|Danny Kristo has drawn comparisons to Mike Fisher of the Senators.
OTTAWA - For a third consecutive year, the Canadiens looked south of the border for their first pick at the NHL Entry Draft, selecting American winger Danny Kristo
"It feels awesome to be headed to a great hockey town like Montreal," said Kristo, a product of Team USA’s National Development Progam. "I had a good feeling after our interview at the combines. I even told my dad this morning that I thought I was going to be picked by the Canadiens. I've loved the Rocket since I was little kid too, so this really special to me."
Ranked 37th among North American skaters, Kristo has a year of high school left after which he will attend the University of North Dakota.
A native of Edina, MN, Kristo now has one more thing in common with fellow Minnesota products David Fischer and Ryan McDonagh, the Habs top picks in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
"I know Ryan and David well from back home which is special too," said the 5-foot-11, 172-pounder. "I have a year of high school still to go and now that I’m headed to Montreal, I'll make sure to take a little extra French classes starting in the fall!"
Kristo becomes the 12th winger to be a Habs top pick since the league’s first draft in 1969. Captain of the U.S. under-18 squad, Kristo was fourth in team scoring with 18 goals and 31 points this season.
“I’d say I’m an energy guy that’s for sure. My line even starts every game so we can set the tempo out there,” explained Kristo, who has been likened to the Senators’ Mike Fisher by Habs Director of Player Recruitment and Development, Trevor Timmins.
The 2008 Draft marks the first time the Canadiens have not had a first round selection since 1999. That year, the Habs traded their No. 10 pick to the Islanders for Trevor Linden and ended up making their first pick at 39th overall.
The Canadiens once again turned to the States with their other second round pick by selecting right winger Steve Quailer
at No. 86 overall. A speed demon like Kristo, Quailer was ranked 131st among North American skaters. The 6-foot-3, 184-pounder put up 49 points with Sioux City on his way to earning team rookie of the year honors. Quailer, who was not on hand for the draft, is set to attend Northeastern University next season.
Next up for the Habs was their 116th overall pick, which they used to snag supersized goalie Jason Missiaen of the Peterborough Petes. The Canadiens’ selection of the 6-foot-8 giant marked the first time Montreal has drafted a goalie since picking Carey Price
fifth overall in 2005.
|Jason Missiaen is the first goalie to be drafted by the Habs since Carey Price in 2005. |
“I started playing hockey when I was eight years old,” recalled Missiaen, the tallest player ever to be chosen by the Habs. “But the problem was that my mom insisted that I wear the most protection possible and that’s how I became a goalie.”
Ranked 23rd among North American goalies, Missiaen was nonetheless the 12th goalie to hear his named called at the Scotiabank Place this weekend.
“I wasn’t even sure I was going to show up today, but I definitely don’t regret having made the trip now,” admitted Missiaen with a smile. “I knew Montreal was interested in me, but I never expected to be picked so soon. This whole experience is hard for me to even put into words.”
The Canadiens then used the 138th overall pick obtained from the Flames in the Tanguay deal to select Russian forward Maxim Trunev
. A pure speed demon and among the youngest players chosen at this year’s draft, Trunev is expected to continue his career in North America beginning next season. Trunev is coming off a campaign in which he averaged over two points per game with Cherepovets.
The Habs then rounded out their draft class of 2008 by selecting Patrick Johnson
, who played with McDonagh at the University of Wisconsin in 2007-08.. The 5-foot-9, 155 pound center is the grandson of late Hockey Hall of Fame coach “Badger” Bob Johnson, who led Mario Lemieux and the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup in 1991.