MONTREAL -- The Canadiens kicked off their day by selecting Finnish centerman Joonas Nattinen at No. 65 overall.
The 6-foot-2, 183-pounder played in the Finnish Junior league last season where he had 38 points in 30 games, including 29 assists. The playmaking center from Jamsa, Finland is a well-rounded two-way player who suited up for his homeland at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa, where he had three points in six games and was the third best faceoff man in the tournament at 63 percent.
Nattinen becomes the fourth player to ever be selected 65th by the Canadiens and the first Finn nabbed by Montreal on Draft day since 2003, when Oskari Korpikari got the call at No. 217 overall. While it may be too soon to tell for Olivier Fortier who went 65th in 2007, no player chosen at this spot by Montreal has ever reached the NHL, with far from household names IIka Mikkola and Lee Brodeur being the other two players.
Next up for the Canadiens at No. 79 was Mac Bennett a blue line selection from Warwick, RI. The 6-foot rearguard posted 11 points in 15 games at Hotchkiss, a prep school in Connecticut in an injury-shortened season. Ranked 40th among North American skaters, Bennett vaulted 23 spots since the midterm rankings. He will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall of 2010.
Now fully recovered from a sprain of his right MCL, Bennett is eager to continue his development.
“This summer I’ll just be working out a lot, trying to get bigger and stronger,” said Bennett. “ I’ll probably stay of the ice for a while and work as hard as I can off the ice.
“I don’t shy away from the physical part of the game, but I wouldn’t say that I’m a checker," added Bennett. "I’m more of an offensive defenseman, quarterback on the power play type of guy. If I have to hit or I have to fight, I can do that too.”
Bennett isn’t short on NHL bloodlines. His grandfather is former Bruins goaltender Harvey Bennett (1944-45) and his uncles, Curt and Harvey Bennett Jr. both played in the NHL. Curt was drafted by the Atlanta Flames and went on to suit up for 580 NHL games. Harvey Jr. played 268 NHL games with five different teams (Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia, Minnesota and St. Louis).
In the fourth round, Timmins and the Canadiens ventured back overseas, reaching out to explosive scoring Alexander Avtsyn of Moscow Dynamo. The 6-foot-2 right winger had a dominant season in Russia, piling up 56 goals and 110 points in 76 games.