Guest Post: Habs Open to Picking a First Round Defenseman?

Ryan Murray (photo by Marissa Baecker, Getty Images)

We’re happy to engage with our readers in the comments section, via social media and by opening up our pages to guest articles.  Today Joey Alfieri provides a unique perspective as he looks at the decision facing Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens.  Will he consider choosing a defenseman with the third pick overall in the NHL Entry Draft?  I’m sure that Joey would be glad to receive your comments.

by Joey Alfieri, Guest post to

MONTREAL, QC. — It’s no secret that everyone in Habs Nation expects the team to draft a forward third overall in Pittsburgh on Friday. Every mock draft seems to have the Canadiens selecting Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk. Nail Yakupov, Galchenyuk’s Sarnia teammate, has been the consensus number one pick all season. Whether Edmonton keeps the first overall pick or not, it would be surprising to see Yakupov drop at all.

Ryan Murray (photo by Marissa Baecker, Getty Images)

Who the Canadiens chose will obviously depend on the direction Columbus choses to go with, with the second overall pick. Many experts, including Craig Button of TSN, believe that Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips will be heading to the Jackets. Unfortunately though, drafts rarely go according to plan.

So what happens if Galchenyuk goes to Columbus and the Canadiens are left with Filip Forsberg or Ryan Murray? I know most people will lean towards selecting Forsberg only because the Canadiens have Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Morgan Ellis and company coming up on the blue line.

Should Murray be ruled out completely? I don’t think so. Nothing against Forsberg but having great depth on the blue line is important. I’m not saying the Habs don’t need a centre or top line winger but when you finish last in the eastern conference, it’s clear that you have many needs. There are several ways in which a Stanley Cup winner can be built. With the players and prospects they have in place, the Canadiens are clearly building from the back out.

Carey Price is the goalie of the present and future. Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban, Beaulieu and Tinordi are all part of the team’s core. As good as the Habs defense prospects are, the organization must consider drafting Murray because we just don’t know how those prospects will develop once they join the pro ranks.

All the great teams have a defenseman who is solid at both ends of the ice and who can be counted on to play over 30 minutes. Subban has proved he can play substantial minutes, but he still has defensive lapses in his own zone at times. The same can be said for Beaulieu, who admitted his defensive game has improved but still needs work. Tinordi is physical and solid in his own end but his point production was lacking in London.

Murray would give the Canadiens a strong two-way defenseman with a wealth of experience. Not many 18-year olds have played in the World Hockey Championships for Canada. Murray also has three years of experience at the CHL level.

“Coaches love him because he’s so consistent,” TSN’s Craig Button told the Montreal Gazette. “There’s not a lot of flash to his game but he’s a very good skater and he moves the puck very well.”