Can the Habs develop good prospects?

Lately, I’ve been looking a lot at the Habs drafting records.

Is the problem with the Habs the drafting or development of its players?

Going back 20 or so years, and you realize they have had a brutal record.

Yes, I’ve seen the numbers that say they actually produce more NHL players than most other teams, but most of these players go on to become third or fourth liners, or lower tier defencemen.

I’ll admit they do hit a couple of home runs (Carey Price, PK Subban, Andrei Markov), but the majority of their draft picks do not become superstar players.

The Habs haven’t drafted any superstar non-goalies in the past 20 years. There have been no 50-goal scorers, no 100-point forwards. There’s been no Norris Trophy nominee defencemen.

Just some solid players, and that’s about it.

I’ve always blasted the drafting, but I’m starting to wonder if it could be more than that. Could the Habs development system be flawed so that top prospects aren’t given the best chance to succeed?

Or maybe it’s a combination of the two.

The reason I’m thinking the development system is looking at the success players have elsewhere. Sergei Kostitsyn has had more success in Nashville than in Montreal (Andrei hasn’t been there long enough, but he averaged more than a point every two games with the Preds). Gui Latendresse has been a great player for Minnesota when not injured. Matt D’Agostini has been better for St. Louis then he was with Montreal. Mikhail Grabovski has been a top player for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ryder, Ribeiro, Hainsey, etc. All with more success once out of the organization.

And none of this takes into consideration the numerous busts the Habs have on their record.

Now, not all Habs players have success elsewhere. But when was the last time there was a trade for a young player, and you thought, “Hey, I am totally confident the Habs can have this guy fulfill his potential”?

So is the problem the drafting or the development? I’m not sure on the answer. But either the drafting or the development system is broken. The Habs need to find out which one it is, and get it fixed.


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