This year, the Habs scouts must be jumping for joy due to some very nice draft picks. Although, the last 2 seasons have not always been full of top 10 picks. Trevor Timmins and his crew have excelled in the later rounds of the draft the last 2 years, with 3 picks in particular standing out. Brendan Gallagher, Morgan Ellis and Darren Dietz have all improved greatly since being drafted, and are ready to make an impact on Hamilton next season.
Brendan Gallagher was selected in the 5th round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, 147th overall. He has been spectacular for the Vancouver Giants, posting 3 back to back 40 goal seasons. Not to mention he’s their captain. Gallagher has also set franchise records for goals and points. Gallagher is recognized for his amazing work ethic and determination. He has made huge strides offensively in his 4 seasons with the Giants. He scored 31 points in his first season. Decent, but not a great point total. The very next year though, he made a huge improvement, lighting the lamp 41 times and gathering 81 points. Gallagher has been very consistent since then, posting 91 points the following season, staying steady with his point improvement. Gallagher will be reporting to the Hamilton Bulldogs next season.
Morgan Ellis, another late pick proving to be a steal is currently playing in the Memorial Cup. He helped his team get there, by playing a solid and steady game all season, and outperforming some of Shawinigan’s best defensemen, arguably including Phoenix’s stud prospect Brandon Gormley. Ellis was drafted 117th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Ellis has also grown offensively to go along with his stellar defensive game, going from 6 in a season to 52 points in 4 seasons in the QMJHL. Ellis has also signed an Entry Level Contract, meaning he will play for Hamilton or Montreal next season.
Habs took another defenseman in the late rounds that looks to be a solid selection. Darren Dietz was taken 138th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Dietz was passed over in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, but ended up playing for the Saskatoon Blades, but only for 8 games. This past season, Dietz has shown great progression in both defense and offense. He was a solid +17 this past season, and collected 8 goals and 19 assists. Dietz will be playing for Saskatoon again next season, and most likely in Hamilton the season after that.
Fourth and fifth round drafting has been a strong point in the last two years for the Habs, and this year they have some serious picks to work with. Can Trevor Timmins and his team steal some great players in the later rounds once again? We’ll just have to see.