Trevor Timmins Future in Montreal?
With two assistants in Rick Dudley and Larry Carriere, new head honcho Marc Bergevin has flanked himself with respected NHL talent, and followed up those moves by filling the long needed hole of “Director of Player Personnel” to the 7th floor of the Bell Center. Welcome to Montreal, Scott Mellanby! Aside from the required departure from the Gauthier regime, the question swirling in my mind, and in the minds of many other Habs fans is what becomes, if anything, of the current Director of Amateur Scouting (and now ex-Director of Player Development), Trevor Timmins? With his incredible eye for talent, Timmins must be considered one of the brightest minds in the organization, even with the recent additions.
The easy answer is that he now focuses on what he does best: find talented teenagers that will one day don the bleu-blanc-rouge. He’s done a superb job of that, and all Habs fans should pray that he is excited to focus solely on what he excels best at. There are no shortage of websites that will show you that the Canadiens, under Timmins watchful eye, graduate a ton of talent to the NHL. But while the Canadiens were very much capable of identifying NHL-calibre talent, their ability to develop that talent was less than underwhelming. Trevor Timmins held the double title of Director of Procurement and Player Development before yesterday’s Mellanby announcement. It seems imminent that the Canadiens official site will soon change that to reflect Mellanby’s share in those duties. What does Timmins think of this? I suppose if he felt overwhelmed, or that he could not do both jobs justice, then he would be relieved to have some pressure alleviated. But what if he didn’t feel overwhelmed? And what if Timmins has greater aspirations than that of the head of amateur scouting? If Timmins does have any ambition to rise up through the executive ranks, and at just 44 years old, there’s no reason to believe that he doesn’t, then you’ve got to believe that he isn’t particularly thrilled about this move. With at least 20 years left in his hockey career, do we really expect him to stay put, and remain content?
Put yourself in Timmins’ shoes for a moment. You are one of the lone holdovers on the hockey operations side from the previous regime. Although you have been with the Canadiens for more than 10 years, you may now suddenly feel like an outsider as your new boss hires his old friends, who represent roadblocks to climbing the ladder in Montreal…and your contract status is up in the air. I don’t know about you, but such a scenario wouldn’t fill me with confidence.
While I fully and completely agree that these moves were welcome, and necessary, and while I am overjoyed at what this group may soon accomplish, they are not immune to possible repercussions and potential consequences. Unless Timmins is very happy with this scenario, and I pray that he is, I would say that there is a good chance that his time with the Canadiens is coming to an end some time after the 2012 amateur draft.
The 2012 Amateur Draft
A recent mock draft on Rotoworld would see the Canadiens landing the long-time consensus #1 pick in Nail Yakupov. How would that work? In the mind of the writer, the Oilers would draft to fill their glaring need: a stud defenseman, and would therefore grab Ryan Murray. At second overall, the Blue Jackets would avoid drafting another Russian and select Swedish winger Filip Forsberg. At third overall, the Habs would land Yakupov.
Well isn’t that convenient? I suppose in the “anything can happen” vein, I’ll consider this as a remotely possible scenario. But the two big problems I have with this mock draft is that the Oilers would not be maximizing the value of the number one pick by choosing Murray. With 5 of the projected top 10 prospects (according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie) being defensemen, the Oilers could easily trade down, still get Murray a few spots later and have another asset (or more) in the bank. Simply put, taking Ryan Murray with the first overall pick doesn’t make sense.
The mock draft also assumes that the Blue Jackets are now sour on the idea of drafting Russians, and would avoid selecting Yakupov for fear that he would be a bust, like Nikolai Zherdev and Nikita Filatov were. What the mock draft ignores, however, is that Yakupov’s participation in the OHL can likely be considered a strong indicator of his desire to play and excel at the NHL level. Both Zherdev and Filatov were developed in Russia and it is conceivable that they were not prepared for hockey, or life in North America. Let’s also consider that the face of the Blue Jackets franchise, Rick Nash, will eventually be traded, and you’ve got to wonder who will do the goal scoring in Columbus? At third overall, Marc Bergevin would have a gift fall directly in to his lap. He would jump at the chance to pick the electrifying Yakupov, and deal with the ongoing lack at center at a later time.
While the writer of the mock draft certainly presents a hopeful picture for the Canadiens, I can’t see any reason why this would actually come to pass. If the Oilers want to get their franchise defenseman, they’d could look at the Canadiens, Blue Jackets, or Islanders as possible trade partners. They could swap the number one pick to any of those teams, get additional assets in return, and still have a great chance at landing Murray in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th slot.