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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Decision On Michkov Prompting Trade Speculation



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens could have the opportunity to draft phenom Matvei Michkov, but concerns over his future are already sparking trade speculation.

For the first time in 41 years, the Canadiens are picking in the top 5 of back-to-back drafts; a sign that the team has embraced the idea of building through the draft and taking a long-term approach to success.

After securing the 5th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery, all eyes are now on the 2023 NHL Draft and what the Canadiens will be doing with the pick.

With the top tier of the draft consisting of Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michkov, and Will Smith, the Canadiens could be adding a significant piece to their organization; a player that could be a game-changer for the franchise.

However, given the uncertainty regarding which of these five will be available to the Montreal Canadiens come June 28, the hypotheticals have already begun swirling.

When looking at the top of the draft, the first two picks are virtual locks, with Bedard and Fantilli heading to the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks respectively.

From the third overall pick, things become a little more unpredictable, as Smith, Michkov, and Carlsson are all clear options.

But what happens if the Canadiens are on the clock and only Matvei Michkov remains?

To Michkov Or Not To Michkov?

A large portion of the Montreal Canadiens fan base would like to see the organization shoot for a home run and select the star forward, despite his three-year contract in the KHL and the ongoing sociopolitical situation in Russia.

However, notions of possibly moving the selection, either by trading down in the draft or trading away the pick altogether, have started to surface amid the Canadiens’ hesitancy to give concrete answers on Michkov’s candidacy at 5th overall.

On Tuesday morning, BPM Sports host JiC Lajoie also joined in on the debate, stating the risks were simply too high to take Michkov and that the Canadiens should flip the pick for Pierre-Luc Dubois.

“If Will Smith is still on the board at 5, you take him. It’s a no-brainer. But, if he’s gone and you have Michkov and the rest, it becomes a gamble,” said Lajoie regarding the Canadiens conundrum. “Is this market really going to be patient for three years and live on hope and maybes? No, No, No. I know us (Canadiens fans), and we won’t be able to drink that Kool-Aid for three years. We have an opportunity that you can jump on here with Dubois.”

Trading the 5th overall pick out of fear that Michkov never comes to North America could be a healthy discussion, but still something could become a colossal mistake.

Even if Michkov isn’t the Canadiens’ selection, other players like Zach Benson and Ryan Leonard, amongst others, could be of high value to Montreal as well.

But, make no mistake, Michkov could be the most talented player the Canadiens have drafted in decades and has the high-end skill that could put this team over the edge when the time comes.

His nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in just 27 games are the best points-per-game ratio for a draft-eligible player in the history of the KHL; eclipsing players like Artemi Panarin, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and more.

Unless there is serious reason to believe that Michkov will stay in Russia or could be blocked from coming to the NHL, his selection at 5th overall makes a lot of sense. Further to that, as general managers across the league begin to do their homework on his situation at home and his desire to come to North America, the fear and stigma attached to him could quickly dissipate.

After all, Michkov is arguably the second-best prospect in this draft, and could come over in 2026 as a matured 21-year-old on a three-year entry-level contract; earning $950,00 for three years while the Montreal Canadiens enter their contention window.

Needless to say, the uncertainty has many looking for alternatives in order to ensure the value of such a high pick for the Canadiens, but, sometimes, the easiest decision is the one that’s right in front of you.

I’m just thankful I’m not the one taking them.

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If they trade the fifth pick for Dubois, I’ll seriously consider no longer supporting the team. 😐😐😏


The trade makes no sense when we can just sign Dubois after next season. Why would HuGo make such a bone head move a la JiC ???


It is SOME OF the French media of course – if Dubois’ name was Smith or Anderson we would not hear much about such a trade suggestions. Then again, there are some in the French AND Anglo media who do NOT want the Habs to sign Dubois… even as a UFA (concerns w/ inconsistent play, attitude issues and anticipated salary demands).

Last edited 26 days ago by BRINKLEY
john harmsworth

I think he can help us, but we need to be able to talk to him about an extension. That’s the only reason I can see to give Wpg. anything at all. Plus maybe we’ve had a decent relationship with the Jets, so we can make an effort to maintain that by helping them save face with their fans a bit.

john harmsworth

In three years, when Michkov is clear of his Russian contract, would he come for the league minimum? That sounds too easy.

Pierre B.

The league maximum on an entry-level contract includes performance bonuses. It’s a good bet that Michkov would bet on himself. Anyway, every rookie must accept an ELC before getting the opportunity to sign long term for a big salary.


If we can buy out mitchkov final year or two, he can burn a year of his elc, this year or next.

john harmsworth

I have been wondering if the Habs are doing their homework in Russia on what might be possible. We have Bobrov scouting over there and I think if I’m Hughes I am finding a way to sound things out over there.


For this reason alone, I think Michkov would want to come to North America as soon as possible. The habs would have to buy out Michkov’s contract to liberate him sooner.. I think if Michkov has a great year in the KHL next year 2023, he will want to come to the NHL starting in 2024. If he hasn’t progessed enough after 1 season in the KHL , then he will have to play year 2024 in Russia also and only come to North America in 2025..


There is no decision to be made. It’s a slam dunk. If he’s available, thank the hockey gods and leave Nashville with a future star in our back pocket. It’s just too bad that it’s extremely unlikely imo that he’ll be available when it’s our turn. I’ll be shocked if Columbus or San Jose don’t take him.


If Michkov is another Valeri Kharlamov , then you simply don’t pass on him if he’s available. Kharlamov was the USSR’s top player in the 1970’s.. In those early 70’s, he was the 3rd best player in the world behind only Bobby Orr and Bobby Hull.. Again if Michkov is that talented, you don’t pass up on such a player if he’s available at no. 5 pick. , you just don’t!


From what I’ve seen, Mitchkov reminds me of Caulfield in the joy for the game.

The Rube

If M is available at 5 you take him. Its a no brainer. I personally do not think he will be available at 5 and San Jose or someone else takes him earlier. There is no gamble. He is young and a can not miss talent. The media has hyped this way out of reality as if he has major problems. He does not. Someone in Russia in the government stands to arrange a huge bribe to release him. Its how it works. Anything is for sale in Putinland.

john harmsworth

That’s the dumbest trade suggestion I’ve heard in about forever. Is this Peter Chiarelli trolling us with his best ideas? We don’t have to give up anything to get Dubois if what we are hearing is true. If it isn’t then he may be playing us anyway. We’ll give the Jets something minor to let us talk to him. That’s about it. Maybe cut them a great deal on Monahan if her stays healthy, but seriously, if I’m the Jets I’m kickstarting a rebuild by trading Scheifele, Wheeler and Dubois for prospects and picks. Maybe a left D from us along with “future considerations”.

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