6 Targets For The Montreal Canadiens In The First Round Of The 2020 NHL Draft

Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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QUEBEC CITY, QC – OCTOBER 11: Hendrix Lapierre (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)
QUEBEC CITY, QC – OCTOBER 11: Hendrix Lapierre (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images) /

Hendrix Lapierre

Hendrix Lapierre is an intriguing prospect in many ways. The 18-year-old Gatineau native is officially listed at 6’0”, 181-pounds. The left-shooting centerman had an impressive junior hockey debut in 2018 with the QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Saguenéens, netting 45 points in 48 games and was named Offensive Player of the Year. He also dazzled the scouts at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with 11 points in five games.

Despite an injury-shortened 2019/2020 season, where he scored 17 points in 19 games, Lapierre has impressed scouts with his high-end hockey IQ and elite potential.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Lapierre and his injury, however. Reports indicate that his apparent concussion injury was in fact a cervical (neck) injury. Lingering issues are a concern and even though other prospects have gone on to have successful careers, scouts are hesitant to rate Lapierre much higher.

Getting such a highly-regarded prospect at 16th overall would be a steal for the Montreal Canadiens despite these concerns. If Lapierre lives up to his billing, the Habs would finally have a homegrown talent with star potential.

Connor Zary

The 18-year-old Saskatoon center has absolutely torn up the WHL for the past two seasons. An elite offensive talent, Connor Zary would fill a pressing need in the Canadiens’ prospect pool.

In a pandemic shortened 2019-2020 season, Zary posted 86 points in 57 games, with 38 goals and 48 assists with the Kamloops Blazers. Zary can put it in the net as well as he passes and he possesses silky-smooth hands coupled with a slick wrist shot. Just imagine the damage he could do with Cole Caulfield riding shotgun.

At 6’0’’, 181-pounds, the left-shooting Zary would benefit from adding a bit of size to his frame since he’s keen on playing a very competitive and physical brand of hockey. For a player with such offensive talent, however, Zary’s skating ability holds him back from being considered in the top 10 picks. While Zary puts up points at an impressive rate, his ability to generate offence and drive plays leaves a lot to be desired.

Zary is projected to go somewhere between 15th and 18th, so if he’s available and is on the Canadiens’ draft board, expect the team to take a chance on the high-flying center.