The Montreal Canadiens have quickly built up a great group of prospects. They made 21 selections at the past two drafts and the sheer quantity of picks is sure to produce some NHL talent in the near future. However, it is still a little early to grade all of those picks as we don’t know how they are going to turn out.

Even the 2017 NHL Draft is a little too recent to look back on and come up with definitive grades for every pick. However, with the NHL calendar, as well as literally every other hockey league, on pause right now we thought it was as good a time as any to look back on some old drafts.

The 2017 season was the last time we saw the Canadiens made the playoffs. This means their first round pick would be later in the draft, especially since they won the Atlantic Division.

The Habs did have a few extra early round picks in the 2017 NHL Draft. They had not traded any of their picks in the first three rounds (part of that is because they chose to acquire Steve Ott, Andreas Martinsen and Dwight King when they needed a goal scorer) and they added a second round pick in the Lars Eller trade as well as a third round pick when they shipped Nathan Beaulieu to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Canadiens made seven picks in total, and when it comes to grading them, you have to decide what the actual value is of each pick. Getting a third pairing defenseman in the first round isn’t that exciting but getting the same player in the sixth round is a home run.

With that in mind, and the realization that most of these players are still only 21 years old, let’s go ahead and give the Habs a grade for every pick they made in the 2017 draft.

Poehling was one of the youngest players in college hockey before being drafted and put up 13 points in 35 games. He looked great the next two years and was dominant at the World Juniors. Getting a potential second line center who is better defensively than offensively late in the first round is good value. He had 13 points in 36 games for the Laval Rocket this season.<p><strong>Others available</strong>: <a rel=. 1st Round. 25th Overall. RYAN POEHLING. B+

JOSH BROOK. B. Brook was a productive defenceman before being drafted by the Habs in the second round. He had eight goals and 40 points in 69 games and seven more points in seven playoff games. He had a dominating Junior season as a 19 year old in 2018-19, scoring 75 points in 59 games. He looked to be a solid two-way top four defender in the making. His first season with Laval was disappointing, but he has all the tools to become a dependable second or third pairing right defenseman in the future.<p><strong>Others </strong><b>available: </b>Ian Mitchell</p>. 2nd Round. 56th Overall

B. Joni Ikonen was a good value pick late in the second round of his draft. He scored over a point per game in Sweden’s Junior league and was promoted to Sweden’s top league for ten games before being drafted by the Habs. He had great potential, but injuries have pretty much derailed the past two seasons for him. He had one played 13 games in Liiga, Finland’s top league, but has ten points in those games. This was a good pick, but injuries have robbed Ikonen of most of his value.<p><strong>Others available: </strong><a rel=. 2nd Round. 58th Overall. JONI IKONEN

SCOTT WALFORD. D. Walford was a long shot of a prospect from the day he was drafted. He had decent size, but his 30 points in 60 games didn’t exactly lead fans to believe he was the next PK Subban. His points per game went down the following season and then improved quite a bit in his 19 year old season. Walford is still in the WHL as an overager but the Habs lost his rights when they decided not to offer him a contract before last year’s draft.<p><strong>Others </strong><b>available: </b>Cale Fleury</p>. 3rd Round. 68th Overall

CALE FLEURY. A+. Fleury was a bit of a long shot at the draft, but it was mostly because he played on such poor teams in the WHL. He had 11 goals and 38 points in 70 games and played a punishing, physical defensive style. He really took off the following year when he was traded to a good team, and played 41 NHL games this season, even though he was just 20 to start the year.<p><strong>Others available: </strong>No one nearly as good.</p>. 3rd Round. 87th Overall

Tyszka was a big defender who put up 25 points in 54 games in the WHL before being drafted. (Did the Habs only scout defensemen from the WHL for this draft?) As a fifth round pick, he was a decent player to take a flyer on but it didn’t pan out as he did not sign with the Habs and is now playing University hockey in British Columbia where he had four points in 12 games.<p><strong>Others available: </strong>No one really, which is why the pick isn’t an F.</p>. 5th Round. 149th Overall. JARRET TYSZKA. C

CAYDEN PRIMEAU. A+. The Habs picked up a 7th round pick at the last minute and used it to select <a rel=. 7th Round. 199th Overall