With the Montreal Canadiens season on hiatus, we have been taking a look back at some of their past drafts. Today, we look back and grade every pick from the 2011 NHL Draft.
The Montreal Canadiens have built up a great group of prospects in the past few years. We haven’t looked back at the most recent draft because it is a little too early to make any grand proclamations about 19 or 20 year old hockey players.
So, we have been looking back at the drafts a little earlier than that. We started with the 2017 NHL Draft and have been working our way backwards. Today, we take a look at the 2011 NHL Draft.
The Canadiens were a little thin on early picks in 2011. They had a solid regular season, finishing sixth in the Eastern Conference with 96 points. This meant they would have the 17th overall pick in the first round.
They didn’t have a second round pick because they traded it to the Florida Panthers a year earlier for Dominic Moore. The Canadiens would also move their third round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for a pair of fourth round picks later the same day.
This left the Habs with a first round pick and then a long wait until the fourth round before they would select again. They did have three picks in the fourth round and then had fifth, sixth and seventh round picks as well.
Let’s take a look at who they chose and give them a grade for every pick based on where they were selected, who else was available and went shortly after them, and how much production they got from each pick.
1st Round,17th Overall
Beaulieu was a good sized offensive defenceman who played with a physical edge as well. He had 45 points in 65 games in the QMJHL in his draft year and looked like a solid two-way top-four defenceman in the making. He has become an NHL regular but he has been a third pairing guy at best. Others available: Oscar Klefbom, Connor Murphy, Tyler Biggs (Ha!, Leafs)
4th Round,97th Overall
Didier is a big right-shot defenceman but he wasn’t a very high scorer even at the USHL level before the Habs drafted him. He played four seasons at the University of Denver, maxing out at 11 points in his senior season. He signed with the Habs in 2015 and played a depth role for the St. John’s Ice Caps for two years before leaving the organization as a free agent. Others available: Mike Reilly, Reid Boucher, Johnny Gaudreau
4th Round,108th Overall
Archambault had 20 goals and 53 points in 65 games in the QMJHL in his draft season. He played three more season of Junior, sticking around for an overage season before turning pro. He never signed with the Canadiens, instead becoming a free agent and signing with the Minnesota Wild organization. He hasn’t played an NHL game and is in the ECHL this season. Others available: Michael Mersch, Tobias Rieder
4th Round,113th Overall
Nygren was an interesting prospect for the Habs. The only problem was, he was reluctant to ever leave Sweden. Two years after being drafted by the Habs, he won the top defenceman award in SHL, Sweden’s best pro league. He played parts of two season in the AHL, but both times he left early to go back to Europe. He had 18 points in 31 career AHL games. A big, right shot defenceman who can put up points is a great find in the fourth round. Too bad he wanted to stay in Sweden. Others available: Tobias Rieder, Sean Kuraly
5th Round,138th Overall
Another good sized right defender, Dietz had 27 points in 68 games for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL in his draft year. He played two more Junior seasons before signing his entry-level contract. He stayed in the Habs organization for three years, getting into 13 NHL games where he scored a goal and five points. He now plays in the KHL. Others available: Andrew Shaw, Nikita Nesterov
6th Round,168th Overall
Pribyl was one of the top scorers in the Czech Republic Junior league when the Habs drafted him. He is a big centre and though he never signed with the Habs, he became one of the best players in the Czech pro league before signing as a free agent with the Calgary Flames in 2016. He was injured in camp and scored 15 points in 33 AHL games. Pribyl was a decent gamble with a sixth round pick. Others available: Dylan DeMelo, Josh Archibald
7th Round,198th Overall
Colin Sullivan is, of course, a decent sized right shooting defenceman. He was still playing prep school in the United States when the Habs drafted him and he played one more year there before heading to college. He never signed a pro contract after leaving NCAA hockey and currently plays pro in France. Others available: Ryan Dzingel, Alexey Marchenko, Ondrej Palat