Friday, 21 June 2013

Can the Canadiens draft both Samuel Morin and Frédérik Gauthier in the first round?

Robert Rice and Arik Parnass of Habs blog "Eyes On The Prize" go back and forth choosing players in a mock draft of the 2013 NHL draft's first round.  As always, I'm drawn to that flame like the moth I am, and scrutinize their selections for auguries of the Canadiens' likely haul in the early rounds.

The eye popping detail for me is that in this version both Samuel Morin and Frédérik Gauthier are available when the Canadiens' turn to choose comes up.  Mr. Parnass selects the promising 6'6" Rimouski defenceman for the Habs, leaving Frédérik Gauthier to be snapped up by the Dallas Stars four picks later.

In recent interviews, Montréal General Manager Marc Bergevin and Director of Amateur Scouting Trevor Timmins both expressed some interest in trading up if the right opportunity presented itself.  If this scenario played out, there would be such an opportunity.

If the Canadiens value these players as they are generally ranked by scouting reports and NHL Central Scouting (Mr. Gauthier is ranked 8th among North American skaters, Mr. Morin 23rd), and due to the organizational need for more size in its prospect ranks, as well as the added appeal of adding native sons to the roster, then they should jump at the chance to snag them both at this late stage of the first round.  

Let's eliminate the possibility that the Canadiens have a plan in place on draft day to move up if Frédérik Gauthier is still available at a certain point in the first round, say #19, and have a deal worked out with the Blue Jackets in that eventuality.  Instead, let's say they sat back and 'let the draft come to them'.  They would thus be faced with the choice of both players in question at #25.  We can guess that they'd snap up Mr. Gauthier, he being the higher-ranked player generally and less likely to last much longer.  

Now Samuel Morin would be up for the next interested organization.  While he's not a 'safe' pick but rather a 'project', his combination of size, attitude and potential will probably make him too attractive for teams to pass him up much longer.  As they say, all you need is for one team to like a player for him to be drafted; it's not necessary that there be a general consensus.  

So the Canadiens would need to act fast.  Waiting and hoping for him to fall nine more slots might be unrealistic, not to mention agonizing.  Trading up would be the course of action here.

Looking at a couple of draft pick value charts, we find that the cost of acquiring a late-first round pick is very reasonable, especially with the ammo the Canadiens have amassed over the last couple of years.  One of our seconds and one of the thirds should be more than sufficient to barter with, all that would remain would be to find a team eager to trade down, and how much they'd want back in compensation.  As the old joke goes, at that point we'd have established what kind of a lady she is, and all that would remain is the dickering.

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