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Habs Prospects

Canadiens First-Round Draft Pick Options With 31st Overall Pick



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens will make a very important decision on June 28 in Nashville, but there’s more to the first round than just the fifth overall pick.

Thanks to the trade that sent Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers, the Canadiens will pick twice in the first round, with their 2nd first-round pick landing at 31st overall.

With the NHL’s Entry Draft quickly approaching, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a look at some of the players that may be available when the Canadiens take to the podium for the second time on Wednesday.

Oliver Bonk, Defenceman, Shoots Right, London Knights (OHL)

Bonk is the son of former mulleted Canadiens forward, Radek Bonk. Canadiens fans may be familiar with his style of play given that he featured on the same team as Logan Mailloux last season. He finished behind Mailloux in scoring, with 10 goals and 30 assists in 67 games, making him the second-most productive blueliner in London.

Habs POV: The Canadiens certainly need more right defencemen in their prospect pool, but there are a few things about Bonk’s style of play that leaves something to be desired. Inconsistency isn’t unusual in the OHL, but in Bonk’s case, it’s rather drastic. He’ll go from the most noticeable player on the ice one night to being invisible the very next game. He’s very responsible defensively. His skill set is still very raw, which means there’s a lot more potential to unlock, but I’m not convinced he’ll be able to translate his production from the back end to professional hockey.

Draft Rankings: Flo Hockey has Bonk ranked the earliest, at 26th overall. However, there’s a significant discrepancy in the overall rankings, with some outlets placing him as low as 86th overall.

Bradly Nadeau, Centre, Shoots Right, Penticton Vees (BCHL)

Nadeau had a very good regular season in the BCHL, scoring 45 goals and 68 assists in 54 games for the powerhouse Vees. But it was in the playoffs when he truly shone brightest, scoring 17 goals and 18 assists in 17 games. It’s worth noting that much of his production came on the powerplay, which is always a concern when a player is evolving in a league such as the BCHL.

Habs POV: Nadeau is an excellent shooter, which is definitely an area in which the Canadiens could stand to add some talent. He relies on three things: pinpoint accuracy, a deceptive release, and an ungodly amount of power. He’s committed to playing for the University of Maine (NCAA) next season, which means he’s probably heading toward a slow and steady development path, the perfect journey for a player that doesn’t necessarily project as a top-line player.

Draft Rankings: McKeen’s has Nadeau ranked the highest, at 27th overall. Recruit Scouting has Nadeau ranked the lowest, at 45th overall.

Ethan Gauthier, RW, Shoots Right, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)

You may remember Gauthier making headlines when he stated he’s confident the Canadiens would strongly consider drafting him if he’s available with the 31st overall pick. The feisty forward, who models his game on the Tkachuk brothers, was also the player Bob McKenzie listed going to the Habs in the most recent edition of his consensus rankings. He earned 30 goals and 39 assists playing with Joshua Roy and the Phoenix last season, though it should be noted that he was on a roster with several 19-year-old players, and wasn’t afforded as many opportunities as some of his teammates.

Canadiens POV: Gauthier is an honest player, in that he’ll give his all every shift and you won’t have to worry about his work ethic. He battles like a scorned honey badger in front of the net, which often leads to opposing defencemen losing their cool. I’d argue that he doesn’t possess high-end skills and his skating stands to be improved, which makes picking him in the first round a somewhat underwhelming proposal.

Draft Rankings: Craig Button has Gauthier ranked highest, at 17th overall. Smaht Scouting, on the other hand, has Gauthier ranked 79th overall. The vast majority of draft rankings have Gauthier ranked outside of the first round.

Gavin Brindley, RW, Shoots Right, University of Michigan (NCAA)

At 5’8″, Brindley is one of the shortest players available this year. He’s a tireless worker, using his anticipation to cover large swaths of the ice during his shifts. The first half of his season was rather concerning, but Brindley found his rhythm as the season went on. He scored 12 goals and 26 assists in 41 games last season, though he did his best work as a stalwart defensive forward. He’s the type of player that hasn’t yet unlocked his full potential, which makes his lack of offensive punch a little easier to accept.

Canadiens POV: His skating is very good, but it’s not necessarily elite, which makes his diminutive size a concern. It’s also worth remembering defensive specialists can be found throughout the draft, whereas players with offensive potential are usually gone by the time the second round is over.

Draft Rankings: Several outlets are rather high on Brindley, ranking him as early as 9th, 13th, and 15th overall. On the flip side, Craig Button ranked him 40th. Bob McKenzie, who puts together consensus rankings, had Brindley as the 30th overall prospect.

