The Canadiens hold the 26th pick in the draft this season.
6 names stand out to me as possibilities for the Canadiens to draft in the first round in Philadelphia. I am profiling them below in my order of preference assuming all of them are on the board.
I am not a Scout. I have not personally seen any of these players play. Therefore any information you read below is coming from credible sources who do this for a living. What I have done is compile information about certain players that I believe Montreal could be looking at. For a complete list of players, and information on many other players that are not mentioned here, please click the links I have provided to the many fantastic sources.
Adrian Kempe - C/LW - 6'2/187 - Modo (SHL)
The 22nd ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 26th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 6th ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #10 overall by TSN's Craig Button
Ranked 28th by TSN's Bob McKenzie
The 21st ranked draft eligible player on HockeyProspect.com
The 29th ranked draft eligible player according to The Hockey News
The 15th ranked draft eligible player according to Sportsnet Magazine.
• In 2013-14, Kempe posted 19 points (3-16—19) in 20 games and was an assistant captain with MODO’s under-20 team before joining the club’s senior team in the Swedish Hockey League where he posted 11 points (5-6—11) in 45 contests.
• His brother, Mario, was selected in the fifth round (122nd overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft. Mario has spent the past five seasons playing in Sweden, most recently alongside Adrian with MODO in Sweden’s top league.
• A member of Sweden’s gold-medal winning team at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Kempe averaged a goal per game (5-0—5) including a second-period tally in the team’s 7-5 win over Russia in the final.
• At the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, Kempe finished third on the team with seven points (1-6—7) in seven games as Sweden placed fourth, falling 3-1 to Canada in the bronze-medal game. He also tallied three points (2-1—3) in four games at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
• Kempe’s hometown is Ornskoldsvik, Sweden (approx. population 28,000). He plays for the same MODO hockey program that produced NHL stars Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Victor Hedman.
"Excellent skater with speed and quickness and he uses it to get to openings and to back off defenders. Excellent sense for the game and what is necessary and with his multitude of talents, he can deliver. A team player through and through." - Craig Button (TSN)
"Missed 2015 eligibility by three days. Big power forward - a pro in the Swedish League. Plays a two-way game." - Jeff Marek (Sportsnet)
"Speedy and fearless, Kempe plays a physical game and can also help out with the offensive side of the game." - Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News)
“Adrian is a big strong winger who can also play in the middle. He’s got some power forward potential, as he can be quite physical and tenacious on the forecheck. He surprised a lot of people by earning a jersey with Modo’s SHL team this season. He didn’t log big minutes, but was occasionally used on the powerplay and exhibited some of the talent that will probably make him a first round pick next month. Still needs to grow into his body, can look cubbish at times.” - Uffe Bodin (hockeysverige.se)
“Kempe is a strong, bullish forward that has size, strength and a work ethic to match. He can be tenacious on the forecheck and never misses finishing a check. He has a heavy shot and isn’t shy to drive towards the net.” - Aaron Vickers (Future Considerations)
The 26th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 32nd ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 35th ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #30 overall by TSN's Craig Button
Ranked 29th by TSN's Bob McKenzie
The 22nd ranked draft eligible player on HockeyProspect.com
The 30th ranked draft eligible player according to The Hockey News
• Bleackley began the 2013-14 season, his second in the Western Hockey League, with eight goals and 19 points in his first 15 games, surpassing his 66-game point total from his first campaign with the Rebels (9-9—18). He finished the year tied for the team lead in goals (29) and paced the club with 68 points.
• He was named Red Deer’s captain in November 2013, and at age 17 is one of only three first-time draft-eligible players to wear the “C” in the Canadian Hockey League this season: also Aaron Ekblad (No. 2-ranked North American skater) of the Barrie Colts and Sam Reinhart (No. 3-ranked North American skater) of the Kootenay Ice.
• Bleackley recorded two points and was an assistant captain on Canada’s bronze-medal winning team at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship. He also wore a letter with Team Pacific at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, posting four points (3-1—4) in five games.
• His hometown of High River, Alta. was devastated by flooding in June 2013, forcing many families from their homes: “We had to be evacuated for two weeks. We had four feet of water in the basement and a lot of mud. But it could have been worse. The community really came together and the response was phenomenal.”
• Bleackley grew up on the same street as Calgary Flames forward Corban Knight (selected 135th overall by Florida in the 2009 NHL Draft). They often played shinny together on a pond by their house.
• He complied 89 points (45-44—89) in 62 games over two seasons with the Okotoks Oilers Bantam AAA team in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League. He also won a gold medal with Team Alberta at the 2011 Western Canada Under-16 Challenge Cup (2-2—4 in four games).
