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Habs stockpile prospects at '07 Draft

Sunday, 24.06.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Montreal Canadiens
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Habs stockpile prospects at \'07 Draft
Canadiens family grows by nine after busy weekend in Columbus

The Canadiens welcomed nine new faces to the organization over the weekend including Ryan McDonagh (left), Max Pacioretty (top) and P.K. Subban.

COLUMBUS - After spending the last 12 months scouring the globe for prospective draft picks who will one day call the Bell Centre home, Trevor Timmins and his scouting staff dropped their poker faces and revealed their hands this past weekend.

"I'm extremely satisfied with how things turned out for us overall," said Timmins, once the dust had settled at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus. "We've restocked our cupboards with some very promising prospects."

Over the course of the two-day event where 211 total players were chosen, the Canadiens accounted for nine of those selections, with five picks being Americans.

"With the new collective bargaining agreement, the rules of the games have changed somewhat," explained Timmins. "We can't have more than 50 players under contract with us at one time. So by drafting U.S. high school players, we've given ourselves a window of approximately five years to ease them into our system. It's almost become the new Europe, a place where we can let players develop while still holding their rights for a number of years."

Defensemen were the order of the day for the Habs this weekend. The six rearguards chosen marked the most selected in a single draft year for the Canadiens since 1997, when eight of Montreal's 11 picks were used to bolster its blue line.

"We're thrilled with all the players we chose," admitted Timmins. "Ryan McDonagh was the guy we knew we wanted to grab at all cost in the first round. P.K. Subban lacks nothing in the confidence department and he was a player we knew we needed to get our hands on. Mark my words; he'll be the fastest skater at our training camp this year, even with NHL players being there, too."

"Ditto for Olivier Fortier for example," added Timmins. "He's in the same mould as a Maxim Lapierre. He's doesn't know the meaning of taking a shift off."

Most of Timmins' handiwork from the 2007 draft will be on display in under a month at the Canadiens' annual development camp to be held in Lasalle and Pierrefonds beginning on July 9.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com