It’s always difficult to sift through the winners and losers of an NHL draft in the hours after the final picks are made.
In general, it takes years, not minutes, to analyze who fared well in attempting to select the best future pros when they’re just 18 years old and still developing.
That said, you have to like what the Montreal Canadiens and new GM Marc Bergevin accomplished this weekend in Pittsburgh.
On Day 1, they got the player they wanted in Sarnia Sting centre Alex Galchenyuk at No. 3.
On Day 2, they benefited from several highly ranked prospects like Sebastien Collberg, Dalton Thrower and Tim Bozon – all of whom were in the top 30 on several pre-draft lists – falling to them at 33rd, 51st and 64th overall.
Bergevin, who is still getting used to his new role and team after being named to the top job in early May, was impressed with how his staff came together on draft day.
“I’m very happy the way it went down,” he said. “All our picks, we didn’t think most of these guys would have been there. … For the most part, our guys were there and we were surprised.
“I’m very excited for my first draft. Time will tell obviously, but I’m proud of our guys that we picked today.”
Bergevin was particularly pleased with the work of head scout Trevor Timmins, who the organization has retained despite all of the other management changes.
Timmins has had some impressive drafts in the past, including 2007 when they landed Ryan McDonagh, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber in the first three rounds alone.
“I was a fan [going into the draft], but I’m more a fan coming out of it,” Bergevin said of Timmins. “We all know how the draft works out, but the way he manages staff, the way he talks to people, this guy is class. Above all, I enjoy working with Trev.
“I feel our staff are excited. It’s a new start and sometimes change can be hard, but I think they’ve taken it positively.”
Bozon, in particular, stands out as a potential gem. The son of Philippe Bozon, one of the few players from France to make the NHL, he really impressed and surprised people with the Kamloops Blazers organization in putting up 71 points in 71 games after playing exclusively in Switzerland before this season.
Scouts are very high on his work ethic and willingness to improve, two things his father – a coach in the Swiss leagues – helped him develop.
“I hope it’s the start of a good story, but he’s got a lot of work to do,” the elder Bozon said. “Draft is one thing. Getting invited and signing with a club is one thing. But it’s all what he’s going to do in the next two years if it’s going to make him an NHL player or not.”
Here were a few more of Bergevin’s thoughts on how the weekend went:
Bergevin on Collberg: “Top two lines. Top six. With a scoring touch and with character. …I saw him play in Finland in February. Throughout my career, I’ve never played with a bad Swede. They’re all great kids. They are. ”
Bergevin on Thrower: “I saw him play at the prospect game in Kelowna. He went after the big kid, [Tom] Wilson, the biggest kid in the draft, and I remember I was asking ‘Who is this kid?’ When he was there, there was no way we were going to pass on him.”
Bergevin on July 1: “We’ll be looking for sure to add players, but July 1 is a frenzy so we’re going to keep our eyes open. … We’ll definitely have talks with our staff prior to July 1.”