The Montreal Canadiens were transparent about their desire to want to move up at the 2022 NHL Draft, and their specific target has been revealed.
As mentioned in his most recent article for La Presse, Mathias Brunet breaks down some of the Montreal Canadiens’ plans during the 2022 NHL Draft.
A Trade-Up Candidate Revealed
On top of breaking down the entire timeline of the discussions that led Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens, Brunet also brings up that the Canadiens were looking to move up in the 2022 NHL Draft to select centre Noah Ostlund.
The 18-year-old was part of a trio of young Swedes playing for Djugardens in the SHL, since relegated to Hockeyallsvenskan, that took the U-18 Worlds by storm last spring and shocked the Americans to a gold medal finish.
Ostlund was ranked in the 10-to-25 range on most lists, but Brunet contends that the Canadiens had Ostlund as high as 5th on their draft list and were trying to package picks 26 and 33 (ultimately used to select Filip Mesar and Owen Beck) to do it. Ultimately, Ostlund’s name was called at the 16th rank by the Buffalo Sabres.
Leading up to the draft, the Canadiens had also taken Ostlund’s teammate, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, the leading scorer of the U18s, to dinner while in Buffalo during the NHL Combine.
Ostlund has been off to a strong start in Sweden’s 2nd tier division, posting two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 16 games. He’s outperformed Lekkerimaki, who was selected a pick before him by the Vancouver Canucks at 15th overall, and Minnesota Wild 1st rounder Liam Ohgren by a wide margin and has been noticeable so far.
He was signed by the Buffalo Sabres almost immediately and loaned back to his Swedish club. Fans will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Ostlund when he suits up for Sweden next month in the World Junior Championships.
Noah Östlund (11) running the right side of the PP. He eventually retrieves the Lekkerimäki carom and drops it off for Oskar Asplund for the goal. Sweden falls to Finland 6-1. pic.twitter.com/9QoQz6beQC
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) November 12, 2022
Would You Make That Deal Today?
Although Ostlund is a very talented player, one would have to think that the Canadiens would have thought twice about trying to move two high picks had they known how quickly Owen Beck has developed since being selected 33rd overall.
In 15 games this season, he has amassed 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points in just 15 games; and his 1.47 points-per-game has him tied for fifth in the OHL overall. Filip Mesar has also looked explosive right out of the gate, posting six goals and five assists for 11 points in just nine games.
Both speedy and skilled players will be big parts of the Canadiens’ future moving forward, with Beck looking very much like a mid-first-round talent out of the gate this season.
One could argue that some of the best deals are the ones that you don’t make.
— Mississauga Steelheads (@OHLSteelheads) November 13, 2022