All Habs Mailbag: Bulldogs, Plekanec, Draft, Goalies

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by Chantal, Managing Editor, All Habs Hockey Magazine

MONTREAL, QC — I know a lot of things. Really, I do. But I don’t know everything. This week, I turned to a few of my colleagues to help answer your questions.allhabsmailbag

Do you have a question or a topic you would like us to discuss? Okay, here’s what you can do.

Let us know:

  1. who you are
  2. where you’re from
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  4. and of course, your question

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We’ll feature you, and your question, in the All Habs Mailbag!

Here’s what you wanted to know this week:

 

Who was the best Bulldogs player this season, and who has a shot at making the Habs roster next year?

Martin, Brossard

Hi Martin! To answer your question, I turn to my colleague Dan, our resident expert on everything Bulldogs:

“It was a disappointing season for the Bulldogs, finishing last overall in the American Hockey League, but that doesn’t mean the team was without some noteworthy performances. Nathan Beaulieu got off to a slow start to the year, adjusting to the pro level and also coming from a team which dominated its league to one that struggled mightily to win games. By roughly mid-season, he was the team’s most dynamic player, forming the top defensive pairing with Greg Pateryn. He is the prospect who showed the greatest development over the course of the year.

However, Jarred Tinordi may be the prospect with the best chances to start next season in Montreal, simply because his value proposition is more in line with that the Canadiens need. With Raphael DiazAndrei Markov, and P.K. Subban in the line-up, Beaulieu’s offensive skills are somewhat superfluous, though he should be ready to fill in for the diminishing Markov after next season. Tinordi, on the other hand, brings size and toughness, and will only continue to get better as he becomes more comfortable with his positioning on the ice and grows into his 6’6″ frame. Among forwards, three standouts project to playing different roles in the NHL.

The first is Gabriel Dumont, an AHL veteran who was likely the Bulldogs’ most consistent forward all season. He projects to play a fourth line role in the NHL, and could start the year with the Habs depending on what moves are made this summer. Next is Michael Bournival, who played a role for Hamilton not unlike Tomas Plekanec in Montreal. He is unlikely to bring Plekanec’s level of offense to the big leagues, but his two-way game is well-suited for a third line role with the Canadiens, and he’ll be available as an injury call-up at some point during the season.

Lastly, Patrick Holland is the most exciting offensive prospect with the Bulldogs. He is undersized, but is a creative playmaker whose confidence increased over the course of his AHL rookie season. The demands of a top six forward means the organization is likely to be patient with him, but he is the most likely of anyone who played the full year in Hamilton to eventually assume a scoring role in Montreal.”

Hi! Should Habs trade Tomas Plekanec?

Maryse, Montreal

Hi Maryse! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

No.

Now that the season is officially over, the Habs have their sights on the what looks to be a vintage draft. Who are potential targets?
Daniel

Hi Daniel! On this topic, I turned to colleagues Kathy and Simon for their guidance. Although Kathy has a thing for centermen, a winger might be more in line with the Canadiens needs in this upcoming draft. Simon likes Adam Erne (Quebec Remparts QMJHL), a 6 foot 200 pound natural scorer with surprising mobility given his stature. Anthony Mantha (Val D’Or Foreurs QMJHL) is another option at 6’3″, 180 lbs. He’s described as a sniper, who can be inconsistent at times and not all that reliable defensively, but he is a francophone and that might give him an edge with this new administration. Kathy also points out that he can be undisciplined and got himself suspended in the playoffs, which didn’t help his team at all and they eventually got swept.

Kerby Rychel (Windsor Spitfires OHL) is another potential draft pick for the Habs. Son of former NHLer Warren Rychel, he stands at 6’1″, 200 pounds. He’s a scorer with a physical game and the type of player you hate, unless he’s on your team. Kathy also points to a winger who might be available in the second round, Nick Sorensen, a 6’1″ point-per-game winger for the Quebec Remparts. He did spend a chunk of the season out of the lineup, and he did play for the early-exit Remparts, which is worth noting, but he is Eller’s countryman so you never know.

