(Nashville) Before arriving in Nashville, the Canadian had only one goalkeeper in his entire organization who is not yet playing in the professional ranks. He now has four.
The team filled up with masked men in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, getting their hands on American Jacob Fowler (69th), Quebecer Quentin Miller (128th) and Russian Yevgeni Volokhin (144th).
In this sense, when Martin Lapointe, co-director of recruiting for the Habs, says that “you can never have enough goalies”, he may be betraying a new orientation of the Hughes-Gorton administration. Because the Canadian has not exactly been a goalkeeper factory for fifteen years.
The last two goalkeepers drafted in Montreal and become established NHL goaltenders are Jaroslav Halak (2003) and Carey Price (2005). One could potentially add the name of Charlie Lindgren, hired as a free agent upon leaving university in 2016. The list, however, is short.
In the current organization chart, behind Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen, we find Cayden Primeau and Jakub Dobes. Drafted in 2021, Joe Vrbetic played with the Trois-Rivières Lions and the Laval Rocket last season and, even if the CH retained their rights on him, he does not seem to belong to the future of the franchise. Only Emerett Croteau, selected in 2022, continues his development in the United States – he will join Clarkson University next fall after three seasons in the USHL.
Lapointe was not very eloquent about the club’s desire to replenish its bank of hopes in net. He admitted that players in this position “take longer to develop”. And that those who were claimed on Thursday “fitted” with the Canadian.
Jacob Fowler was the goaltender par excellence during the last campaign in the USHL, American junior circuit. He is recognized for his reading of the game and for his simple, no-nonsense style.
As William Rousseau’s assistant with the Quebec Remparts, Quentin Miller hasn’t seen much action in recent months. This did not prevent about twenty teams from communicating with him. CH goalie scout Vincent Riendeau “loves him,” according to Martin Lapointe. His individual skills and his large size pleased the Habs. “He’s a student of the game. He has a great development ahead of him,” added Lapointe.
As for Volokhin, he presented good statistics in the MHL, Russian junior circuit, but also in a reduced sample. CH recruiters followed him from afar, by video. “We see its potential,” noted Lapointe, in essence, without really saying more.
Since he comes from the Canadian League, Miller has two years ahead of him to convince the Canadian to put him under contract. Fowler is four years old. Volokhin, for his part, has all the time in the world, since no such rule exists for players drafted in Russia.
Apart from this obvious intention to find goalies, the Canadian did not really offer a guideline in this draft. Two Russians, the first selected by the current management. Only two Canadians – Quentin Miller and Florian Xhekaj, the other’s brother.
Regarding Russia, Nick Bobrov, also co-director of recruitment, estimated that the potential remaining at the end of this repechage was on the side of this country. “We did our homework,” he said. We felt that the risk [of choosing them] was low and the return potentially very high. »
Moreover, the CH stood out by drafting four players who were in their second, or even their third year of eligibility – the “overagers”, in English. There too, the justification was not clear.
To tell the truth, neither Lapointe nor Bobrov seemed particularly enthusiastic about their harvest of the day.
“We’re happy,” Bobrov said anyway. But the work begins tomorrow for these young people. We tried to diversify the players we chose. We want to add to the culture that management is trying to build. »
He was more generous about David Reinbacher, drafted in the first round the day before.
“His potential is very intriguing and hard to find,” he said of the Austrian defender. Every year, teams try to advance to the draft to acquire players like him. We feel privileged that he was available at our rank. We put a lot of hope in him. »
The organization was not only charmed by his qualities as a hockey player, but also by “what we know about him”, his personality, again linked to “the culture” that Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes claim to be building. .
“We felt he was in the right place,” Bobrov concluded.
4e tour, 101e au total
Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Martin Lapointe: “We know the family, we know Arber. The apple does not fall far from the tree. He has a lot of fighting spirit in his game. He will improve from year to year, we believe in his talent. He brings a physical dimension to our team. »
4th round, 110th overall
Defender, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)
Martin Lapointe: “My former teammate Igor Larionov had him on his team. He told me he was one of his smartest defenders. Its potential is impressive. Nick [Bobrov] saw it on video. We believe in his abilities. »
5th round, 133rd overall
Forward, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Martin Lapointe: “He competes well, he has a good shot. He’s a guy who’s going to go to the University of Denver, he’s going to be able to develop. The character he brings to his team, we like that. »
6e tour, 165e au total
Attacker, Växjö Lakers HC (Suède)
Martin Lapointe: “He didn’t play much last season because he was injured. He will spend another season in Sweden. That’s a good hockey head. He anticipates the game well without the puck. He’s smart on the ice. »
7e tour, 197e au total
Defenseman, University of Minnesota (NCAA)
Martin Lapointe: “He carries the puck well. He’s not a big guy, but he defends well and he has a good shot. »