June 22, 2018. After a disastrous season 53 defeats, the Montreal canadiens prepares to speak at the third place in the consolation bracket of the national hockey League (NHL), Dallas.
The organization then presents some significant gaps in the centre. Jonathan Drouin has been mutated at this position in 2017-2018, but the experience has not been fruitful. A few days before the auction amateur, the HP has acquired Max Domi, who would eventually solve part of the problem, but had played mostly on the wing up here.
In short, the depth of the organization at this key position left much to be desired. With his first choice of auction, the Habs then opted for Jesperi Kotkaniemi, which, you guessed it, is a centre player.
A photo rapidly became viral on social networks: that of a partisan of the CH in the grandstands who displays an air of astonishment after hearing the announcement of the director of recruiting an amateur, Shane Churla.
In the scenes of the NHL, they are a number of experts to judge that the Canadian has opted for a strategy that unusual with a choice also, from the top: fish out according to the need.
A surprising decision
“I loved Kotkaniemi. But, according to me, the Canadians have chosen it too early. This is my opinion,” said the TVASports.ca a recruiter who had closely followed the Finnish during the year of his draft.
“I had labeled “early first”, so I saw him out in the top 15. I was pretty surprised when they chose him in the third rank.”
The evaluator of talent, who preferred to remain anonymous, had classified Kotkaniemi fifth among its european list, behind, among others, the attacker Martin Kaut, which has been selected at the 16th level by the Colorado Avalanche.
“I had a lot of trouble with his skating, he explained. But he could make super good games. It was a game manufacturer. He had a good season despite a few pips of health.”
Like Saku Koivu, the recruiter believes that the hc had erred in its development by keeping it in Montreal in the first year following his draft.
“They have worsened the things. He would have had to play in Finland or in the american League. Probably in Finland. They did not let him develop. As soon as they have kept it, I remember that I said to myself: “This is not a good idea'”, he mentioned.
It is difficult to come to a different conclusion than the following: Brady Tkachuk, drafted just after Kotkaniemi by the Ottawa Senators, knows far better career than the center player. However, the development is not a race, but a marathon and it would be dishonest to omit that “KK” (July 2000) grants nine months for the wingman american (September 1999).
And the decision of CH to keep Kotkaniemi was not so much in question after his rookie season – which was regarded as a success under the circumstances – than it is now, after he had experienced the bad luck of the second year.
Then, the examples of players who have taken several years before becoming mainstream are many. Leon Draisaitl was limited to nine points in 37 games in his rookie season. Today, everything indicates that he will present the trophy Art Ross.
Before he argument his sixth season in the NHL, the top staff Sean Couturier in a year was 39 points. It has subsequently successfully completed two consecutive campaigns of 76 points.
Caution is the watchword. Still, as long as Tkachuk will get the upper hand on Kotkaniemi, experts, rightly or wrongly, will continue to ask the question: why have privileged the need for the third row?