Canadiens 1999 draft evaluation

By Dan Linn

Five years ago, the Montreal Canadiens had eleven picks for the 1999 entry draft, but they were without a first round pick. It was traded to the New York Islanders for veteran Trevor Linden, which at the time was considered a risky move, as the organization had a lack of depth in their farm system. Recent first round picks, Eric Choiunard, Jason Ward, Matt Higgins and Terry Ryan were not giving fans too much hope for the future, and outside a few good prospects in Mathieu Garon, Mike Ribeiro, Arron Asham and Stephane Robidas, things were not looking good for the future of the organization.

While the 1999 draft wasn’t considered to be a very deep one, the Canadiens needed to pull out at least one or two players for the future, but with their first pick at 39th overall, and not a very deep draft this was not going to be easily accomplished by general manager Rejean Houle. Five years later, not one of the Canadiens 11 picks have played a single NHL game, making it a very bad draft year for the club. Several do remain with the organization, however, and two with other NHL organizations.

Alex Buturlin, RW 2nd round, 39th overall (Russia – CSKA Moscow)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Prospect

Buturlin spent his draft year playing for CSKA and in the Russian First league as well. Perhaps the fact that Buturlin was headed to play in the OHL for the Sarnia Sting the next season was a reason for him being selected over some other prospects such as Adam Hall and Jordan Leopold, who both had good years in the NCAA. After spending two years in the OHL, Buturlin was offered a contract by the Canadiens General Manager Andre Savard, but he turned it down and headed back to Russia, where he played for Salavat Yulayev and had a tough season finding ice time and offensive production. But a move to Lada the following season has since sparked his career, as he has been playing on the top line for most of the last two years and was even named to the Senior National team this year. It remains to be seen if he will ever come back to play in North America, as he has obtained a top line roster spot on one of the better teams in the RSL.

Matt Carkner, D 2nd round, 58th (OHL – Peterborough)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Prospect

Carkner is a big, tough, stay at home defensemen who played for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. His poor skating, a lack of progression in his game, and the CHL rule which forced management to either sign Carkner or release him from the organization, were the reasons why he was let go. Many fans were upset to see such a big physical defenseman just let go like that. Carkner was picked up by the San Jose Sharks, and has played for their farm club the Cleveland Barons for the last three seasons, slowly making a name for himself.

Chris Dyment, D 4th round, 97th (NCAA – Boston University)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Prospect

Dyment was a bit of an unknown at the time of the 1999 draft, as he had only played in 25 games for Boston University as a freshmen. But the package of size and skill was hard to overlook at that point in the draft. After some up and down seasons at BU, Dyment was traded to the Minnesota Wild for a fifth round pick in the 2002 entry draft. That pick was traded to the Calgary Flames to move up in the draft to grab Michael Lambert (4th round, 99th). Dyment was playing for the Houston Aeros, but was moved in his second season to the Phoenix Coyotes. He now plays for their farm club, the Springfield Falcons.

Evan Lindsay, G 4th round, 107th (WHL – Prince Albert)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Bust

Lindsay was originally selected by the Calgary Flames in the 1997 entry draft, second round, 32nd overall, but was not signed and reenter the 1999 draft after some shaky seasons in the WHL. After a few disappointing seasons in the ECHL, Lindsay was not resigned by the Canadiens, and has since moved overseas to play for the London Racers.

Dusty Jamieson, LW 5th round, 136th (OHL – Sarnia)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Bust

Jamieson was selected after having a decent season in the OHL, first with the Guelph Storm and then the Sarnia Sting after being traded early in the year. But he didn’t have a very good season the next year, which led to him not being signed. He would return to the OHL as an overager and had a strong season. Jamieson has spent the last two years in the ECHL where he’s put up some good numbers and even got in six games with the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL in 2003-04.

Marc-Andre Thinel, RW 5th round, 145th (QMJHL – Victoriaville)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Prospect

Thinel was one of three fifth round picks, played in the QMJHL for the Victoriaville Tigres and had a strong draft year as he racked up 103 points after only 17 points his rookie year in the Q. Thinel went on to amass an impressive 402 regular season points in the four years he played for Victoriaville, but it took an strong showing in the playoffs of his final year for Andre Savard to offer him a contract. Thinel has played the last three years in both the AHL and ECHL, with gradually fewer AHL games per year. He still has a chance at an AHL spot next year, however.

Matt Shasby, D 5th round, 150th (USHL – Des Moines)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Prospect

Shasby may be the only person the Canadiens have ever drafted from Alaska. Shasby is from Eagle River, Alaska and played for University of Alaska at Anchorage. Shasby also won a championship in the USHL while with Lincoln before playing at AAU. There were questions being raised if Shasby was even going to be signed, as he had a very strong junior year, but his senior year did not go well for him or his team which did not win one game all season. Last summer Shasby was signed to a two-year deal, and spent his first professional season playing in the ECHL, where he had a solid season.

Sean Dixon, D 6th round, 167th (OHL – Erie)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Bust

Dixon played for the Erie Otters of the OHL where he had some mild success on defense, but could not develop him game to fit the Canadiens future plans for him. GM Andre Savard did not sign Dixon after the two year period. He returned to the OHL as an overager and did not find much success once again. After the OHL Dixon headed to the CIS where he played for the University of Western Ontario.

Vadim Tarasov, G 7th round, 196th (Russia)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Bust

Tarasov was 22 years old and a regular in the Russian Super League when drafted, after being named the top goalie in the RSL for two years in a row. The Canadiens were able to sign Tarasov and bring him over to play in the AHL for the Quebec Citadelles, where he was able to put up some decent numbers when healthy. But reports that he was unhappy with his playing time during the playoffs when Matthieu Garon struggled, might have led to Tarasov returning to Russia and his former team Novokuznetsk, where he struggled at times to find his game, but has enjoyed a better season this year, and was even named to the National team although his ice time was very limited.

Mikko Hyytia, C 8th round, 225th (Finland)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Bust

Hyytia played in the Finish junior league for Juvaskyla, where he put up 47 points in only 27 games during his draft year, but he missed most of the following season, and struggled to his the same offensive production.

Jerome Marois, LW 9th round, 253rd (QMJHL – Quebec City)
NHL games: 0
Status: NHL Prospect

Marois was drafted while playing for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, but was later traded to Cape Breton and finished his Q career with Rouyn-Noranda where he enjoyed career highs in just about every category. Marois was signed by Andre Savard, but was unable to get much playing time with the Quebec Citadelles. The next season he was sent to the ECHL to play for Mississippi, and even spent some time playing for Odessa Jackalopes of the CHL. Marois is no stranger to playing for a new team, as he has played for nine different teams in his career since his first year in the QMJHL. All is not lost for Marois, however, who enjoyed his most productive season since his final year of junior this season, with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the ECHL where he was one of the top scorers.