MONTREAL - Louis Leblanc
was beside himself with excitement about being picked by his hometown Habs, and he wasn’t alone. His future bosses know the feeling.
Moments after leaving the podium, Bob Gainey and Trevor Timmins were basking in the afterglow of their crowd-pleasing first round selection.
“We were hoping that Louis would still be there at No. 18 and it got pretty tight there for minute. We were worried about a few teams picking ahead of us. We even tried to move up a couple of spots to get him, but everything worked out in the end,” said a relieved Timmins.
The Habs’ Director of Player Recruitment and Development couldn’t be happier with his latest acquisition. While Leblanc will be heading off to Boston in the fall to suit up for the Harvard Crimson in the NCAA, Timmins likes what he sees in the future Canadien.
“He participates in all aspects of the game both offensively and defensively,” offered Timmins. “Louis is also a hardnosed player who isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty and who loves to score goals. He played with Danny Kristo
in Omaha and he has great foot speed."
The fact that Leblanc represents the first French Canadian drafted in the opening round by the Habs since 1998 wasn't lost on Gainey either.
“Here in Canada and here in Quebec when you draft a player who has grown in the community and in the local youth hockey environment, it’s something we all try to nurture and grow,” explained Gainey.
“We’re talking about a French player going to Harvard – this won’t be a challenge for him,” vowed Gainey about his latest acquisition. “We expect he will continue to develop just as he did last year when he made the move to the USHL; it didn’t take him much time to make an impact.”
According to his new boss, the Montreal native already has all the tools necessary to eventually make the jump to the NHL.
“What attracted us to him was basically his skill set, his character, his intelligence and his ability to improve,” added the beaming GM. “In Louis, we got a real solid hockey player and a good person.” Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com
See also:Canadiens pick Louis Leblanc2009 NHL Entry Draft - Round by roundcanadiens.com draft centralBring it on Ready to rumble