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Pavel Valentenko - the sleeper?

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06-26-2006, 12:04 PM
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Artyukhin*
 
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Pavel Valentenko - the sleeper?

By PAT HICKEY, The Gazette
Published: Monday, June 26, 2006

The Canadiens have a knack of discovering unheralded defenceman.

The current roster includes two late-round draft picks from Europe - Russian Andrei Markov and Switzerland's Mark Streit - as well as Francis Bouillon, who was signed as an undrafted free agent.

The latest find might be Pavel Valentenko, who was selected in the fifth round of Saturday's National Hockey League entry draft.

"Some scouts had him rated at the best (1987)-born defenceman in Europe," Canadiens director of player personnel Trevor Timmins said.

That might be, but Valentenko was definitely flying below the radar going into the draft. Central Scouting had such a low opinion of Valentenko that he wasn't included among the 200-odd players profiled in the entry draft media guide.

In a year when the available European talent was considered below par, the Central Scouting Service rated Valentenko No. 138 among Euro skaters. He appeared in only two Russian Elite League games, collecting no points and one minor penalty.

But Timmins figures he and his staff might know some things other people don't.

"Our Russian scout was urging me to pick him in the second round," Timmins said. "He has good size (6-foot-2 and 202 pounds) and he played on the Russian junior team, which toured Canada last fall. I saw him play five times and he could be the sleeper in this draft."

Timmins said the Canadiens will explore the possibility of bringing Valentenko to Canada this fall to play major junior hockey.

But history has shown that drafting is an inexact science at best.

Timmins will be the first to admit that it will be four or five years before the Canadiens can evaluate the players they selected on the weekend.

"But we feel we addressed some of the concerns we have as far as depth in our organization," said Timmins. "We're set on goal for a while, but we need defencemen and some gritty forwards and I think we addressed those concerns."

The Canadiens' first choice was David Fischer, a high-school defenceman from Apple Valley, Minn.

The Canadiens feel that he has the skating ability to thrive in the new NHL and they're banking on the weight training program at the University of Minnesota to fill out his 6-foot-3 frame.

Other defencemen selected by the Canadiens were Hull native Mathieu Carle, from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, and Cameron Cepak, a Californian who plays for the Portland Winter Hawks.

While Timmins and general manager Bob Gainey both said that size isn't as important as it has been in the past, all of their choices are at least 6 feet tall, with the exception of Ryan White, who may be the Canadiens' other sleeper in the draft.

White, who plays for the Calgary Hitmen - had a higher profile than Valentenko - he was ranked No. 27 among North American skaters - but he was still available in the fourth round, prompting the Canadiens to make a trade to move up.

"His stock went down because he was injured and he missed some games," explained Timmins.

"He broke the scaphoid bone (the same bone in the wrist which has plagued Sheldon Souray) but he's okay. His style is similar to Steve Begin's, although he's not as quick as Begin."

With the draft out of the way, the Canadiens turn their attention to signing goaltender Cristobal Huet and Bouillon before they become free agents next Saturday.

General manager Bob Gainey said he has talked to the agents for both players but "there's nothing to report yet."

phickey@thegazette.canwest.com

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06-26-2006, 12:06 PM
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Timmins said the Canadiens will explore the possibility of bringing Valentenko to Canada this fall to play major junior hockey.

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06-26-2006, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug mckenzie
Timmins said the Canadiens will explore the possibility of bringing Valentenko to Canada this fall to play major junior hockey.
That would be perfect...but not if he can get a spot with a team from the RSL. And even if he can get a spot, he wouldn't play that much because of his age so bringing him over now would be perfect...and he wouldn't be able to sign a contract of X years in Russia, like Emelin did.

And don't get too exited guys because one of our scout urged Timmins to pick Linhart in the second round, and we all know the end of the story

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06-26-2006, 12:35 PM
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And don't get too exited guys because one of our scout urged Timmins to pick Linhart in the second round, and we all know the end of the story

its not Timmins who pick Linhart...it was Martin Madden...

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06-26-2006, 12:35 PM
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C-Saku Koivu MTL
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yes, he got fired...

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06-26-2006, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug mckenzie
Timmins said the Canadiens will explore the possibility of bringing Valentenko to Canada this fall to play major junior hockey.
Will be great !!

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06-26-2006, 12:55 PM
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Timmins also said that Mathieu Carle was the best passer after Jonhson .

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06-26-2006, 01:15 PM
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The thread title scared me. I thought we drafted a narcoleptic.

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06-26-2006, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Saku Koivu MTL
yes, he got fired...
And our Russian scout can be fired too ...I know I know, he's better then Madden

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06-26-2006, 03:29 PM
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This Valentenko pick reminds me a lot of the Grabovski pick where absolutely no one had a clue who the guy was when we picked him. Could turn out great.

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