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Canadiens continue to focus on defence on Day 2 of NHL draft

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Associated Press
6/25/2011 3:50:31 PM
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Montreal Canadiens had to wait a while to get into the action on Day 2 of the NHL draft, but once they got going the focus stayed on the blue-line.

After taking Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Nathan Beaulieu with the 17th pick in the first round on Friday, the Habs waited until early in the fourth round to make their next selection on Saturday.

When the dust settled, five of Montreal's seven picks at the draft were defencemen, a clear indication the Habs feel they need to get younger on the back end.

Apart from P.K. Subban, the Canadiens have an aging defence with the likes of Jaroslav Spacek, Hal Gill and Andrei Markov, although in recent weeks the club signed defence prospects Rafael Diaz and Alexei Yemelin.

Defenceman Josiah Didier of Cedar Rapids (USHL) went to the Canadiens at No. 97 and Val d'Or Foreurs left-winger Olivier Archambault was taken 11 picks later.

Montreal then added defenceman Magnus Nygren of Sweden's Farjestad at No. 113.

Didier, a six-foot-two, 199-pounder from from Littleton, Colo., had eight goals and 13 assists in 58 games for Cedar Rapids last season.

The five-foot-10, 170-pound Archambault scored 20 goals and added 33 assists in 65 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2010-'11.

The fifth round saw the Canadiens select defenceman Darren Dietz of the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades at No. 138 before taking Czech centre Daniel Pribyl in the sixth round at No. 168.

Montreal completed its 2011 draft by nabbing Connecticut high school defenceman Colin Sullivan in the seventh round with the 198th pick.

Nathan Beaulieu (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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