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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Could Get Creative With Florida’s 1st-Round Pick



Canadiens Kent Hughes

The Florida Panthers’ 1st-round pick will be between 29th and 32nd overall, which could prompt the Montreal Canadiens to get creative.

After defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the NHL Playoffs, the Panthers are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes.

In doing so, their pick slid from 17th overall to 29th overall, in the best case, and could fall as low as 31st or 32nd; depending on how far they go.

For some, it could be seen as a major loss for the Canadiens, which is fair; as the value of a 17th overall selection significantly outweighs a 29th overall pick.

That being said, it’s not about where you pick, but what you do with the pick that matters most.

After all, it can be argued that the Canadiens, who picked four times in the first two rounds of the 2022 NHL Draft, did their best work in the 2nd round, when they selected Owen Beck and Lane Hutson.

However, the Canadiens don’t necessarily need to make the selection at that rank; as having the pick fall that low does present them with other opportunities to get creative.

Trading Down

The Montreal Canadiens only have three picks in the first two rounds, as they will also be selecting 5th overall and 37th overall.

With the group of prospects ranked between 25 and 40 being around the same range of potential, it wouldn’t be outlandish to see the Canadiens trade down with the pick to acquire two additional 2nd-round picks.

While also owning the 37th overall selection, it could give them three opportunities to select some interesting consolation prizes; as early 2nd-round picks have the same efficacy rate as late 1st-round selections over the last decade.

Trade Up

Owning two picks in the 29-40 range means that the Canadiens could always trade up if a player they highly covet is falling down the standings.

Last draft, Co-Director of Amateur Scouting, Martin Lapointe, publicly admitted that they had tried feverishly to trade up to select a player they highly coveted; but the Canadiens didn’t have the assets.

However, with the wealth of top-end talent in the top 20 of this draft, and teams in the latter portion of the 1st-round often drafting safer, the Montreal Canadiens could take advantage here.

The only downside is that the Habs would be left without a pick in the 2nd round with such a move, which would be a shame; given the talent available this year.

However, it wouldn’t be outlandish to assume that other trades leading up to the 2023 NHL Draft could return some more picks they could use in the first two rounds.

Make The Pick

Making the pick at 29th, 31st or 32nd overall could very well be in the cards as well, as there is a high likelihood of getting an NHL player in the first round this year.

The Canadiens pulled a diamond in the rough at 33rd overall with Owen Beck during last year’s draft, and it stands to reason they could identify an interesting target at that point as well.

Just by looking at the MHN 2023 NHL Draft Rankings, there are a few names in the 25-35 range that could be solid acquisitions for the Montreal Canadiens this summer; albeit not to the quality they could have gotten at 17th overall.

Part Of Package

This option becomes even more probable as we get closer to the 2023 NHL Draft and the organization’s intentions become clear.

Depending on which veterans are moved out, if any, this pick could be included as part of a package to bring in another key piece to the Canadiens’ rebuild.

We won’t speculate on who could be targeted with such a pick, it becomes an interesting trade chip when teams are putting together a trade package for a substantial player.

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Unless the Habs figure out a “creative” way to package this pick with say Anderson and say Engstrom, plus whatever else, to move up high enough to get RD Rinebacher or Pellikka, I honestly don’t even care about this pick any more. I’m over it. What should have been the #12 pick in this draft turned out to be somewhere between 29-32. All because of the Leafs, of all teams…of course.

G k

Engstrom is super underated by habs fans. He’s a good prospect to keep and see how much more he’ll develope. Top 4 potential

Marc Dumont

Agreed. If not for Hutson, we’d be going nuts about Engstrom’s great D+1 season.

Curtis Ault

I’m not moving Engstrom.

Pierre B.

It’s worth noting that Engstrom is a LHD who plays regularly RD. One can notice it when watching his highlight reels.


Don’t care…we NEED another high-prospect RD. We DON’T need another LD prospect. If we all agree that Lane is ahead of Engstrom, what is this team going to look like in a year or two with all these LDmen? As it is now, just to make room for Lane, one of Matheson, Guhle, or Harris will have to be jettisoned. Now you want to add yet another LD to that. I would rather have a true RD (as in right shot) than a “switch-hitter”. Ergo, Engstrom is expendable right now. You have to give to get.


I know that it would have been nicer to have the pick higher but I’m ok with it as long as the leafs are out of playoffs 🙂

Pierre B.

Considering that this draft year is not only weak for defensemen, but the two top LHD prospects this year, Gulyayev and Simashev, are Russians. Now, a team that wants a LHD prospect could inquire about the CH LHD prospects and young players. A prospect like Trudeau, Beaudin, Norlinder or Struble might be valued much higher than what we could otherwise expect.

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