Quentin Musty, LW, Shoots Left, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

Musty is one of the most interesting players that will be available in Nashville. He’s a physically mature player with average skating, and projects as a forward who can create chaos in the offensive zone due to his penchant for using his 6’2″ frame to his advantage. Musty, one of the youngest players in this draft class, earned 26 goals and 52 assists in 53 games last season.

Habs POV: Musty is the type of player Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton love. He’s intense and has enough talent to make an impact at both ends of the rink and in all situations. He has a great shot, too, which makes him even more appealing to the Canadiens. He’s also a very good communicator, which should serve him well in interviews with NHL teams.

Draft Rankings: Musty’s rankings are all over the place. Some outlets have him ranked as high as 12th, whereas others have him outside the first round. In all likelihood, he won’t be available at 31st overall, but if he is, the Canadiens should pounce.

More Options

The most exciting aspect of this draft is that the Canadiens should leave the first round with two very talented players. There are no guarantees, but a player such as Gracyn Sawchyn, who played alongside Jared Davidson and the powerhouse Seattle Thunderbirds, could end up becoming an impact player. Gracyn was ranked anywhere from 13th overall to 47th overall

And then there’s the matter of the Russian prospects. Players like Daniil But and Mikhail Gulyayev should be long gone by the time the 31st pick rolls around, but given the current situation in Russia, the Canadiens may find themselves with a chance to pick a player who should have been among the top 15 prospects chosen.

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but marc… shouldnt we use #31 for a goalie!!


I like Halttunen at 37 and either nadeau or musty would be good. No more smurfs

If we draft MM (PLEASE!!) and Daniil but is around…doubling down on the russians could be a good thing…provide a comfort level…

Alex Barrette

Good goalies should be available in the 3rd or 4th round. No need to draft them early. Ide rather gamble with a 3rd or 4th or trade for a 22 years old up and coming goalie.

Don Cannon

Halttunen is not a great skater. He didn’t show well playing “up” this year.

Alex Barrette

There will be a ton of options comes 31 surprisingly. I like the idea that Cristall or Dragicevic will be available. They both fit criteria the habs need even if they have flaws, they remain very talented. Maybe Danil But is there because he’s a russian. I like the prototype of 6f5 wingers with good skills and skating.

And then there is Danny Nelson that i really like. 6f3 203 pounds. One of the youngest available at the draft , been playing a secondary role on usndtp but has a great shot good skating good hands and puck protection. He’s probably going very early 2nd round.

Nick Lardis could be a good gamble early second round, i like the player. Etienne Morin should be available too.

There’s alot to like. And it gets me excited for Wednesday.

Alex Barrette

Him and But should be primary targets for a trade up if they think they wont be there at 31.

Alex Barrette

We’ll its a mock draft… so it doesnt bother me. Lol I’ll be mad if they really pick some bambouzle from Greenland that nobody knows on Wednesday tho. Lol

Really hoping we dont overthink it and just pick the best player available at #5 . They better not come up with some BS like Reinbawho or Ryan “im the next matthew tkachuk left ball” Leonard.


Hrabal or augustyne at 31???

Don Cannon

You’ve done your homework.


I read that Quentin Musty has been a problem off ice but he has load of talent I would swing for the fence for this player.


Re: Bonk. I think Nichols will develop him. The tools are there.

Pierre B.

Looking at 17 different published mock drafts, here’s what I took out of it:
Who are the best skaters who could still be available at #31 and how often they are?
Sawchyn – 100%
Ziemmer – 94%
Halttunen – 88%
Perron – 88%
Nadeau – 71%
Gulyayev – 65%
Stramel – 59%
Gauthier – 59%
Heidt – 53%
Dragicevic – 53%
Edström – 35%
Cristall – 35%
Brindley – 29%
Stenberg – 18%
Bonk – 12%
In 5 of the 17 mock drafts, a prospect who should not be available slipped to #31; it happens in 29% of the mock drafts and the prospects were Benson, Danielson, Simashev, Musty, Willander.

Goalies are rarely drafted in the first round. Only Hrabal was in these mock drafts. He’s available 76% of the times at #31.

Don Cannon

One scouting report I read said that Haltunnen, because he is a big guy, is slow to get off the mark. That doesn’t work in the NHL.

Don Cannon

Lots of wishful thinking in this piece.I would avoid the Russians. Too much risk, especially with the dust-up at the Kremlin today. Putin can be vengeful.