The Montreal Canadiens’ first-round options were briefly looked at in an earlier article. Now, what will be explored is what general manager (GM) Marc Bergevin is facing with the three second-round picks for the 2020 NHL draft.
The second round can provide NHL teams with high-quality players. There is no shortage of names for impact players such as Shea Weber, P.K. Subban, and Patrice Bergeron. There are also more recent names such as Sebatian Aho in with the Carolina Hurricanes and Alex DeBrincat with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Canadiens boast one in Arturri Lehkonen, a middle-six winger who can provide quality defensive play.
The Second Round
What prospects in the 2020 Draft could be available to the Canadiens — holding the 47th, 48th and 56th selections — and can also provide quality depth to fill gaps in the NHL roster in order to build a playoff-contending team? No one selected would be expected to be NHL ready for at least two to three seasons, but their progression could provide the prospect depth for future moves.
Justin Barron is slated to likely be selected late in the first round. That being said, he very well may slide down to the second round as he is out indefinitely to start the season (from ‘Mooseheads’ Barron has minor corrective procedure on shoulder,’ The Chronicle Herald, 26 September 2020). This is due to his recent surgery, which was a scheduled follow-up to his blood clot surgery last season, this one is to prevent a recurrence. My colleague at The Hockey Writers, Peter Bracchini provides a more in-depth look at Barron.
At 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, Barron has NHL size. He also boasts good skating, good mobility, he is good defensively and capable offensively. Barron plays a safe, patient style of game that is effective — there just isn’t anything in his game that stands out as elite, which is why he isn’t rated higher. Barron is a solid all-around, two-way defender that can play in any situation and log a ton of minutes. Essentially, the style of low-maintenance defenceman coaches adore.
“He is a minute-muncher on the backend that can do anything. He is a high-IQ player who always seems to make the right decision with the puck. Defensively strong, Barron rarely allows an attacker to beat him to the net, oftentimes guiding the offensive player into the corner and keeping them to the outside. Offensively, Barron isn’t a player that is going to “wow” you with stick handling or exceptional offensive creativity, but he makes the smart, safe play that leads to dangerous chances for his team. He has a good shot and makes crisp passes in all three zones. He is a good playmaker with the puck at the point he can effectively run a power play unit from the blue line.”Toni Ferrari, Dobber Prospects, 13 August 2019
Barron would be a good target for the Canadiens — trading up if necessary to acquire his rights — as he could become that style of player for an NHL team’s second pairing
There is a need for a power forward in Montreal. There isn’t one rated to go in the first round, but there will be a few that should be available in the second round or later. Perhaps Bergevin will move up for one, or one will be available with one of his three picks, but the 6-foot-2, 203-pound winger can be someone to fill that systemic need.
Luke Tuch is the younger brother of Vegas Golden Knights power forward Alex Tuch, who was drafted 18th overall by the Minnesota Wild before being traded to Vegas in an expansion draft deal. The brothers have a similar build and play a similar style. The younger Tuch uses his size well along the boards to win puck battles to play the cycle game. He also consistently attacks the front of the net where he is adept at tipping in shots, banging in rebounds, as well as using his quick release to surprise goaltenders.
“You could define Tuch as a power forward or a two-way forward, and he’d fit the bill. A physical forward that boasts a great shot, Tush (sp) is another one of those reliable players that coaches will love. He could be a top-line guy or a bottom-six player, and he’d adapt his game and succeed. That’s a very valuable trait that the Blackhawks will be very happy about.”Josh Bell
Tuch should be considered a project, a player that will need several seasons to grow into his role much like his brother needed. He is committed to Boston University for the 2020-21 season where he could benefit from the four years under head coach Albie O’Connell to develop in a top-tier NCAA program.
Sam Colangelo just completed a full season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He had an impressive season finishing third in team scoring with 28 goals and 58 points in 44 games played. He is currently committed to Northeastern University for the 2020-21 season.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Colangelo, a right-handed winger, already has NHL size, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 207 pounds. He is also known for using his size to his advantage to win puck battles, protect the puck when he has possession and to go to the front of the net. A more in-depth profile on Colangelo can be found in The Hockey Writers‘ draft profiles.
Colangelo projects as a middle-six right winger who can also play on the power play. The Canadiens aren’t known for depth with big forwards who have offensive skills, so his addition in the latter portions of the second round would be beneficial to the Habs’ system, especially if he can develop to his full potential.
With four selections in the top 60 picks at the 2020 NHL Draft, the Canadiens are poised to add several prospects that could, over time, provide skill and depth to a team that is still in transition from a playoff bubble team to something more.