After an improbably deep playoff run, the Montreal Canadiens began a new phase under a new general manager, Pierre Gauthier. In their first Entry Draft under Gauthier, the Canadiens defied some of their previous draft tendencies such as drafting players from Sweden and the BCHL.
Making five selections, the team added three forwards and two defensemen to their organizational stockpile.
The Canadiens had their sights set on the brooding blueliner from the United States National Team Development Program. To ensure they drafted the hulking Tinordi, the Canadiens swapped picks with the Coyotes, sending the 27th and 57th overall picks to Phoenix in exchange for the 22nd and 113th.
Though unaware of the extent of Montreal’s interest, Jarred, son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi, told Hockey’s Future he was pleased with the outcome. "You never have any idea with this sort of thing," said Tinordi about the uncertainty of the draft. "I’m definitely happy that Montreal picked me. It’s a great place for me and it’s a great organization with great fans. So I’m looking forward to it."
The 18-year-old expressed no reservations about being taken by the historic Montreal franchise, and whatever pressure it is accompanied by. "It feels great. You hear all about an organization like this and about their fans, so it’s definitely exciting to know that they have that confidence in me."
Committed to the University of Notre Dame for the 2010-2011 season, in addition to size and an NHL pedigree, the 6’6 Tinordi brings grit, and toughness. Captain of the USNTDP team, he also expects to bring an element of leadership to the Fighting Irish lineup as well. Of the opportunity, Tinordi said, "It should be exciting."
Mark MacMillan, F – Alberni Valley (BCHL)
4th round, 113th overall
Height: 6’0 Weight: 150 lbs
Because they traded up in to acquire Tinordi and because their 2010 third round selection was previously traded, Montreal had to wait well into the second day of the draft festivities to make another selection. With the 113th pick, acquired as part of the deal that enabled the Canadiens to land Tinordi in the first round, the team chose MacMillan with one of two fourth-round choices.
It is only the second time in over 10 years that Montreal has dipped into the BCHL talent pool, and the third time in their history. Most recently, the team took Ryan O’Byrne of the Nanaimo Clippers in the third round in 2003.
In his rookie season with Alberni Valley, MacMillan posted strong numbers, including 26 goals and 54 assists. His goal total, as well as his point total (80) was second best on the team, while his assist total led the team. Only Beau Bennett (PIT) recorded better figures as a rookie that season. For his efforts, MacMillan was named Coastal Conference rookie of the year. Bennett, meanwhile, who led the entire league in points, was named Interior Conference rookie of the year.
MacMillan has made a verbal commitment to the UND Fighting Sioux for 2011, where fellow Habs prospects Mike Cichy, and WJC gold medalist and WCHA rookie of the year Danny Kristo already call home.
Only about a handful of picks later, the Canadiens looked again towards their blue line corps, selecting Morgan Ellis. Though the QMJHL is a familiar source of talent to Montreal, Ellis is only the fourth player at his position to be taken by the team since 2000 – two of which were selected in the now defunct ninth round of the draft.
In a league noted primarily for offense, Ellis is a prototypical stay-at-home defender. In his second year of QMJHL competition, the Ellerslie, PEI native scored four goals and assisted on 25 others. A right-handed shot, at 6’1 197 pounds, Ellis is not overly imposing, but is nevertheless strong and smooth on his skates, and sound in his own zone. The 18-year-old brings a great deal of poise and composure on and off the ice. Next season, as announced at the QMJHL draft, Ellis will become Cape Breton’s team captain.
The Canadiens continued a growing trend for the organization in drafting undersized but immensely talented forwards when they selected the modestly sized Brendan Gallagher.
At 5’8, 163 pounds, Gallagher’s plays far bigger than his size. Through 72 games in 2009-10, he amassed 81 points, situating him among the league’s leaders. His 41 goals were good enough to place eighth overall. A swift skater with a quick, accurate shot, Gallagher is also a courageous player who is unafraid to enter high-traffic areas despite his size disadvantage. He has also been commended by Giant’s coach Don Hay for his intelligence.
Westin is an aggressive forechecker, able and willing to throw his weight around, and provide energy each time he is on the ice. In addition to having a strong work ethic, he has solid offensive instincts. In the coming years, Westin’s path is set. Prior to the draft, he signed a three-year contract with the SEL’s Modo.