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Habs Mailbag: Drafting Michkov, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Trades



Matvei Michkov Canadiens draft targe

Welcome back to another edition of the Canadiens mailbag!

This week we delve into the Matvei Michkov Draft dossier, a possible Pierre-Luc Dubois trade, scouting, and of course, the bellybutton of a giant, just like everyone anticipated.

I’d like to apologize in advance for answering so few questions as well as an editorial oversights. I’m currently travelling, and the internet connections aren’t ideal. I’ll make up for it by answering more questions next week.

Let’s get right into it!


You could argue Pierre-Luc Dubois is worth more than the package James put forth, and you’d be right.

Let’s face it, he’s a young center with size and talent to spare, one of the most sought-after assets in the NHL.

However, given his intentions are rather clear, I’d try to maintain as many organizational assets as possible and rely on Dubois making his way to Montreal in a season as a free agent, rather than a trade.

It’s risky, sure, but with the risk comes a significant reward. Or rather, a significant discount. Trading Filip Mesar, Christian Dvorak, a first-round pick, as well as another prospect and pick just seems like too high of a cost to acquire a player a little earlier than planned.

If the Winnipeg Jets decide they’d rather receive pennies on the dollar than lose Dubois for free, I’d definitely entertain trade talks, and sending a late first-round pick does seem like a reasonable cost to acquire a player with Dubois’ skillset, who also happens to be in his prime.

Essentially, I’m advocating for greed, which isn’t always a great call when you accidentally stumble upon a shipping container of 30-year-old chocolate bars washed up on the beach, but it does lead to championships in sports if you play your cards right.

On a completely unrelated note, does anyone know the cure for ingesting way too many chocolate bars that were made in Czechoslovakia a little while before the fall of the Iron Curtain? Just asking…for a friend.

Drafting European players certainly involves more logistics to perform due diligence, however, it’s not as complicated as it once was, especially since it’s much easier to gather and share information from remote locations.

The Canadiens used to hold European combines, which allowed them to give European players an opportunity to prove their worth without flying to North America for the NHL’s combine. Also, not every prospect gets invited to the combine, which means some players slip through the cracks.

Alexander Romanov, for example, was not invited to the NHL combine, and yet, he impressed Canadiens scouts enough at the European combine to warrant a second-round pick. The Canadiens also ended up picking Jesse Ylonen in the second round.

That combine may have indirectly led to Kirby Dach joining the Canadiens, but it also exposed the risk of falling in love with prospects that teams may not have had enough opportunities to evaluate.

In addition to Romanov and Ylonen, the Canadiens drafted Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall as well as Jacob Olofsson in the second round, providing the yin to the European scouting yang.

I’m not entirely sure if the Canadiens intend on holding European combines now that they have new scouts on board, but I do know Kent Hughes and Co. are planning a trip to Europe in the near future, which is a good sign for a team that relies on the Draft to rebuild.


Without a shadow of a doubt.

The earth has been salted in Montreal for Drouin, through no fault of his own, but we seem to be ignoring that he finished the season with a .5 points-per-game scoring rate, which was higher than Josh Anderson’s points-per-game pace.

He won’t command top dollars due to his tumultuous time in Montreal and the unreasonable expectations placed upon his shoulders before he even put on a Canadiens jersey, but there’s always a market for offensive-minded players in the NHL.

I listened to the podcast on my train to the hunting cabin, and I seemed to have missed the part where the Canadiens were confirmed to like Matvei Michkov as a prospect.

I don’t have time to go through the entire podcast again, unfortunately, but if I am wrong (which happens a lot) please let me know in the replies below.

And if it is true, my only reaction is “Good.”

Why wouldn’t a team desperate for offensive talent be interested in a player overflowing with offensive talent?

As an aside, I’ve heard several people mention Nick Bobrov’s father works for SKA in the KHL, and while that may have been true at one point, he’s no longer an active member of the team.

The last I saw, he was listed as a consultant coach during a press release wishing him a happy 73rd birthday.

Jesse Ylonen owns the best one-timer on the team, full stop.

