The Montreal Canadiens have a mountain of picks ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft, and according to Trevor Timmins, there isn’t a defining need like in past years.
For a long time, the Montreal Canadiens were criticized over their poor performance on the draft floor. The two-day event saw them add stars such as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, and P.K. Subban, but there have been a lot more misses than hits. Fortunately, Trevor Timmins has kicked his scouting and drafting efforts up to a new level, and the Habs now have key prospects to look forward to in the future.
This started in 2017 when the Canadiens added the likes of Ryan Poehling, Josh Brook, Cale Fleury and Cayden Primeau to the program. All four have transitioned to the professional realm of hockey while Poehling, Fleury and Primeau have seen time in the NHL already.
That was the beginning of the organization truly acknowledging their needs, which was everything at that point.
The Montreal Canadiens used the 2017 NHL Draft to add defencemen, the 2018 NHL Draft for centres, but more specifically skill players with speed, and went back to the blue line for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Their first-round picks in each of those years were used to specifically focus on needs as well. Poehling and Jesperi Kotkaniemi were an attempt to add top-nine centres with the Montreal Canadiens, desperately searching for a true number one. Cole Caufield was an attempt to give the Habs a pure goal-scorer, something they haven’t had since trading Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Other players have stepped up to replace the scoring such as Gallagher, Tomas Tatar and Max Domi (more so last season), but the Habs don’t have a player who can get a goal in a pinch. A player who can turn nothing into something in a mere matter of seconds. Prospects such as Caufield and Alexander Romanov on the backend are the hopeful answers to those problems.
The Montreal Canadiens have 14 picks in the upcoming draft, and many are excited to see what they can do with them. Their first-round pick is drawing the most intrigue as it looks to be another top-ten selection.
Trevor Timmins had a media availability spot yesterday talking about the draft, and one thing he said stood out.
Is it true that the Montreal Canadiens don’t have a defining need to address? The organization has spent time adding players to cover certain dimensions of the game, as I mentioned earlier.
The Habs likely hope there comes a time where Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki are the 1-2 punch down the middle. They hope Romanov can be a top-pairing defenceman on the left side while Caufield is clapping bombs at all strengths every season. But that’s the danger of the word “hope” it’s not a reality until it is a reality.
Suzuki has been the only prospect to show significant steps to being what the Habs want him to be while Kotkaniemi and Poehling have taken steps back. I’m confident that they will get there, but I also believe it’s slightly dangerous to say the organization doesn’t have defining needs anymore. Those needs will pile up again as the established core ages, and the team needs more bodies to fill them.
Perhaps this was just a way to keep the Montreal Canadiens from showing their cards. The second part of the quote does sound like a fancy way of saying, “We’ll take the best player available,” which is a strategy you can’t beat.
There is a lot of game-breaking forwards available, and it’s hard to miss on a top-ten pick, especially in a draft this deep. The Montreal Canadiens have their work cut out for them, and although the organization may believe there are no defining needs, there are still needs nonetheless as you can never have enough game-breaking talent.