Canadiens May Trade Late First-Round Draft Pick For Quick Help
The Montreal Canadiens own two first-round picks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
Their own, which should be among the top 5 at the upcoming Draft, and the Florida Panthers’ pick, which, as it stands, would be 18th overall.
It’s no secret Kent Hughes has suggested he’s willing to use an important asset to kickstart the rebuild, as to acquire a young player that would solve a significant weakness on the roster.
And now we can assume the Panthers’ pick could be in play.
Or at the very least, hockey insider Pierre LeBrun thinks it’s in play.
It’s worth remembering LeBrun speaks to every general manager for a series of articles at the end of every season. It would be reasonable to assume that he’s spoken to Kent Hughes recently.
“You have a team like Montreal that I believe would listen on Florida’s first-round pick, that they own, that will probably be a mid-round, first-round pick.”
Seeing as Montreal made a homerun trade last season by trading defenceman Alexander Romanov to the Islanders for a first-round pick, then immediately turning around and flipping the pick for a valuable asset that should improve the team for the foreseeable future, they’re keen on repeating the process.
“(Florida’s pick is available) if they can make the type of hockey trade like they did with Kirby Dach a year ago,” said LeBrun.
The question becomes, can the Canadiens find another young player on the market that could provide excellent long-term value?
The first player that comes to mind is Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Winnipeg Jets center that has reportedly decided his next destination will be Montreal.
“I think the Jets have talked to the Canadiens on and off about Dubois,” said Elliotte Friedman last week. “Is there some way, we know Dubois is going to end up there, 95 percent, is there some way we can make a deal so the Canadiens get him earlier and we get something we want?”
Friedman went on to mention the Canadiens and the Jets had likely discussed a trade for Dubois, and once again, it would not be unreasonable to assume the Panthers’ first-round pick was put into play.
However, it’s also fair to assume the Jets are looking for an asset that is much more NHL-ready than a first-round pick. They could use the pick in another deal, which would give them decent leverage to fill the potential gigantic gap left by Dubois in their roster, but we’re starting to get ahead of ourselves when it comes to the Dubois dossier.
It’s also worth noting the Canadiens are not the only team to have reportedly put a first-round pick on the trade market.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and the St-Louis Blues are also baiting their line with quality picks.
“That includes the first-round pick (Columbus) acquired from the LA Kings in the Gavrikov trade. It’s not going to be a high pick, obviously, given where the Kings are in the standings. We already know the Blues have said publicly they will listen with their late first-round picks.”
The good news for the Canadiens is despite not being the only team offering a first-round pick, the one they’re offering (18th overall) is significantly better than the picks offered by their competition, the Blue Jackets (25th overall) and the Blues (26th and 27th overall).
And when it comes to addressing organizational weaknesses, it goes beyond the dearth of talent down the middle for the Canadiens.
In addition to needing more centres, they require talented wingers with natural shooting talent, and smart defencemen that have a penchant for quick puck retrievals and controlled exits, not to mention a legitimate option for a long-term starting goaltender, in case Samuel Montembeault does not pan out.
Simply put, the cupboards are rather bare, and a first-round pick would go a long way in restocking the hope pipeline.
Dangling a first-round pick may be the best way to achieve such a goal, especially since we’re heading into one of the most talent-heavy drafts in recent NHL history. Teams could be enticed if a certain player falls down the board.
Of course, that means trading such a pick comes with a certain amount of risk.
Unless the Canadiens can put their hands on a game-changing presence, their pick is probably better off being used rather than traded.
But given Hughes’ history of sticking to his guns in trade negotiations, which tends to result in a great deal for his team, Canadiens fans can rest easy knowing no decision will be made without due diligence performed beforehand.
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If he is serious that he wants to come to Montreal, you could get Dubois in free agency in a year. It would be stupid to give up a pick for him to get him sooner since it would make no difference to our chances.
Just like with Huberdeau, players just LOVE IT when teams toy around with them like objects. Wait little Hab, just like Bergevin and see everyone sign elsewhere. If you truly want players to play in Montreal you have to go get them and prove to them that this team is worth there time, not the other way around. Florida or Tampa trades for him next season and figures how to fit him, say goodbye Dubois, hello forever tank
Oh like Dubois has led two teams to Stanley Cup wins already? I say keep the pick and build the team the way great teams are built. Either Dubois comes or he doesn’t but he’s not worth that pick. .
With fans like you, this team will be at the bottom forever more
I’ve been a Habs fan since before you were born, I’m willing to bet. I’ve got news for you. We last won in 1993. That’s close enough to forever and trading away draft picks and prospects in order not to lose has put us right where we are. Sergachev for Drouin anyone? I think Hughes and Gorton are smarter than that. We’ll see.
When I hear rumours that at least 3 teams are willing to ship out their 1st round picks, and several already moved 1st round picks at the deadline, does that not say maybe this draft class isn’t as great as it’s being hyped to be? Heading into this season we’re lead to believe that this draft is brimming with franchise cornerstone and elite players. Then the deadline comes and goes and as we’re approaching the end of the season we can see that like at least 1/3 of these picks were moved or are available. The closer we get to the draft, the more information teams have accumulated on the kids in the upcoming draft. If all these teams felt that moving their picks was a smart move, does that not say that maybe the kids available after the top 5-8 maybe aren’t that special afterall? Makes you wonder..
It’s not an exact science. Where was Bergeron drafted? 45th?
Oh, I know. History is littered with great players chosen late. Robitaille and Datsyuk were picked 171st, Zetterberg was 210th and Brett Hull was 117th. The list goes on. I was just thinking out loud about how hyped this draft has been, yet so many teams are willing to trade their picks. By this point in the season, so much data has been collected by scouting departments, it would seem many are thinking that maybe this draft isn’t all its been hyped up to be.
I wouldnt trade Florida’s 1st round pick for Dubois. We all know he wants to come to Montreal and so are other teams too. I would try to build something around Harris , a prospect like Strubble/Norlinder/Primeau and a draft pick between 2nd or 3rd round pick .
I think we are at a point where we should aim for quality over quantity for our prospects and i would try to capitalize on that. There will be ALOT of quality prospect still available around the 15th pick overall .