If you’re a person who likes NHL betting, it would probably be a safe bet that the Montreal Canadiens will draft with the first overall pick at the 2022 NHL Draft this Thursday at the Bell Centre. That being said, Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes did leave the door open just the slightest bit that he could end up trading down before he steps onto the podium for his first ever NHL Draft as GM of the Canadiens.
“I expect that we’re going to use that pick, but I can’t sit here and promise that we would if we received a phone call and it was too good to turn down,” Hughes acknowledged in a press conference Monday. “We have the ability to add an important piece to our organization, or pieces, because we do have multiple picks in the Draft that we’re hopeful will be a part of the next 10, 15 years of this organization.”
As reported here over the weekend, Kent Hughes has been one of the busiest NHL GM’s leading into the NHL Draft when it comes to the NHL trade market. Hughes continues and will continue to do his best to gain salary cap flexibility and improve his current and future roster.
“As far as the potential to make trades or change our roster, the one thing that we’re clearly trying to do, we’ve been up front about it and that’s why Shea Weber’s contract was traded, is we’re trying to achieve some financial flexibility or cap flexibility so that we can sign players that we have and hopefully add players as we move forward,” the Canadiens general manager added.
While the Canadiens likely won’t move the first overall pick at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, they do have 13 more picks to use as NHL trade commodities, and Hughes admitted that they still could move up from the 26th overall pick.
"There's a higher chance that we'd trade up from the 26th overall then us trading down from 1st overall" – #gohabsgo GM Kent Hughes
— Marco D'Amico (@mndamico) July 4, 2022
Both Hughes and special advisor to hockey operations Vinny Lecavalier admitted that if, as expected the Canadiens keep the first overall pick at the NHL Draft, they have not made a final decision on whether they will draft Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky or Logan Cooley.