It's still bugging me. This should have been the Canadiens' draft.
(Note: picks with strikethrough are replaced with options in italics)
1 25 25 MTL Michael McCarron RW USA 6' 5" 228
2 4 34 MTL Jacob De La Rose LW SWE 6' 2" 190
2 6 36 MTL Zachary Fucale G CAN 6' 1" 181
3 3 64 NSH Jonathan-I. Diaby D CAN 6' 5" 223
3 27 88 EDM Anton Slepyshev LW RUS 6' 2" 194 or
4 3 94 EDM Jackson Houck RW CAN 6' 0" 186
4 2 93 COL Mason Geertsen D CAN 6' 3" 199 or
4 19 110 NYR Ryan Graves D CAN 6' 4" 220 or
4 24 115 VAN Jordan Subban D CAN 5' 9" 175
4 27 118 LAK Hudson Fasching RW USA 6' 1" 213 or
5 18 139 DET Mitch Wheaton D CAN 6' 4" 228
6 25 176 MTL Jeremy Gregoire C CAN 5' 11"190
Now hear me out. I know that's the worst type of revisionism, second-guessing a team's picks without their inside knowledge, their scouting reports, etc. I'm still going to do it. In most cases, I'm not hung up on a particular player, I'd have been okay with picking a player rated in the same cluster, but with different attributes (size and toughness) that earn them that grade.
As you can see, I'm not touching the first three picks, since I feel the Canadiens were doing fine until that point, and were addressing some organizational needs with those players. I can't argue, really, that one specific player would have been better than the incumbents.
At pick #55 though, we're starting to fishtail off the road. I really don't discount that Arturri Lehkonen is a highly skilled forward, and I understand that he's already playing with men in Finland. Still, I'll believe when I see him scoring a goal while chewing on Dion Phaneuf's VaporLite. Instead, the Canadiens should have picked giant defenceman and local kid Jonathan-Ismaël Diaby, as an adjunct to Jarred Tinordi in the medium term. While guys like Darren Dietz, Dalton Thrower and even Nathan Beaulieu play a physical style, they'd benefit from a bigger prospect who brings additional toughness to the ranks. It was a squandered opportunity to not add this guy to our system, as he'll be difficult to match up against in the NHL; he won't be just tall, but strong as an ox.
The Connor Crisp pick at 71 is difficult for me to argue against, since I militate for a more physical prospect profile, but I'm going to do so anyway. Instead of a beefing-up reaction to the previous pick, if we already had the size of Mr. Diaby on board, we could focus on a big scorer like Anton Slepyshev, and take a second kick at the Alex Avtsin-Andrei Kostitsyn can, the undervalued (Bielo)Russian pick that could hit the jackpot. Or, to play it safer, we could take ho-hum Jackson Houck from the Giants, a bigger Brian Skrudland-type. He'd bring grit and hard work and leadership to the fold.
#86, with Sven Andrighetto, we're launching off the road into the ditch. Why we take a chance on a short offensive player, when we've already got Mr. Lehkonen on the books, and Charles Hudon, Sebastian Collberg, Tim Bozon, and (at the time) Danny Kristo on the farm, is difficult to explain. Instead, we could have taken heart-and-soul tough guy defenceman Mason Geertsen of the Vancouver Giants, or PEI Rocket Ryan Graves. Yes, we've taken Jonathan Diaby in the second round in my parallel universe, but you can't know which players will make it to the NHL eventually. We increase our odds of having a bigger defenceman to go along with Jarred Tinordi by taking a second d-man, whether Mr. Geertsen or Mr. Graves. If both Mr. Diaby and the big d-man picked here pan out, that's a great 'problem' to have.
If we were to take a "homerun swing" on a smaller player, I would have preferred we take it on Jordan Subban, P.K.'s little brother, and see if he can make something of himself. Maybe by the time he's ready for The Show in three or four years, with the expected turnover in personnel, we'd actually have room and opportunity on our blue line for a smaller offensive specialist, like the Bruins had for Torey Krug this playoff. That's if we had to take the smaller player gambit. I really, really liked Mason Geertsen. Man he'd have worn the bleu blanc rouge proudly, like a bigger Lyle Odelein. In my parallel universe.
Once we get to pick #115, with which we drafted Martin Reway, we're upside down in the weeds with pond water slowly filling the passenger compartment. We don't know if we can recover from this. He is the player-pick Trevor Timmins himself described as his "homerun swing". The thing with swinging for the fences, instead of trying to make solid contact, is that you strike out a lot more that way. Especially since the howling wind of idiocy which is buffeting the NHL right now is blowing in our face and keeping the ball in the park. Mike Milbury's and Don Cherry's constant effluvia of argle-bargle makes it hard to connect with 5'9" players. Instead, still on the board was Hudson Fasching, a big winger with the USNTDP with a cool story of how he had to mature quickly to help care for family members stricken with a genetic disorder. Ben Kerr had a glowing review, and compared his style to Andrew Ladd. We're in the fifth round, this kid slipped down from a potential 2nd round pick, let's take a cut at this pitch instead. It seems so easy to me. Or, let's spin the Kelowna Rockets Big Wheel of Big Defenceman and land on towering project Mitchell Wheaton, see how he turns out.
The obvious criticism of my re-draft will be that I don't know the players, and I'm only focusing on size. And we can go back and forth. My point again remains that we needed to complement what we already have on the farm, take players with size to assist the smaller scorers like Sebastian Collberg and Brendan Gallagher, and the tweeners like Louis Leblanc and Michaël Bournival. And I think this re-draft demonstrates that there were talented prospects that would have served our purposes well but also were not as bafflingly small as Messrs. Lehkonen, Andrighetto and Reway.