The Class of 2003
Seated at the Habs draft table for the first time, draft guru Trevor Timmins saw his pre-draft homework culminate in the selection of Andrei Kostitsyn at No. 10 overall that day. While Kostitsyn's talent and potential were undeniable, health concerns gave many teams cold feet about the Belarusian sniper, opening the door for Timmins and Co. to snag him. Kostitsyn's breakout season may have come a little later than expected, but his 52-point campaign alongside Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev in 2007-08 appears to have been well-worth the wait.
With two picks in the second round, the Canadiens looked to their own backyard to draft Montreal Rocket forwards Cory Urquhart and Maxim Lapierre, who has made his place in the lineup, winning the Jacques Beauchamp Trophy this past season as the Habs' unsung hero.
In the third round, the Habs looked to beef up their blue line by reaching out to king-sized defenseman Ryan O'Byrne, whose careful grooming through the Canadiens system saw him look more than ready for his jump to the NHL this past season.
Montreal then capped their day's work with the steal of the 2003 NHL Draft by selecting Jaroslav Halak all the way down at No. 271. Once Halak made his first appearance with the Canadiens in 2006-07, the Slovak netminder became the lowest-picked goalie in league history to ever play an NHL game.
The Habs' class of 2003 has thus far amassed a combined total of 178 points in 492 games, but with four of the players chosen that day having finished the 2007-08 season in Montreal, those numbers are bound to grow in the years to come.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com