For even later rounds, Marc-Olivier Roy is an exciting young center for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL), except he’s a center. That might be a little bit problematic. Ditto with Jeremy Gregoire, who was a guy everyone wanted during the trade period this year.If the habs want a goalie, there is one Kathy knows who might be available (although she does admit to being a little biased on the matter), Louis-Philip Guindon (Drummondville Voltigeurs QMJHL). He did rise to stardom this year and manage to completely erase fellow volts’ goalie Domenic Graham’s name from CSS’ rankings which is no small feat. He might not get drafted at all, but she has hope.

Habs should pick around 22nd or 23rd in the first round. Here are the CSS rankings for North American skaters, position 15 to 30.

15  Horvat, Bo Center London OHL
16  Hartman, Ryan Right Wing Plymouth OHL
17  Rychel, Kerby Left Wing Windsor OHL
18  Carrier, William Left Wing Cape Breton QMJHL
19  Domi, Max Center London OHL
20  Lazar, Curtis Right Wing/Center Edmonton WHL
21  Lodge, Jimmy Center Saginaw OHL
22  Zadorov, Nikita Defenseman London OHL
23  Morin, Samuel Defenseman Rimouski QMJHL
24  McCoshen, Ian Defenseman Waterloo USHL
25  Klimchuk, Morgan Left Wing Regina WHL
26  Erne, Adam Left Wing Quebec QMJHL
27  Morrissey, Joshua Defenseman Prince Albert WHL
28  Dauphin, Laurent Center Chicoutimi QMJHL
29  Hayden, John Center USA U-18 USHL
30  Dickinson, Jason Center Guelph OHL

And the CSS rankings for European skaters:

15  Westlund, Wilhelm Defenseman Farjestad Jr. SWE-JR.
16  Wallmark, Lucas Right Wing Skelleftea Jr. SWE-JR.
17  Mironov, Andrei Defenseman Mvd Balashikha 2 RUSSIA-JR.
18  Dahlstrom, Carl Defenseman Djurgarden U18 SWEDEN-JR. U18
19  Arvidsson, Viktor Left Wing Skelleftea Jr. SWE-JR.
20  Slepyshev, Anton Left Wing Novokuznetsk RUSSIA
21  Rafikov, Rushan Defenseman Yaroslavl 2 RUSSIA-JR.
22  Djuse, Emil Defenseman Sodertalje SWEDEN-2
23  Ikonen, Juuso Left Wing Blues Jr. FINLAND-JR.
24  Henriksson, Alexander Right Wing Farjestad Jr. SWE-JR.
25  Cederholm, Anton Defenseman Rogle Jr. SWE-JR.
26  Hansson, Niklas Defenseman Rogle Jr. SWE-JR.
27  Hogger, Fabio Center Kloten Jr. SWISS-JR.
28 Cehlarik, Peter Left Wing Lulea Jr. SWE-JR.
29  Ohman, Victor Right Wing Modo Jr. SWE-JR.
30  Stetsenko, Sergei Defenseman CSKA 2 RUSSIA-JR.

I hope this helps! Make sure you visit our website in the upcoming weeks for our complete draft coverage.

Hello. Every player can lose their confidence for stretches of time during the season and lose their game. Can a goalie “lose his game” too?

Jonathan, Quebec City

Hi Jonathan. I contacted my colleague, and ex-goalie, Stevo on this, but he got distracted playing with a puppy. He has the attention span of a kitten (Stevo, not the puppy). I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “lose his game.” Every athlete struggles at times during their career. Sometimes things just don’t go their way, their confidence is shaken and they start questioning themselves. It’s been said again and again, as much as these athletes are well oiled machines, a big part of their game is indeed, mental.

A hockey player doesn’t forget how to skate, or how to score, just as a goalie doesn’t forget how to stop pucks. I believe that in some cases, if they feel they are in a slump, they can have doubts and start changing little things in their technique, for better or worst. Eventually, they all get back to what made them successful, and comfortable out there.

They’ll all tell you that when this occurs, they just have to continue working hard, pay attention to detail and get back on their game. I’m not a high profile athlete (I would kick your arse at badminton though), and I don’t fully comprehend the mental battle that sometimes comes with the physical one, but if the athlete is dedicated and supported, he or she will always bounce back.