"Determined, competitive player who doesn't take any shortcut. Smart and in right areas and is a catalyst for positive plays all over the ice. Doesn't allow himself to be denied or his team to be denied. Whole is greater than sum of parts!" - Craig Button (TSN)
"Hard-working pivot does the unglamorous jobs and knows how to put the puck in the net. Captain of his junior team." - Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News)
“Conner Bleackley is learning to use his size and speed this season to get in quickly on the forecheck and play a more physical game. Bleackley has a very good wrist shot and a quick release. He shows the ability to drive hard to the net, and has good balance and strength on his skates to fight through checks and battle in the dirty areas of the ice, in front of the net and in the corners.” - Ben Kerr (The Last Word on Sports)
For a more detailed look at Connor Bleackley, please check out this excellent profile on him by Ryan Pike of The Hockey Writers. Connor Bleackley THW: Close Up
Travis Sanheim - D - 6'3/181 - Calgary (WHL)
The 30th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 15th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 53rd ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked 8th overall by TSN's Craig Button
Ranked 24th by TSN's Bob McKenzie
The 16th ranked draft eligible player on HockeyProspect.com
The 21st ranked draft eligible player according to The Hockey News
• Sanheim totaled 29 points (5-24—29) in his Western Hockey League rookie season in 2013-14. He was paired with Ben Thomas (No. 86-ranked North American Skater) for most of 2013-14, finishing with a plus-25 rating for the Central Division champion Hitmen.
• Sanheim posted six assists at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, pacing all defenseman and sharing the team lead with Hitmen teammate Jake Virtanen (No. 6-ranked North American Skater) en route to a bronze-medal win with Team Canada. He was selected by opposing coaches as one of Canada’s three best players. He also played for Team West at the 2013 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.
• A native of Elkhorn, Man., Sanheim finished his minor hockey career with the Yellowhead Chiefs in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League, compiling 74 points (27-47—74) over two seasons with the club.
• His twin brother, Taylor, also played two years with the Chiefs, finishing 2012-13 tied for eighth in the League with 52 points (27-25—52) in 39 games. Taylor played the 2013-14 season with the Dauphin Kings and Portage Terriers in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League; the Brandon Wheat Kings hold his WHL rights.
"Progress has been exceptional. Nothing he can't do in the game. Skates, thinks incredibly well, has poise, makes plays offensively and defensively and is a player who recognizes opportunity in the game and takes advantage." - Craig Button (TSN)
"High-rising blueliner has a great frame and moves well for his size. Confidence with the puck continues to grow." - Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News)
“He has the tools to potentially be a number 3 or 4 defenceman at the NHL level. He has always been a solid defender but his ever improving offensive game has turned some heads in the second half of the season. He is playing with a little more confidence, jumping into the play at the right times and putting up some points.” - Mitch Kasprick (Winnipeg Hockey Talk)
Ryan Macinnis - C - 6'3/185 - Kitchener (OHL)
The 25th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 34th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 20th ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #37 overall by TSN's Craig Button
Ranked 34th by TSN's Bob McKenzie
The 37th ranked draft eligible player on HockeyProspect.com
The 44th ranked draft eligible player according to The Hockey News
• A two-way center, MacInnis finished among the top ten rookie scorers in the Ontario Hockey League during the 2013-14 season with 37 points (16-21—37) in 54 games for Kitchener.
• He is the son of Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis, a Stanley Cup champion and seven-time All-Star who spent 23 seasons in the NHL with St. Louis and Calgary. Al was a member of the Kitchener Rangers (1980-83) prior to his NHL career.
• Ryan was asked if his shot measures up to his father’s famous cannon. Al won the Hardest Shot a record seven times at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition: “No, not even close. We'll go outside a lot whenever I'm home in St. Louis and we'll shoot a lot. He'll just feed me one timers and he'll teach me about the art of shooting."
• MacInnis registered five points (2-3—5) in six games for the U.S. at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, including a goal and assist in a 4-3 win over Quebec in the bronze medal game. He was also a member of the U.S Under-17 team that finished first in the 2012 Four Nations Tournament.
• In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and hunting.
