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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Top Organizational Needs Heading Into 2023 NHL Draft



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The Montreal Canadiens head into the 2023 NHL Draft with some major holes to fill, as they look to move their rebuild along.

The draft presents teams with an ability to revamp their organization; from overhauling their main roster, to setting the stage for a brighter future.

They’ve already got some great pieces in Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach and a glut of talented, young defenders, but there’s still more work to be done.

Here are some of the biggest organizational needs they could be looking to fill leading up to the 2023 NHL Draft:

Elite Forward

The Montreal Canadiens only had three 20-goal scorers in their lineup during the 2022-2023 season, and only one point-per-game player over 25 years.

Although they do have two of the more exciting young forwards in the league in Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, they need more top-end talent to create a winner up front.

Nick Suzuki has shown he could support Caufield’s scoring ability with a 26-goal campaign, but a top-end goal-scoring forward to help shoulder the goal-scoring load amid an organization littered with playmakers would be very intriguing.

The Canadiens tried their hand at finding a solution to this problem when they acquired Denis Gurianov, but he wasn’t able to hit his full stride with the Canadiens.

By acknowledging the need for a scoring forward, it’s very likely the Canadiens look to fill the need in a more sustainable way, and the 2023 NHL Draft would be a perfect opportunity for that.

With the top of the draft littered with high-end forwards, the Canadiens could take a big step forward by adding one of them to their prospect pool.

Top-Pair Right Defenceman

The Montreal Canadiens have an incredible amount of depth on defence; on their roster and in the pipe.

The only issue is that a grand majority of those defencemen are left-handed and don’t have the top-end potential needed to play on their offside for 25+ minutes a game.

The Canadiens are currently betting on Justin Barron and Logan Mailloux eventually turning into reliable top-four defencemen, but, to really ensure that the Canadiens will have one of the better defence corps in the league, they’ll need someone above them to lead the charge.

It will be a process at the moment, as these kinds of players aren’t abundant in the NHL; they need to be drafted in most cases.

Whether it be in this upcoming 2023 NHL Draft or the defence-heavy 2024 NHL Draft, you can bet the Canadiens will be looking to take some home run swings at top-end right-handed defencemen by way of draft or trade.

Top-Six Centre

With Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach, the Canadiens are set down the middle for many years to come; at least on paper.

However, as we’re seeing in the playoffs at the moment, top-end depth at the centre position is worth its weight in gold, especially when injuries hit.

Having another true top-six centre on the team would not only give head coach Martin St-Louis significant options for line combinations, but it can also allow him to mix and match his strategy to his opponents.

With another bona fide top-six centre, the Canadiens could decide to keep Dach, Suzuki and Caufield together long-term, relying on this new centre to hold down the second line with some emerging youngsters to fill the void.

The Canadiens have the depth at centre with the likes of Owen Beck, Riley Kidney and Oliver Kapanen; but they need one more elite piece down the middle to truly ensure the long-term quality of their pipeline down the middle.

Starting Goaltender

Samuel Montembeault has shown significant promise this season as a potential 1A/1B goaltender, but can he truly be a top starter in the NHL?

That’s the question the Montreal Canadiens will need to ask themselves this summer, as they look to set up their future in goaltending.

Having Cayden Primeau and Jakub Dobes in the wings is already a good start for the organization, but they’ll need to address the position in a more definitive way soon.

Either by anointing Montembeault as their true starting goaltender, or acquiring a top netminder by way of draft or trade.

If the Canadiens are able to move out some of their veterans for picks at the draft, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them use one of their second or third-round picks on a goaltender of the future.

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With 2 picks in the 1st round, I think using our 2nd rounder on a goalie like 6’7” Hrabal wouldn’t be a bad course of action. Unless there’s an incredible player that somehow slips to 37th, why not be the 1st team to take a goalie to get the pick of the litter? The other option could also be to trade down for two 2nd rounders and then take both a skater and a goalie. At 37th, it’s possible that a team covets a player that’s slipped down somehow. Free article idea again: How about identifying teams with two 2nd rounders below us this year that could feasibly trade them to move up to pick at #37?

Curtis Ault

A 3 year ELC isn’t enough time to develop a first choice Goalie. Take a shot with later round picks. You can always find a Goalie someone else has developed and can’t keep. Unless, another Price is available in the first round.


I think both should happen. We need to draft a goalie as a backup plan and we can acquire a goalie in a trade or signing. Although, for the record, I’ve been a believer in Montembeault since last season. I still think he has what it takes to grow with the team and be a decent #1. The benefit is he’s already here, we don’t have to use any assets to acquire him, and he’ll already a good way along in his development path so we won’t be waiting (and wasting) our core’s prime years for a drafted goalie to to get where Monty already is.

Alex Barrette

I dont mind drafting a goalie in the second or third round. Not 1st round. Theres plenty of choice this year. Its a good draft for goalies.

Brian Chandler

Size scoring and centers that can win faceoffs should be their top priority. No more runts. How many goaltenders do they have in their system now?

Alex Barrette

What they need is not a top pairing RD its a true top pairing quarterback that will run a pp1.

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