Trevor Timmins' hunch about Andrei Kostitsyn is now paying off for the Canadiens.
MONTREAL - Young players like Guillaume Latendresse, Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby who rode the fast track to the NHL may grab headlines, but their rapid rise through the ranks is hardly the norm.
Experts often say it takes at least four to five years to accurately assess a draft crop. While the Habs' draft class of 2003 has been a seemingly slow developing one, it's actually right on schedule and proving to be well worth the wait. With Canadiens picks that summer Andrei Kostitsyn (10th overall), Maxim Lapierre (61st overall), and draft steal Jaroslav Halak (271st overall) all breaking in with the Habs this season, Director of Player Recruitment and Development Trevor Timmins couldn't be happier for the once fresh-faced kids he handed a jersey and cap to in Nashville that day.
"It's awesome to see our young guys come in and not just fill a sweater, but contribute the way they did for us this year," said Timmins. "Andrei has come right in and shown what he can do and Jaroslav was put in a really tough spot and he handled it extremely well.
"Maxim is a hard worker," added Timmins. "With Lapierre what you see is what you get: A solid forechecker who can also kill penalties for you."
After cutting his teeth with the Senators for over a decade, Timmins joined the Habs prior to the 2002-03 season. With such Ottawa finds as Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat and Jason Spezza already on his resume, Timmins has picked up right where he left off since coming to Montreal.
While Timmins' fingerprints may be all over the Canadiens' current explosion of young talent, the Habs' draft guru is quick to credit the rest of the organization for paving the way for these stars of tomorrow.
"Drafting these kids is one thing, but that's only the beginning," Timmins said. "The amazing work by our staff like Don Lever in Hamilton is a big reason they've arrived here used to our system and NHL-ready."
Timmins and his fleet of scouts scattered across the globe are hard at work on final preparations for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus. As for how they'll fare? Get back to them in 2010 or so.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com