"Raw ability with the potential to be a very good center. Skates well, good hands, smart and he competes for positive results. With physical maturity, he will excel even more and is the proverbial diamond in the rough at this time." - Craig Button (TSN)
“MacInnis has a tall, lanky build but has some good potential to add strength. His speed currently lacks burst but his skating does have some upside. He’s an instinctual player who uses solid positioning to remain in the offensive play and has a heavy shot but needs to work on his release and accuracy." - Aaron Vickers (Future Considerations)
“Tall lanky centre forward who, at this point, is a projected second or third rounder based on bloodlines and potential. He is Al Macinnis’ son. Displays all the tools to be a possible dominating player, but have shown little consistency in his efforts. His size and skill make his an intriguing option show could solidify his grade with better efforts.” - Bill Placzek (Draftsite.com)
Vladislav Kamenev - LW - 6'2/176 - Magnitogorsk 2 (KHL)
The 29th ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 59th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 13th ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #12 overall by TSN's Craig Button
Ranked 43rd by TSN's Bob McKenzie
The 35th ranked draft eligible player on HockeyProspect.com
The 56th ranked draft eligible player according to The Hockey News
• Kamenev split the 2013-14 season between Magnitogorsk in Russia’s junior league - scoring four goals and 10 points in 15 games - and Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Playing under former NHL coach Mike Keenan, Kamenev scored one goal in 16 games with the eventual KHL champions.
• He finished in the top five in tournament scoring at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge, posting seven points (1-6—7) in five games as Russia captured the silver medal.
• As captain of Team Russia at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, Kamenev shared the team-lead with seven points (2-5—7) in five games.
• In 2012-13, Kamenev tallied 15 points (9-6—15) in 36 games during his rookie season with Magnitogorsk’s junior team that finished second in the Eastern Conference of Russia’s top junior league.
• He lists Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals as his favorite NHL players.
“Kamenev is a talented forward with good sized who uses his physical gifts to protect the puck and win board battles. He sees the ice well, has good hands and a strong shot. Has to keep his emotions in check as he can get overzealous taking stupid penalties at times." - Aaron Vickers (Future Considerations)
“Big hard working three zone centre-forward a strong stride, size and very good puck skills. Positionally solid with excellent vision and playmaking abilities. Good in the face off circle. Shoots the puck quickly besides being a strong set-up man. Stood out a one of the better players on the ice in the World Junior A challenge. If the whispers that he is transferring to a CHL junior team are true he seems destined to being picked early. He is a pretty complete player already and is tough to move off the puck, and is excellent in the one on one battles all over the sheet. He may be fairly close to playing soon.” - Bill Placzek (Draftsite.com)
Roland McKeown - D - 6'0/195 - Kingston (OHL)
The 23rd ranked draft eligible player according to International Scouting services.
The 36th ranked draft eligible player on McKeen's list.
The 27th ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting
Ranked #51 overall by TSN's Craig Button
Ranked 25th by TSN's Bob McKenzie
The 83rd ranked draft eligible player on HockeyProspect.com
The 26th ranked draft eligible player according to The Hockey News
• McKeown finished the 2013-14 season with 43 points (11-32—43) in 62 games and a team-high plus-38 rating for Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League.
• He is a two-time gold medalist internationally, winning with Team Canada at the 2013 Under-18 World Championship and the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
• McKeown was the captain of the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA team in 2011-12 that featured Sam Bennett (No. 1-ranked North American skater), Joshua Ho-Sang (No. 22-ranked North American skater) and Connor McDavid (draft eligible in 2015). He registered 35 points in 28 games for the Marlboros, who fell to the Mississauga Rebels in the 2012 OHL Cup championship game.
• An OHL All-Rookie First Team selection in 2012-13, McKeown led all first year blueliners with 29 points (7-22—29) in 61 games.
• He trains in the off-season under the guidance of former player Gary Roberts, who also works with NHL players including Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning), Jeff Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes) and James Neal (Pittsburgh Penguins).
"Skating is the foundation of his game and he uses well to close off plays defensively, transition the puck and then jump into the play offensively. Very confident player who plays with evenness. In control, steady and poised." - Craig Button (TSN)
"Smooth-skating blueliner can contribute at both ends of the ice and has excellent character." - Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News)
“McKeown is a strong, do-it-all defensemen whose biggest asset is his ability to think the game and know his position. He makes strong, simple plays, has a good shot and distributes the puck effectively.” - Aaron Vickers (Future Considerations)
“Solid all-around defender with excellent balance, stride and quickness. Positionally solid, and already cool and collected in his game, with excellent vision and reliablity in all situations. Handles the puck well in his own zone, in transistion and on breakouts. displays a hard point shot. If he is able to grow a bit more edge, he will climb up the rankings. He was selected to the roster for the World Junior Under-18 Tournament in April, 2013." - Bill Placzek (Draftsite.com)
For a more detailed look at Roland McKeown, please check out this excellent profile on him by Shawn Reznik of The Hockey Writers. Roland McKeown THW: Close Up