A Closer Look at the Canadiens Draft Picks (Part 1)

By Chris Boucher
With most of the hockey world expecting the Habs to choose a European with both of their first round picks, Rejean Houle again went with his infamous, “Rejean Logic.” The Habs were unable to pick up a European playing in Europe until the fourth round, passing on such players as Martin Samuelsson, Vaclav Nedorost, and Alexander Frolov. Here are the Habs first 4 picks of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Picks 5 through 11 will follow shortly.


Ron Hainsey (D) 6'3"/187 Lbs March 24/81 D-Mtl00 (1-13)

99-00 Stats GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH

(U-Mass Lowell) 30 3 8 11 +1 - - -
(WJHC) 7 1 1 2 +1 - - -

#1 Strength- Some offensive skill
#1 Weakness- Physical strength

Hainsey is a very good skater, and a confident puckhandler. He has all the tools necessary to become an NHL caliber defenseman; He’s poised. He has good hockey sense, and he anticipates plays very well. He has good size, but must improve his physical strength in order to compete with the big boys in the NHL. He was ranked 9th in North America by the CSS.


Marcel Hossa (C) 6'1"/200 Lbs Oct 12/81 D-Mtl00 (1-16)

99-00 Stats GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH

(Portland WHL) 60 24 29 53 -8 58 - -
(WJHC) 7 0 1 1 -1 - - -

#1 Strength- Great skater
#1 Weakness- Defensive awareness

Hossa will undoubtedly always be compared to his brother. Most scouts say that Marcel is not as good as Marian was at the same age. But Marian himself says that his little brother is more of a goal scorer than he is. Hossa was the best player on an otherwise bad Portland team, and must improve his defensive play. Then again, don’t I remember people saying how Marian Hossa couldn’t find his own end with a map when he was still a junior. Hossa was ranked 20th among North American’s by the CSS.


Josef Balej (RW) 5'11"/170 Lbs Feb 22/82 D-Mtl00 (3-78)

99-00 Stats GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH

(Portland WHL) 65 22 23 45 -14 33 - -

#1 Strength- Skating Ability
#1 Weakness- Size and strength

Balej is quite frankly a speedster. He’s quick out of the gate, with great high-end speed as well. He’s a linemate of Hossa’s, and should therefore be able to help Marcel adapt well to the pressure cooker that is Montreal. Balej was ranked 34th among North American’s by the CSS.


Tyler Hanchuk (D) 6'3"/210 Lbs Feb 7/82 D-Mtl00 (3-79)

99-00 Stats GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH

(Brampton OHL) 58 0 8 8 -3 - - -

#1 Strength- Toughness
#1 Weakness- puck-handling

Hanchuk can play defensive hockey, and has very good hockey sense. He must improve his puck handling and vision in order to play in the NHL. Hanchuk is a player built in the same mold as Matt Carkner, the Habs’ second round pick in last year’s draft. Hanchuk was ranked 83rd among North American’s by the CSS.

Hab You Heard?

The Habs lost Turner Stevenson in the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft. Houle was able to hold on to Eric Weinrich, who was also made available in the draft, by dealing a 2nd round pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In return the Blue Jackets drafted Frederic Chabot with the first pick in the draft, thereby allowing Montreal to hold on to Weinrich, as no team can lose more than one defenseman or Goalie in the Draft.