OTTAWA – Another draft is now in the books, the Habs’ family has gained five new members and draft guru Trevor Timmins has that familiar smile on his face.
With their cupboard already loaded with talented prospects heading into the 2008 Draft, the Canadiens were more than happy with their weekend’s work even though they traded away their top pick.
“It was a very good day for us and we tried to hit a few homeruns,” said Canadiens Director of Player Recruitment and Development, Trevor Timmins, who has swung a hot bat for the Habs in recent years, to say the least. “We drafted some excellent young hockey players today.”
Known for his sleeper picks and late-draft gems, Timmins already has a hunch about which of his latest picks could end up surprising people.
“I think Maxim Trunev
will prove to be the steal of this draft,” predicted Timmins about his fifth-round pick. “I see him taking the same route as Sergei Kostitsyn. Even though no Canadian Junior team has acquired Maxim’s rights yet, it won’t be long before teams starting fighting over him.”
Trunev was the only non-North American player chosen by the Canadiens, who followed the league-wide trend that saw only 29 total Europeans picked out of the 211 players selected over the weekend.
“With all the uncertainty right now regarding the IIHF and the fact that we no longer even have a transfer agreement in place, there is a lot of risk involved in drafting a European player,” explained Timmins. “That’s what gives the U.S. programs the edge right now because teams know they will hold a player’s rights for four years. We used to have a two-year window for European players, but now, who knows?”
That being the case, the Canadiens selected a Canadian goalie from the OHL and three more U.S. born players, headlined by their top pick, Danny Kristo
“The success of the U.S. development program speaks for itself,” said Bob Gainey, regarding why the Habs have looked to the States with their top pick at six of the last nine Entry Drafts. “There are more and more players coming out of the U.S. these days and an increasing number going on to reach the NHL.”
After a few well-deserved days of rest and relaxation, Timmins and his scouting crew will be back scouring the globe in preparation for the 2009 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre next June.Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com