And I’m not trying to take anything away from Cole Caufield, who is clearly one of the team’s best shooters, but Ylonen can connect on a one-timer from middling AHL players, whereas Caufield usually has NHL All-Star Nick Suzuki teeing him up.

I’d also suggest Emil Heineman should be added to the one-timer list.

As for the most underrated shot, I’d say either Kirby Dach or Juraj Slafkovsky, though I’m of the opinion that the latter has a better shot than the former, he just needs to learn how to trust it.

That’ll come with time. Rookies almost always defer to their older linemates.

Hopefully, next season we’ll see Slafkovsky take more shots than my family at an Irish wake.

I sincerely doubt it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The Canadiens still need shooting talent on their roster, and despite having a bad reputation across the league, Hoffman’s play this year did not warrant as much criticism as it received.

His production is reasonable for his salary cap hit, and with a healthy roster next season we’re likely to see an uptick in production from Hoffman, which would then, hopefully, lead to more interest around the league.

But for now, from what I hear, there is no interest whatsoever for Hoffman in the trade market.

As it stands, the Canadiens have roughly $10 million in available cap space next season, however, that doesn’t include Carey Price’s LTIR cap relief.

They will have to commit a little over a million dollars to pay for carryover bonus overages, not to mention the $8 to $10 million they’ll have to pay Cole Caufield once they agree to a contract extension.

But other than Caufield, there are no significant players left to sign. Alex Belzile and Rafael Harvey-Pinard need new contracts, and there are a few other RFAs to take care of, but that’s about it.

I realize my answer isn’t exactly the type of in-depth answer you’re used to seeing in these mailbags, and for that, I apologize.

I’m at a train station, and for the love of Maurice Richard, I can’t seem to load CapFriendly, on the janky Wi-Fi, which means I’m working off memory. On that note, thank Maurice Richard for CapFriendly. It’s such an invaluable resource.

Back in my day, we used to walk around with an onion on our belt because it was the style at the time, and we had to wait for the local paper to print a once-per-year breakdown of all the NHL salaries.

I broke down the salary cap projection at the start of the season, and while the information may be out of date, you’ll still get the gist of the situation.

It’s simply too costly to buy a professional sports team, especially when you’re dealing with just a handful of prospects.

Also, many of the European teams that produce excellent players have existed for longer than NHL clubs and have a strong local support base, which means they probably wouldn’t take too kindly to NHL teams wanting to take over their operations with the sole goal of eventually poaching their talent.

On that note, I think NHL teams should form partnerships with European teams, and consequently, put in place a better compensation package whenever they end up nabbing one of their best prospects.

I can’t see any team offering an asset for Joel Armia.

Not to be harsh (which is always what someone says before they’re about to get harsh), but Armia has negative value in the NHL with that contract.

He’s destined for a buyout.

Given how much Edmundson struggled down the stretch, not to mention his chronic back issues, I genuinely do not see him garnering much interest, but there’s always the chance a general manager gets desperate for a veteran defenceman with a one-year contract.

Dvorak, on the other hand, could end up having value on the market if he returns to the form he displayed once Martin St-Louis took over as bench boss in 2021-22, but I don’t think a team will offer the Canadiens assets for Dvorak at the moment.

I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, but I get the sense all three will be in the lineup at training camp, except for those who are injured, which, given the Canadiens’ luck, will probably be all three.

I once heard the belly button is the most bacteria-ridden area on the body, and bacteria means activity, and activity means it’s time for a party.

To be perfectly honest, a sweaty, smelly, and humid party is exactly how I’d describe my university days.

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Regarding PLD, I agree that giving up picks and assets, especially from THIS draft, is not ideal…because we could get him for free a year later. Big word: COULD.

Its not a guarantee. Maybe he signs elsewhere.


It comes down to whether or not the Habs move up in this draft and get, say the 1st or 2nd pick, so then Bedard or Fantilli come into play. If the Habs get either of these two in this draft, we can kiss PLD goodbye – won’t need him with Bedard/Fant, Nick, and Dach.

