Brett Lernout decided not to attend the National Hockey League draft because he didn’t think he’d be selected very high and wanted to spend some time with family in Winnipeg.

But the Canadiens coveted the physical defenceman enough to move up in the third round to select Lernout in the third round with the 73rd overall pick.

“I was happy that they thought so much of me that they gave up two picks,” Lernout said over the phone. “I think they’re going to need physical defencemen in the future and that’s my game.”

The Canadiens obtained the pick from the Arizona Coyotes, giving up their third-round pick (No. 87) and fourth-round pick (No. 117).

Lernout played all 72 games for the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos last season, scoring eight goals and adding 14 assists. The 6-foot-4, 206-pounder was also plus-7 and led the team with 103 penalty minutes.

Lernout said he would spend the next few years working on his puck-handling and foot speed.

“He’s a tough kid and we moved up in the draft because we wanted him and we thought there were some other teams that might have grabbed him if we didn’t make that move,” said Trevor Timmins, the Canadiens’ director of amateur scouting.