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Canadiens Should Be Aggressive In Trading Up At the 2022 NHL Draft

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have an opportunity to be very aggressive in trading up at the 2022 NHL Draft and they shouldn’t hesitate to do so.

In the past, the Montreal Canadiens were criticized for never trading up for the player they coveted, choosing instead to bank on their quantity of picks rather than taking a chance on quality. The Marc Bergevin era didn’t see the Montreal Canadiens trade up once in the first two rounds between the 2012 and 2021 Drafts. Instead, the Canadiens would constantly move back to acquire extra late-round picks or transfer their picks to the following year. In fact, the last time the Montreal Canadiens traded up in the 1st round of an NHL Draft was in 2010, when they made a move to jump up and select defenceman Jarred Tinordi.

The Canadiens have walked into the last four drafts (2018-2021) with ten or more draft picks at their disposal, and this year is no different. With 14 picks going into the 2022 NHL Draft and having recently acquired a handful of prospects via trade at the NHL Trade Deadline, the Montreal Canadiens have the luxury of depth in their prospect pool and can afford to be aggressive.

 

Change of Strategy For Montreal Canadiens

With Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton now at the helm, the trend of standing pat or trading down may be coming to an end. When Jeff Gorton was the general manager of the New York Rangers, he was very aggressive at the Draft table, looking to make trades to move up and select the players he coveted. In 2018, he made a move at the tail end of the first round to select K’Andre Miller at 22nd overall; a move that is currently paying dividends for the New York Rangers today and likely for years to come. In the 2020 NHL Draft, Gorton once again decided to be aggressive and trade up for defenceman Braden Schneider at 19th overall, who is also looking promising on the Rangers’ young defensive brigade.

The Montreal Canadiens have an opportunity to be just as aggressive in the 2022 NHL Draft, as they currently own two 1st round picks, potentially two 2nd round picks (depending on the Edmonton Oilers‘ playoff outcome) and three 3rd round picks. That should give them enough ammunition to pull off a trade in the first two rounds if they see a highly coveted player available in the general region of their pick.

 

Opportunity To Pounce On Fallers

The 2022 NHL Draft could have a few surprise fallers if we base ourselves on recent draft rankings released by NHL Central Scouting, as players like Frank Nazar, Denton Mateychuk, Brad Lambert and Noah Ostlund could still be available in the second half of the first round. The consensus in this draft for players ranked 12 to 30 is going to vary from team to team and this could present the perfect opportunity for the Montreal Canadiens to jump up and take a player they feel is more talented than others. This is a prime opportunity to inject high-quality talent into a deep prospect pool that currently lacks star power, and it could go a long way in helping the Montreal Canadiens start their rebuild on the right foot.

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