However, if the Habs do NOT get either of these two and draft a high end winger instead (like Benson), then the PLD thing is in play.

I say we wait until RFA offer-sheet time, and offer-sheet him away from Winny. They automatically get the Habs 1st and 3rd in NEXT YEARS draft as compensation (NHL rules). That seems like the BEST Winny could/would get for PLD in this situation. If they instead match the Habs offer and keep him another year, they screw themselves. So I say Winny does not match, and Habs get him for the above referenced deal. I’m fine with that…next year’s draft won’t be as top heavy as this one, and we have a year to prepare to recoup these two picks.

Last edited 1 month ago by morrisk
Captain Kirk

PLD would be an asset on the Habs and (any other team). I guess it depends on how fast PLD wants to move out of Winnipeg and/or is he ‘exclusive’ to Montreal? Lots of moving parts and probably more we don’t know about until it happens but if it got down as you’re thinking-that would be a good deal imo.


If they offer sheet him isn’t the compensation based on the Habs offer to him? And Winnipeg would have the option to match it and he would be lost to Montreal.


It has been previously mentioned that if Habs low-ball offer sheet WPG that would be the ultimate screw-job.

Imagine an offer sheet of $4.2M for 1 yr. If WPG doesn’t match, Habs get a 1 yr steal and can resign 8 more years averaging the cost. All they lose is a 2nd Rd next year. If WPG matches, they have 1 yr left at a good price, BUT cannot (per offer sheet rules) trade Dubois at Trade Deadline – meaning they get nothing for him at all before he walks.


At 4.2 , he would be stuck there and they couldn’t deal him. But that would also give them time to convince him to resign(even if it seems unlikely). With a higher offersheet, better chance they accept and we secure him and work out a long term contract.

Best would be to see if we can work out a deal where we can move a contract as well.

Armia or Hoffman with a 2nd and Dvorak for Dubois and a 4th.


If we hit on a top 2 pick, there is nothing wrong with having to play wing to start his career have Dach play wing where he was comfortable this year. Organization depth can change how a player is viewed after a trade. And a big addition. Dach could also be moved to 3rd line to roll 3 offensive lines and Beck could play wing to start or play on 4th line with Evans.

Imagine 2024/25:
Bedard Dubois Anderson
Dach Suzuki Caulfield


Hi Marc!

I was the one that asked the question about Michkov and Bobrov’s supposed infatuation with him. I would like to note that the rumor came from the Tony Marinaro podcast, where he completely twisted the words of a CBJ reported into “Bobrov thinks Michkov’s the Russian Bedard”. The actual report from the writer in question has nothing to do with Montreal, Michkov, or Bobrov.

I think many Habs fans last night and this morning got excited over the idea of Montreal drafting Michkov, should he fall to them at pick number 5. I was one of them, mostly because I’ve read many reports saying that MTL would stay far away from Michkov in the top 10.

All of this buzz came from the mentioned segment on Marinaro’s podcast, and Marinaro then revealed that he got the source from an infamous fake rumor site “Hockey 30”. It seems like the fault of this fake rumor is more a result of Marinaro not doing his due diligence as a reporter, rather than anything else.

It makes me sad to once again think that Montreal will pass on such a talented prospect like Michkov, but I’m not Kent Hughes, and I can’t make that pick.

Thanks for responding to my question, and enjoy your trip!


I wouldn’t trust ANYTHiNG coming out of the Habs management/scouting team about who they want/don’t want at this point.

Drafting 5-7 requires secrecy and misinformation


I don’t understand why Michkov’s father being murdered in suspicious circumstances isn’t setting off alarm bells. First there’s the psychological trauma of the tragedy; God take care of that poor kid, what a thing to endure. Who knows what it does to the mental aspect of his game.

It would also be irresponsible not to consider the very real possiblity that it involved organized crime and/or the Russian government—which opens up a whole new can of worms. Do the Canadiens want to deal with providing security to a player’s overseas family or the possiblity that he’s being shaken down or used as a political pawn? And what would *that* do to his state of mind?

I hope Michkov has a brilliant career … but spending a high pick on him is nuts.

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