This is an exciting time for the Montreal Canadiens and their fans, as they get ready to look to take the first big steps in their roster transformation this off-season.
To talk more about the 2022 NHL Draft, Montreal Hockey Now was joined by NHL Analyst Pierre McGuire to outline what comes next for the Habs.
Montreal Canadiens Re-Something
When asked about what to expect this summer, McGuire believes the Montreal Canadiens will be very busy in trying to move out players for futures and young assets.
“For Montreal, they’ve already started to clean house with by trading Shea Weber out and bringing in Dadonov from Vegas. They’re starting to move bodies,” said McGuire on what the Montreal Canadiens’ plans are moving forward.” You would think that they’d want to stockpile young assets because of the direction that they’re going.
McGuire believes that the Montreal Canadiens are in good hands, as executive vice-president Geoff Gorton has a good track record of getting teams back to their winning ways through shrewd drafting and smart trades.
“Jeff Gorton proved that his formula works. He did a heck of a job with the New York Rangers,” said McGuire on the work former the New York Rangers general manager did in building a competitive team in the Big Apple. “You look at how the Rangers played this year, and that was all under the vision of Jeff Gorton.”
With five picks in the first 66 selections of the 2022 NHL Draft, the Montreal Canadiens have the luxury of adding more quality to a prospect pool that is already overflowing with quantity. There are a few candidates that the Montreal Canadiens could target as potential trade-up candidates for the 2022 NHL Draft, and McGuire chimed in on a few options, like Jonathan Lekkerimaki.
“He’s an explosive offensive player, he’s got an amazing release, he’s a guy that attacks with pace coming from the blueline out,” said McGuire on Lekkerimaki. “His release is NHL-ready, and he shoots the puck like an NHL player right now.”
McGuire also gave a stamp of approval to the dynamic and skilled Frank Nazar from the US National Development Program. McGuire believes he’d be an excellent target for the Montreal Canadiens, should they be able to climb up in the Draft.
“Frank’s a pure scorer and plays with a lot of pace,” said McGuire on Nazar. “He’ can score. He’s not as small as Cole Caufield, and I don’t know if he has as good a release as Caufield, but he’s put up pretty dynamic scoring numbers. The one thing I’ll say about him is that his work habits are impeccable and coachability is there as well.”
Lastly, McGuire discussed the possibility of Brad Lambert, who many saw as a top-5 prospect at this time last year.
“Skating is elite and I think the character is good. Had a great start to the World Juniors before it got shut down,” said McGuire on Brad Lambert. “He’s played with a bunch of different teams. The numbers were not overwhelming and I think it’s something that people are looking out for.”
To listen to the entire episode with Pierre McGuire about the 2022 NHL Draft, see below: