Overall I think they did pretty well. I don't really get the complaints about drafting small players, I am so tired of the Habs taking coke machines and I'm glad they swung for the fences on skill. Kotkaniemi is an inch shorter and the same weight as vaunted physical force Brady Tkachuk, and Olofsson is a big 6'2" two way center who played a tough game in the Allsvenskan as a 17 year old. I'm not concerned in the slightest that they took swings on smaller skill guys with other later picks. Ylonen isn't that small either, 6'0" 170 isn't a pro frame yet but he's not exactly Brian Gionta.
Kotkaniemi was a good calculated risk IMO. I can't fault them for the pick no matter what happens, I admire the chutzpah to make the pick and if he ends up being 85-90% as talented as Zadina but plays a puck possession and distribution game at C I think we'll be pretty happy with it.
I really like Ylonen, he was 15th on Pronman's board which excites me. Stats aren't eye popping but he's an insanely good skater and he played in a men's league so I hope there's a lot of room to grow.
Romanov is a question mark. People who follow the MHL seem to like him but it just seems like quite a reach, I guess we'll see but I'm not a big fan of the pick. I know they probably felt comfortable to reach with tons of 2nd rounders but with Wilde/Woo/McBain/McLeod/Tychonik/Thomas/Durzi on the board it feels like a big gamble.
Olofsson seems like a solid pick, big center who played in Allsvenskan at 17 (helped promote his team to SHL for next year). He was ranked around 35 by most lists so I'm happy to get him at 56. Seems like more of a middle 6 two way C but that's also a pretty big team need.
Hillis seems good too, to me he seems like a guy who could end up on the wing as a pro and play a middle six role, and it's always a good sign to be taking one of the best players off a CHL team.
Harris feels like a real "Timmins" pick, scored in bunches in high school and committed to Northeastern (NCAA), I don't think we'll see him for at least 3 years but the skill is intriguing. Feels like a reach as well but at 71 that's not a big deal and you can afford to swing on a guy with skill.
McShane again feels like a guy you swing at, smallish and from what I've read not an amazing skater. Still, to get a PPG CHL guy that late is nice, and you've got to imagine that picking this many skilled C's in a draft will give you good odds of having a couple turn into real players.
Gorniak another US High School guy, had crazy stats with his high school play, I guess we'll just have to see how he plays at Univ. of Wisconsin and see from there. Again, I have no issue with swinging on skill, I am so 100% done with the Habs taking "safe" picks because when you look at the success rates, taking a coke machine who can't score in the draft is actually incredibly risky.
Fonstad feels like a real coup, to get a PPG player from the best league in the CHL at 128th is great. I'm mostly just going off Pronman's report for him but he sounds like a really skilled player to get so late and again, the Habs should just be rolling as many dice as they can on high end stars. I'd rather the Habs draft guys who have a top 6 ceiling than use picks on "safe" defensive 3rd liners who are a dime a dozen as free agents.
Houde is whatever, two way Q center project, maybe could quibble with this pick but I'm not sure how much else was available.
Stapley is a 7th rounder, small guy with great scoring in BC Jr. A, another guy where I think you just have to wait and see how his college season (Denver) goes and hope for a good trajectory.
Overall I think they did well. I guess time will tell about that Romanov pick but outside that pick I don't think there's much I would quibble at too much. Wilde/Woo/McBain/McLeod/Tychonik/Thomas/Durzi are the sexier picks but most of them did fall quite a bit even after the Habs picked so perhaps there were some issues other teams had with those guys as well.
The thing about a draft like this is you just have so many dice to roll, to me it feels like a smart play to draft as many guys like Hillis/McShane/Gorniak/Fonstad - smaller skill players with tons of upside and just hope that you get a player or two out of them. The Habs just desperately need any gamebreaking talent, and I think the best way to get it is to just continue rolling the dice on players with a strong track record of scoring and hope for the best. Romanov/Gorniak/Stapley/Harris feel like projects to me, but I think we might see Kotkaniemi and Oloffsson very soon and they will be really nice to have.