D-Day approaches

Saturday, 29.06.2013 / 6:06 PM canadiens.com

SHORT HILLS, NJ – Canadiens’ director of amateur scouting Trevor Timmins will have a few hours on Sunday to put his past year’s worth of work on display.

About to embark on his 11th year helming the Habs table at the NHL Entry Draft, Timmins is ready to make the most of the team’s nine picks on Sunday evening. Having spent the season scouring the globe looking for potential future Habs, the Draft Day guru and his scouting staff are looking forward to adding a few new names to the organizational depth chart.

“We’ve done our homework, we’ve scouted the hockey talent all season, we’ve had combines, we’ve done our interviews, we’ve had meeting after meeting and we know who we like as an organization,” described Timmins. “We just cross our fingers that the players we like the most are still there when we pick.”

After waiting for just two other NHL general managers to step up to the podium before making Alex Galchenyuk his first-ever pick as Habs GM at third-overall last year, Marc Bergevin will have a little extra time on his hands when things kick off this time around.

“A lot can happen at No.25. You have to be patient and wait to see what happens and develops with the teams before us,” explained Bergevin, who will have six picks in the top 90 spots this year. “It’s possible we could move up but whether or not we do that will depend on a lot of factors. It will depend if the players we have in mind are still available and if the price is right. I value picks a lot. I’m not saying I won’t move any picks, but I value them very much.”

Whether or not Bergevin is willing to sacrifice one of his coveted picks to be able to get his hands on a first-rounder a little earlier remains to be seen, but the second-year GM is definitely willing to listen.

“I’m already on my third cell phone battery today,” he joked. “Right now there are a lot of calls going on between general managers. There are things in the works and between now and 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, some things could happen. But it could also be the opposite where nothing happens. There are a lot of discussions in the works.”

Armed with his list of 18-year-old NHLers-in-waiting, Timmins is confident he’ll be walking away from New Jersey with plenty of bright prospects regardless of how active Bergevin is in trade talks. Hiding his excitement as teams continued to pass over third-ranked European skater Sebastian Collberg in 2012 until he scooped up the star Swede at No.33, Timmins knows exactly how valuable his three second round picks will be on Sunday.

“They’re close to being first round picks. Anywhere from 20 to 40, there’s a lot of parity between those players,” he explained. “We’re excited about a lot of players in this draft. We’re excited for all our picks. We’re excited for our seventh round pick. We’ll have scouts fighting at the table about the players they want.”

Heading into last year’s draft, both Timmins and Bergevin confirmed they were in the market to add a goaltender to the mix over the weekend. After leaving Pittsburgh with six forwards and one defenseman in 2012, they’ll once again be in the hunt for a padded prospect on Sunday.

“Anything is possible. I don’t have a crystal ball. Was it possible to pick a goalie at five? We did. Predict the unpredictable,” mentioned Timmins with a grin, referring to 2005 fifth-overall selection, Carey Price. “We don’t have depth in the amateur system with regards to goaltending so that’s one area if there are goaltenders there at the right time, we’ll definitely be taking a strong look.”

Regardless of what positions the young prospects they end up with play, there are at least a few characteristics they’ll all have in common. While skill is always the primary factor in deciding which players make it onto Timmins’ wish list, there are a few intangibles that, when missing, are deal-breakers for the Habs.

“Hockey sense, compete and character. If there are skating flaws you can overcome that if you have character and compete,” divulged Timmins. “It’s hard to build hockey sense; you either have it or you don’t.

“The players we have on our list are players we believe will be future NHLers who we want to be Montreal Canadiens and to wear our jersey,” he stressed. “We’re done our work now. The homework is completed, now we just count the hours.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.

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