Canadiens Draft Review

By Charles Pace

Here are the Montreal Canadiens’ eight draft picks in the 2001 year entry draft. This is the first draft under Andre Savard.

#7 – Mike Komisarek, 6’4″ 225 lbs.

There seems to be two Mike Komisareks out there, at least offensively. On the top pairing at Michigan with San Jose Sharks draft pick Jeff Jillson, he had 11 points in 26 games against conference rivals, not too bad for a freshman, it was against non-conference rivals that he tended to struggle scoring only 5 points. He has a commitment to finish school, it shows he isn’t just in it for the bucks, but for the game too. He is as good physically, and defensively as all the reports say, and he skates like the wind. The concern is his offence, he needs more presence in the offensive zone, but he has three years to work on his offence, and since the rest of his game is already NHL ready, he will make the team eventually.

#25 – Aleksandr Perezhogin, 5’11” 185 lbs.

Not many people have seen Perezhogin play since he wasn’t at the WJC, and like most people am basing my opinion on him solely on what scouts have had to say. He is an excellent skater, and has good vision and puck handling. But there seems to be a consensus that he needs to capitalize more on his offensive chances and show that he is capable of playing a more NHL-like physical game, since he is only 5-11, 185 lbs this could be a concern. He had a solid if not spectacular season with Avangard Omsk’s 3rd division team in 1999-00 with 23 points in 22 games, but his real attention grabber for scouts was at WJU18’s this year, where he scored 7 points in 6 games, and shown a great offensive flair around the net. Since he was definitely the best chance remaining at a potential sniper, this was a good pick.

#37 – Duncan Milroy, 6’0 180 lbs.

His offensive improvement this season was amazing, he had 38 goals and a total of 92 points in 68 games this year for Swift Current in the WHL. He has played well this year, and his skating isn’t really as big a problem as reported. In the NHL he’ll be very similar to Darcy Tucker, a gritty third line player who can chip in 35-40 points a year. It’s possible he could have an upside very similar to Brendan Morrow if he adds a little weight and works on his skating stride.

#71 – Tomas Plekanec, 5’10 190 lbs.

This guy didn’t get a whole lot of ice time at the WJC’s where he had 1 goal and 1 assist in 7 games this year. He is a great skater, and that he more physically developed than most 18-year-olds, and even played 3 games with Kladno’s big team in 1998-99 as a 16-year-old.

#109 – Martti Jarventie, 5’11 185 lbs.

Jarventie is a overage player in Finland, where he plays for Saku Koivu’s old team TPS Turku. He played 56 games for them this year scoring 19 points. He also had 3 points in 10 playoff games. Jarventie is a gifted offensive player, and a good skater, but is lacking a little in the size department. The big knock on him has always been that his play in his own zone wasn’t very good, however this year he finished +13, and may finally be maturing in that aspect of his game. He is only 25 years old, and that may be why we are seeing his game start to mature now.

#171 – Eric Himelfarb, 5’10 161 lbs.

There is no one out there who doubts whether Eric can score; they only wonder whether he will be able to do it at another level. He scored 31 goals and 75 points this season on Sarnia’s top line playing with another Canadiens’ draft pick Alexander Buturlin in only 49 games. He is a good skater, and has great hands, but is so small. The one thing that Himelfarb has going for him is his desire, he isn’t afraid to play in traffic and take an occasional hit (much the same as current smallish habs Saku Koivu and Oleg Petrov). But you have to think that unless he bulks up his barely 160 pound frame he is going nowhere fast. This pick shows if Andre Savard likes a player, he isn’t afraid to take a chance on him.

#203 – Andrew Archer, 6’4 194 lbs.

Archer is a big guy and knows how to use his 6’4 frame. He is a punishing hitter who is extremely hard to knock off his skates and is excellent in his own zone. Just don’t look for him to be the next Paul Coffey, as he has a whopping 3 assists in 99 OHL games. (He doubled his output of last year this season with Guelph scoring 2 assists.) Archer is a very similar player to Matt Carkner(drafted by Montreal in 1999 signed in 2001 with San Jose after Montreal failed to come to terms with him), the only difference being that Archer is a little better skater, and a little less offensively talented.

#266 – Viktor Ujcik, 5’10 195 lbs.

Viktor is the second overage European draftee selected by Savard and co. in this year’s draft. He is getting up there at 29 years old, and if he comes over to North America its probably going to be fairly soon. This season in the Czech Extraliga he started the season with Zelezarny Trinec, and had 20 points in 31 games. He was then transferred to Slavia Praha and in their remaining 19 games had 18 points for a total of 38 points in 50 regular season games. Where he really excelled was in the playoffs, with 8 goals and 16 points in 11 playoff games. He was also one of the stars for the Czech Republic in this year’s World Championships, scoring 6 goals and 7 points in 9 games against NHL-caliber competition. If they can convince Ujcik to come over, then he was well worth the 9th round selection.

During the draft the Habs traded away 2 draft picks for two players.

#104 (4th rounder) – Traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Stephane Quintal.

#235 (8th rounder) – Traded to the Ottawa Senators for forward Andreas Dackell.