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Overviewing The Canadiens Top Targets For 2023 NHL Draft



Montreal Canadiens draft - Habs news

Even if the Montreal Canadiens don’t win the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery, they’re still likely to draft an impact player or two this June.

Montreal Hockey Now was joined by’s Mike Morreale to discuss the players that could be available to the Montreal Canadiens at the 2023 NHL Draft.

For the longest time, the 2023 NHL Draft has been viewed as the “Connor Bedard Show“, and with due cause. Bedard has put up offensive numbers and performances that only come around once in a generation, making him the unanimous top player of this draft class.

However, outside of Bedard, you also find the likes of forwards Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson and Matvei Michkov. All of the above forwards have been in the public eye for many years now, forming what many believe to be the top tier of the draft.

However, as we’ve seen of late, the talent tier may be getting a little more crowded at the top than many initially believed; with top talents like Zach Benson, Dalibor Dvorsky and Eduard Sale joined by risers like Will Smith, Oliver Moore, Andrew Cristall and Axel Sandin-Pellikka to name a few.

MUST READ: Will Smith On Growth, Ties To Canadiens Hughes

As we get set for an important second half of the season, amateur scouts across the board continue to rave about the growing number of impact players emerging out of this year’s draft class.

Morreale believes that, given what he’s seen so far, it could be one of the more top-heavy classes in recent memory.

“Despite having Connor Bedard and Fantilli, which looks to be 1 and 2 at this stage of the season, there’s a lot of other talented players here that could have an impact,” said Morreale at the quality of the 2023 NHL Draft Class. “I think this year’s draft will top the one we saw in 2022 and also 2021, as far as first-round talent goes.”

As the Montreal Canadiens continue to separate themselves from the basement-dwellers of the NHL standings, there has been a growing concern that the Canadiens are playing themselves out of reach of Bedard, but any potential game-breaking talent in this draft class.

This may have been a valid concern in past drafts, but, as Morreale details, the talent level in the top half of the first round is unique this year.

MUST READ: 2023 NHL Draft: MHN’s Top-64 Midseason Draft Rankings

“There are many impact players coming from the NTDP this year, a ton of guys coming from the WHL, and then even internationally,” said Morreale in terms of the high number of impact players available at the top of this year’s class. ” You will see this draft be a notch above, particularly in the first round. Teams are going to be trying to get an extra pick in the first round.”

With players like Smith, Moore, Leonard, Cristall, Benson, Sale, Dvorsky and plenty more being potential targets outside the top-5 of this year’s draft, the Canadiens are well positioned to draft an impact player wherever they land within the bottom 10 of the NHL standings.

To listen to the full breakdown of potential impact players likely to be available to the Canadiens, see the full interview below:

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This issue is that to be the best you really do need the best players. If everyone is getting a great player in the draft, then we’re no farther ahead of our competition. In order to be better than our competitors (especially in the Atlantic division), we really need to be selecting in the upper tier of players of this draft (and praying that Ottawa, Detroit and Buffalo aren’t). There may be lots of good players available compared to other drafts but we need to make sure we’re drafting amongst the best of them.


Habs are sitting 7 and 11 now. Although that can change they will hopefully get 2 impact players.


We’ll get 2 good players, but those bottom teams are going to get star players and one of them is going to get a generational player. That’s the type of players we need to set ourselves apart from the teams we’re competing against (especially in the Atlantic division. Our young D are great, but none will be better than Hedman, McAvoy, Dahlin, Power, Seider or possibly even Chabot and Sanderson. Suzuki and Caufield are great, but so are Tkachuk, Stutzle, Raymond, Cozens, Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Tavares, Stamkos, Point, Kucherov, Pastrnak, Marchand, Bergeron, you name it. These are the teams we need to be better than just to get INTO the playoffs, forget about getting through 4 rounds. That’s why we need to be picking the best of the best. We have lots of depth, but other than Caufield no one is an elite gamebreaker. Our competition already have them. We need to get them too.


You’re focusing too hard around whataboutism and your fear of missing out… Bergeron, Marchand, Tavares, stamkos, Kuch, hedman… these are all players who will be out of the league in the next 3 years lol and if there’s an off chance any are still in by then, they won’t be near their potentials. Tampa, Toronto and Boston are a couple years away from totally imploding once their core starts retiring, they have no good picks and players test free-agency. Hutson, guhle& Mailloux all have serious potential to debunk your defence comment- give it a few years and revisit. Kk over tkachuck and slaf over wright are hopefully lessons learned for the draft, I’d be more concerned of front office absolutely fumbling first rounds as per usual. Either way, greener pastures after this draft. Take a deep breath and keep that glass half full


Thank you for the civilized response. I hear ya. Don’t worry, I am a glass half full and patient guy. But I’m also practical. Matthews and Marner are 25 and Nylander is 26. They’re a long way from being over the hill. 😁 Toronto’s still got a big window. Focussing on whataboutism is exactly what building a champion is all about. And remember, the goal is to build a champion, not just a good team. We’ve had a bunch of these the past 30 years. We blew up a team that was within 3 wins of a Cup to build a team that is better. We had a superstar in Price, and stars in Weber, Petry, Toffoli, etc. The kids we are drafting have to turn out better than those guys for us to be ahead of where we were, otherwise we spend 5+ years stinking only to get back to where we already were before blowing up the team. That’s why we have to be drafting better players than our competitors, and to get those, they have to be from the top of the draft. Ottawa, Buffalo and Detroit will all be adding yet another excellent kid to their already stacked pipelines of youth. They are all at least a few years ahead of us in their rebuilds. As the Tampas, Bostons, and Torontos, all begin their declines, Ottawa, Buffalo and Detroit will be taking their place. We all love our kids coming up, but I’m sure the fans of those aforementioned teams all feel the same way about theirs too. In Craig Button’s Core 4 under 24 team rankings Detroit is ranked #2, Buffalo #3, us #4 and Ottawa #5 in the league, so from a league standpoint we’re in good shape, but from a division standpoint we’re 3rd best. We can’t just assume that only we have a great future. Our 3 biggest competitors fighting for a playoff spot in the future also are pretty set up for success. That’s why landing a top (or THE top) player in this draft is so important. We need to get one and pray our competition doesn’t otherwise we’re no further ahead in the battle to just make the playoffs in the future, let alone go all the way. How the team is managed and how the cap is handled can have a great affect and give us an edge, but Detroit has a guy named Yzerman you may have heard of, and no offence to HuGo, but we aren’t going to outsmart him. So again, it’s going to come down to who has the better players. The great equalizer will be in net. If we can find another superstar goalie, then we can rise to the top. But that’s more luck than anything.

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