Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier had it right.  What we can consider second round choices begin after the tenth choice in the draft.  The Canadiens are drafted 27th overall on Friday night which is deep into the second round. 

And what will the Canadiens get out of 27th spot.  NHL Central Scouting projected Canadiens first round pick Louis Leblanc as 18th on their list, which is exactly where the Habs got him. 

On this year’s central scouting list 27th overall is held down by Ottawa 67’s 6’3” centre Ryan Martindale, a 19 goal scorer last season. 

But for purposes of this exercise and the varying evaluations and needs of the teams around the Canadiens in the draft, we’ll look at nine of the players (23 through 31) on the Central Scouting report.

The most intriguing of these is big Russian leftwinger Kiril Kabanov of Moncton .  Listed near the top of the draft only a few months ago, because of the actions of a father that makes Karl Lindros look like a diplomat, Kabanov has slipped to 31st.  If available, the question for the Canadiens will be, does he hand out more off-ice trouble than what he can give on the ice. 

Here are the choices, in and around the Canadiens 27th pick.  Remember, the Canadiens may be influenced by a scout who has spotted a sleeper, or they may feel they have to take a Quebecer as their first choice, of which there are none on this list.

23.  Czech-born right wing Petr Straka of Rimouski (QMJHL) 6’ ½”  186 lbs.  62games   28-36=64.  QMJHL Rookie of the year 2010.  Has only one year of major junior, coming from Pilsen Cz.  Quick.  Good hands.  A little inconsistant.  Still learning defensive side of the game.

24.  Charlie Coyle –C/RW  42 games with South Shore  Kings of  the EJHL.  42 games.  21-42 = 63.  Righthand shot.  Will attend Boston University next season.  Listed as the best talent to come out of the Eastern Junior Hockey League in years.   Hard worker.  Good size.  Powerful skater.   Protects puck well along the boards.  Played mostly centre this year.  Good vision.  Plays point on power play.  Needs to work on his first three steps.

25.  Brock Nelson  Centre  6’2½”  205 lbs.   Warroad Minnesota High School –  25games  39-34=73.  Will attend U. of N. Dakota next season.  Probably the top player to come out of Minnesota in this year’s draft.  Great acceleration.  Great shot.  Defensively responsible.  Good size.  Power forward.  Excellent in the faceoff circle.  Uncle is Dave Christian, former NHLer and member of the 1980 Lake Placid gold-medallists.

26.  Kevin Hayes – RW – Nobles Mass.  High School 6’2 ½”   28 games   25-42=67 pts.  Will attend Boston College next season.  Good size.  May develop into a two-way player.  Skating needs to improve.  Limited offensive potential despite high numbers in high school.

27.  Ryan Martindale (as above)

28.  Jaden Schwartz  – Centre –  Tri Cities Storm -USHL  (from Wilcox, Saskatchewan)   5’10”  60games 33-50=83 points.  Slated for Colorado next season.  Was dominant with Notre Dame in SJHL Tier Two in 2008-09 – 46 games 34-42=76.  Continued to score in the USHL.  Won scoring championship 33 goals and 83 points in 60 games.  Named the league’s top forward.  Smallish.  Very slick passer.  Playmaking centre.  Likes to hit the line and find the open man.   Has shown little desire to mix it up in the corners.

29.  Alexander Petrovic Defense – Red Deer Rebels WHL ( born-Edmonton)  6’4”  193lbs.  Right shot  8-19=27 pts.  Played for Team Cherry in the 2010 Prospects game where he recorded an assist.  Stay at home player with a commanding presence.  Played 30 minutes a game for Red Deer this season.  Needs to impose his physical presence more.

30.  Jordan Weal – Centre  – 5’9”  162 lbs.  Regina Pats WHL – 72 games  35-67=102.  Right shot.  Third in WHL scoring last season.  Two years ago WHL Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year.  Played on a line with top Prospect Jordan Eberle.  Not a great skater.  Smart.  Prefers to slow the game to make plays.  Tenacious forechecker.  Very competitive.  Smallish.  Elusive.  May grow but will never reach 6″. 

31.  Kiril Kabanov – LW-  Moncton Wildcats QMJHL   6’2”  175lbs.  22 games  10-13=23 points. Missed first part of season when KHL suspended him for refusing to sign a contract with a team he had been traded to.  Joined Moncton.  Wound up a healthy scratch late in the season and into the first round of the playoffs after wich Monton released him so he could return to Russia play in the World Junior championships.  Did not make that team because of injury.    Perhaps all you need to know about the problems he might bring are here in this story from Russia.  The most naturally skilled player outside of the top three or four in the draft.  Has speedand size; is agile; very good one-on-one; great hands; terrific wrist shot; good playmaker; shows great energy on the ice. Coming off a lost season, more of his own and his family’s doing. 

If the Canadiens are looking to draft French Canadian born players, the top one on Central Scouting’s list is Quebec City-born defenceman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc of Rouyn-Norada slotted in 50th place.   Next on the list is 75th ranked Michael Bournival, a left wing from Shawinigan and Michael Chaput, 78th, born in Montreal and playing for Lewiston of the QMJHL.  In the second round, 57th pick,  the Canadiens may be looking at taking one of them.