Connect with us

Montreal Canadiens

SOURCE: Canadiens ‘High On A Few Prospects’ For 2023 Draft



Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens have been hard at work preparing for the 2023 NHL Draft, and they’re starting to round out their draft lists.

Although the Canadiens only learned about their official draft rank less than a week ago at the NHL Draft Lottery, they’ve been preparing to pick in that range from the get-go.

General manager Kent Hughes recently spoke after the lottery to discuss the range of players he was looking at, saying that there was a group of players the club was evaluating at that rank that could end up being their selection.

Hughes made those comments after just having returned from the IIHF U-18 World Championships, where many top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft put on a show for the many NHL teams in attendance.

One source, who was present in Switzerland during the event, suggests however that the Montreal Canadiens really liked what they saw from the gold-medal Team USA roster.

“I spoke to a few members of the Montreal brain trust who were ranting and raving about Ryan Leonard and Will Smith at the U-18s,” said the source, who requested to remain anonymous. “They were waiting to see if Leonard was going to take his game up a notch, and he sure did. That’s a player to watch out for on Montreal’s radar if Smith goes early.”

When questioned about Dalibor Dvorsky’s exceptional tournament and how his regular-season struggles factored into the opinion most have of him today, it seemed to be a 50/50 split.

“Some teams fell even more in love with him at the tournament, while others realized they needed to pay a little more attention’ said the source. “That being said, Hughes has said that tournaments aren’t the deciding factors in a selection, which means they’ll be looking on the long-term for sure.”

Notwithstanding the top prospects like Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, and Leo Carlsson, there are other prospects that round out that group like forward Zach Benson and defenceman David Reinbacher, which should not be discounted either.

“They’re high on a few players, seems like about five or six of them,” said the source.

But one major question mark remains.

Michkov Remains An Option

The debate regarding the selection of Matvei Michkov is likely to be the biggest story heading into the 2023 NHL Draft.

Teams haven’t gone into the nitty-gritty with him yet, as a lot of rumours seem to be flying around the scouting community regarding his status in the KHL and his family situation.

That being said, the Canadiens know undeniable talent when they see it, and they’re going to count on Co-Director of amateur scouting, Nick Bobrov to do his homework on the subject.

“There’s a ton of risk regarding Matvei Michkov, but, you can bet that they’re not just going to snub him because he’s Russian,” said the source. “They’ll do their homework now, because he’s one of those players you simply can’t ignore. If they don’t pick Michkov, it’s because the risk is likely greater than we know.”

However, as Montreal Canadiens fans get nervous regarding the direction the organization takes on Michkov, management will do their due diligence as they build their board.

It doesn’t guarantee he’ll be selected, but they’ll surely weigh the pros and cons logically before narrowing their draft list in late June.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Picking Leonard or Smith or Michkov there will be a waiting period The difference between Euro, college and Jrs is the time frame you have to sign them. It’s the development phase that’s different . Jrs, basically the players are teens. College and Europe, teens can play against men.

Curtis Ault

There is 7 weeks until the draft. Columbus are taking a Centre. Logically either Smith or Carlsson. That leaves San Jose to decide whether they take the player not selected by Columbus or Michkov, or someone else. Columbus may surprise with their choice. After the first 2, this could be a very interesting first round early on.


I’ve heard enough already. Pass on Michkov, thanks. Swing for the fences only in the later rounds.

S.R.R. Scott

Arizona’s 12th selection would be my Goal for the Russian player…wouldn’t gable before that on its 6th…too risky Putin will never allow this talented forward to “imigrate” to America./ shameful but reality here!

Last edited 22 days ago by S.R.R. Scott

12th pick???
That’s funny… he shouldn’t make it to 5 and if he does we better be running to the podium to select him.
He will be in the NHL once his KHL contract is over, he’s already made that clear. He’s even going to be at the draft in person.


Yes on Michkov if he’s available. This pick doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If Hughes also makes a deal for PLD, Habs can afford to wait a couple of years for Michkov, although it sounds possible to pry him out of his contract early. Roy, Heineman, RHP, Beck, Davidson, Mesar and Kidney are all young forwards who can learn the ropes over the next year or two. Prospect pool is deep and we don’t know what rabbits like Hutson Hughes will pull out in later rounds in July to add to it. Habs can afford to take their time with Matvei. The cupboard isn’t bare like it was 8-10 years ago.

If MM is gone, then Smith will be ready for the taking.

S.R.R. Scott

Mitchkov at 170lbs…Mezar…170lbs…Caufield at 165lbs…Hutson at 160lbs…Farrell at 170lbs…Kidney at 165lbs…ghee the smurf team coming soon!..could give you a nice season run…but comes playoff time…rarely are smallish team go beyon second round series…talented but less reduce your chance for the Stanley cup?


Caufield is the only one on the team right now, kids tend to fill out before they get to the show. Furthermore we also have guys like Josh, Slaf, and Dach up front to balance the size. Ignoring talent is never a good move… it’s unlikely Michkov slides to 5 but if he does, he should be an automatic easy no brain decision… he’d be a 1st overall in most years.


Let’s test this theory by at least making the playoffs first. They can gain weight by that time as well.

S.R.R. Scott

Well, this Ryan Leonard has more at least on paper capabilities then a certain Logan Cooley selected 3ths last year…he is bigger, more rugged, and score more than Cooley. I could see a major “Coup”…daring no doubt but would “catapult” Mtl into a contender in two years time; Trade Caufield + Panthers pick for the 4th selection and hoping Carlsson goes on the third 2023 pick then (if this crazy scenario) with the 4th AND fifth pick you get the top DUO of this years World jr. tournement; Smith and Leonard! Imagine Leonard can play center or on both wings versatility here…Smith probably another Jack Hughes? THEN, you turn around and make a hostile offer to P-L Dubois a 6.4M forcing Jets to trade him to Mtl and take 2024 Calgary first rds pick and Mtl third for this..then sign Dubois long term from the money you would save from a signed Caufield (7.9M 7 years)? Lalalala!

John T.

Why mention Zach Benson in the top 10? Back in November, maybe. No longer.

MHN 2023 NHL Draft

MHN in your inbox

Enter your email address and get all of our articles sent directly to your inbox

MHN on Facebook