The Montreal Canadiens were looking to load up on skilled players with high levels of character, and they did just that at the 2022 NHL Draft.
When co-directors of amateur scouting Martin Lapointe and Nick Bobrov broke down their strategy after the 2022 NHL Draft, there was an underlying theme that connected each player: competitiveness and talent. That started right at the top of the draft when they selected Juraj Slafkosvky 1st overall, as the 6’4 power forward is an absolute menace on the ice; all while possessing some impressive skill.
“Juraj is a pretty impressive kid. Big, and has lots of room to grow. He’s a kid you want to be around. He’s got such charisma, you want to be around him. He wants to make a difference and that’s the way he plays the game. He’s not perfect, but wants to get better.” said Martin Lapointe when asked to describe what they liked about Slafkovsky.
The Montreal Canadiens continued their run of Slovakian forwards in the 1st round when they selected Filip Mesar at 26th overall. The speedy and skilled forward immediately caught their eye due to his immense skill and never-say-die attitude on the ice.
“Mesar is a C/W is very fast, slippery and smart. Great performances in the pro league. He was slotted to be at the WC too, but hurt his shoulder. He’s one of those guys that can skate and make plays, has a really good brain, and he’s relentless.” – said Nick Bobrov
The two childhood friends are eager to make their way to North America to continue growing their games and are hungry for the opportunity to play against bigger and tougher competition. The competitiveness and the desire to improve were two major components that general manager Kent Hughes was looking for when selecting his players this year, and both Slafkosvky and Mesar exemplify those characteristics quite well.
Montreal Canadiens Continue The Trend On Day 2
The Montreal Canadiens’ haul on Day 2 of the 2022 NHL Draft, especially early on, had many in the scouting world buzzing. Starting with the selection of centre Owen Beck with the 33rd overall pick, a rookie in the OHL this past season with the Mississauga Steelheads. The Canadiens were extremely high on his ability to compute the game at high speed and execute intelligent plays at the right time.
“Owen Beck is a 200-ft player. He’s a student of the game and in school. He’s got As in school, and he does A-things on the ice,” said Martin Lapointe of Beck’s game. “He was the best faceoff guy in the OHL. He competes, and makes plays, below the puck all the time. He’s a good kid, very mature.”
The Canadiens followed up the selection of Beck with a potential home run, as they picked the talented defenceman Lane Hutson at 62nd overall. Lane Hutson is perhaps the most intriguing defenceman in the 2022 NHL Draft, as his explosive skating and exceptional playmaking skills are absolutely off the charts. He plays a game predicated on carrying the puck up the ice with incredible speed; making him highly effective for both zone exits and zone entries in open ice. The main concern of some scouts is his small stature (5’8, 159 lbs), as it is tough for defencemen of that size to defend at the NHL level, especially in the playoffs.
“Lane Hutson most people had higher. We believe he was the USNDT’s best D. He’s not a fully developed player, but he has a big brain. His hockey sense is interesting. He’s got a chip on his shoulder. You have to go after those types of d Dmen because they’re hard to find.”
Ultimately, the raw skills and skating ability would have made Hutson a great gamble for any team in the late 1st round or early 2nd round, let alone the late 2nd round. He’ll have all the time to develop at his pace in the NCAA next season for Boston University.
With their 75th overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens went for a scrappy centre out of the OHL in Vinzenz Rohrer. The son of an Austrian Tennis player and good friend of Minnesota Wild prospect Marco Rossi, Rohrer came over to play for the Ottawa 67s this year and put up some very respectable numbers on a very young team.
“Rohrer came from Austria in his first year in the OHL and excelled at basically everything he touches, including hockey,” said Nick Borbron on Rohrer. ” We tried to beat him at ping-pong, and it didn’t work out so well. He combines substance and flash and plays the game the right way.”
Martin Lapointe was very excited about the pick that he even went on to add why the club believes Rohrer could be the true sleeper in this draft class.
“Vinzenz Rohrer, you want to be around him. Everything he touches, he excels at it. He’s an athlete, and he plays the right way,” said Martin Lapointe on the young Austrian.
When looking back at the first three picks on Day 2, Lapointe and Bobrov believed that they had achieved what they wanted to do in adding more skill and competitiveness to their prospect pool.
“All three play the game the right way. Usually, in each round, you have some flash and you have substance. You try to find both aspects in the same player and we believe that all three combined those qualities,” said Nick Bobrov regarding the characteristics of Beck, Hutson and Rohrer.
With the Montreal Canadiens Development Camp ready to start on Monday, it will be interesting for Canadiens fans to get acquainted with these youngsters as they begin their journey to becoming NHL regulars.