The Montreal Canadiens are always under plenty of scrutiny for their draft choices. Let’s take a look back on their performance at the 2015 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 2015 NHL Draft is a little too recent to look back on and come up with definitive grades for every pick. These players are 22 or 23 years old so they should be just about to hit their prime, but some of them could be late bloomers and have their best years in the future. Still, the league is on hiatus so why can’t we take a look back at old drafts and grade the Habs performance?
The 2014-15 season was the last time we saw the Canadiens actually win a playoff series. They took out “The Hamburglar” and the Ottawa Senators in six games before bowing out to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
They won the Atlantic Division that year with 110 points which meant their draft pick would not come until late in the first round. They held the 26th overall selection heading into the NHL Draft weekend and were without their second and fourth round picks because they had traded them to the Edmonton Oilers for Jeff Petry.
That left the Habs with just five selections in the 2015 NHL Draft, so let’s take a look at them all five years later and give them a grade for every pick.
1st Round,26th Overall
Juulsen looked like a solid two-way top-four defenceman of the future when the Habs picked him. It wasn’t a linear development, but starting last season, he looked ready for NHL action. Injuries robbed him of more than a year of games, but he just got healthy before the world went on hiatus. If not for injuries, he would already be pushing for a role in the Habs top-four. He’s still just 22 and could be a great two-way defender. Others available: Jacob Larsson, Anthony Beauviller, Nick Merkley
3rd Round,87th Overall
Vejdemo was passed over in 2014 but had a terrific 2014-15 season in Sweden’s top Junior league. He finally made the move to North America last year and has played decent, defensive minutes for the Laval Rocket. He has played seven NHL games and could be a defensive fourth line centre in the future. Others available: Aleksi Saarela, Nicolas Roy
5th Round,131st Overall
Bradley was a decent scoring winger for the Medicine Hat Tigers before being drafted. He had 40 points in 71 games and played a physical style. He developed into a point-per-game player in the WHL for his last two seasons, but did not sign with the Habs. He currently plays in the ECHL with the Newfoundland Grolwers where he had 34 points in 57 games this season. Others available: Dominik Simon, Kirill Kaprizov
6th Round,177th Overall
Bourque was an interesting prospect when he was taken in the fifth round. He had good size and mobility and quickly developed into an offensive presence as a defenceman in the QMJHL. He played one season in Laval but had just three points in 46 games before being involved in the Joel Armia trade. He now plays semi-pro hockey in the LNAH. Others available: Markus Nutivaara
7th Round,207th Overall
One of the last picks of the entire draft, Addison was a spark plug for the Ottawa 67’s at the time. He had 10 points in six OHL playoff games that year and scored 27 goals and 56 points the following year. He signed an entry-level contract with the Habs but injuries derailed his career as he played just six games in the 2017-18 season and none the following year. He played this season with St.F.X. University where he scored 26 points in 25 games. He could have been a decent player for the Laval Rocket if not for injuries. Others available: No one.