Jack Todd: The Canadiens made it count in the spectacular 2005 NHL Entry Draft

When you have one of the best picks, it’s not the number you draw, it’s the player you pick.

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Even though the bottom-ranked Canadiens hold the best chance of securing the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft lottery on Tuesday night, it can’t match the drama of the 2005 draft.

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It was July 22, 2005, and I was on Île Notre-Dame with about 150 of my colleagues, most of them in shorts and T-shirts. The ABC ending the lockout had been signed earlier today, the World Aquatic Championships were in full swing and we were all taking a break from diving, swimming and water polo to watch the repechage unfold on a few small TV screens in the media. attempted.

Due to the lost season due to the lockout, the 30 teams were looking for the first pick and the possibility of choosing Sidney Crosby. It was hot outside and while the teams were crumbling and the Canadians were still on the hunt, it was so quiet in that tent you could hear the sweat pouring down.

After the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets heard their names called, we were down to five teams. When the Montreal pick fell to fifth, there was an audible moan in the room – Sidney Crosby wouldn’t play for the Canadiens.

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But when the draft itself came on July 30, the Canadiens made it pay. After Crosby, the best of the rest were goaltenders Carey Price and Tuukka Rask and Slovenian center Anze Kopitar. The Habs grabbed Price, Columbus was stuck with Montreal fan favorite Gilbert Brulé, Los Angeles got Kopitar with the 11th pick and Rask fell to the Leafs, who traded him to Boston for Andrew Raycroft – helping thereby prolonging their drought after the 1967 Stanley Cup at least until this spring.

The lesson here is that when you have one of the best picks, it’s not the number you draw, it’s the player you pick. Somehow, deep down, I expect the Canadiens to end up with the damned No. 3 pick, the one who brought the assorted miseries we associate with Alex Galchenyuk and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

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Neither, we must add, was a terrible choice. At least the Habs didn’t get a chance to pick Nail Yakupov in 2012, but there was a slew of quality defensemen in that first round, including Morgan Rielly, Hampus Lindholm, Matt Dumba and Jacob Trouba, while that Filip Forsberg, Tom Wilson (yes) and Thomas Hertl were all still board members. Galchenyuk was a talent – unfortunately he came with an attached father and any of the others would have been a better choice.

A few eyebrows (OK, mine) were raised in 2018 when new Carolina owner Tom Dundon received a league gift in the form of the No. 2 pick, even though the Hurricanes were 11th on the roster. lottery odds with only a three-percent chance at the top.

The Canes made the most of the giveaway by nabbing Andrei Svechnikov, who should have been first overall. Kotkaniemi, like Galchenyuk, wasn’t a terrible choice in the third slot, but in hindsight, Quinn Hughes would have been the one. (Sorry, I’m still not sold on Brady Tkachuk.)

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As penance for defending Kotkaniemi in 2018, I’m going to drop this one. But if the Canadiens do as well as they did with Price in 2005, they’ll get a really good player out of this draft. And it all starts with the ball bouncing on Tuesday night.

CF Montreal players celebrate a goal by Joaquin Torres (10) against Atlanta United during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal on April 30, 2022.
CF Montreal players celebrate a goal by Joaquin Torres (10) against Atlanta United during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal on April 30, 2022. Photo by Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press

Well, look here: Not only did CF Montreal set a team record with seven straight games unbeaten to edge closer to first place in the Eastern Conference, but Club Foot/Impact/Whatevers also announced that they will start the season next with a new logo, following the unfortunate fan reaction to their latest rebranding.

The current snowflake logo isn’t horrible, it’s just generic. Like something you’d expect to see on a city snowplow, not a sports team. The nickname Club de Foot, on the other hand, is just bad. So ridiculous that fans called it the Impact or resorted to CF Montreal.

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Asking fans’ opinions on a nickname change would pique the public’s interest far more than a new logo — but then you risk coming up with something as awful as the MLB Cleveland Guardians or the NFL Washington Commanders.

I would vote to return to the future by returning to the Montreal Impact. Some find the name conjures up the team’s days as a minor league side – but I’d say the Impact name is already established.

Whichever direction the team chooses, it’s already clear that new president Gabriel Gervais is making his mark in place of Kevin Gilmore — and that’s a good thing. The same goes for this team’s start to the season, whatever you call them.

Hero: Carlos Alcaraz, Joel Waterman, Djordje Mihailovic, Joaquin Torres, Wilfried Nancy, Gabriel GervaisCole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, Mike Bossy &&&& last but not least, Guy Lafleur.

Zeros: Vladimir Putin, Alexander Ovechkin, Marc ScheifeleKyrie Irving, Novak Djokovic, Dillon BrooksClaude Brochu, David Samson &&&& last but not least, Jeffrey Loria.

Now and forever.



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