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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens 2023 NHL Draft Targets With Florida’s Pick



Montreal Canadiens scouts

Fear not Montreal Canadiens fans, the Habs will have the opportunity to select a pretty good player with the Florida Panthers’ 1st-round pick.

There should be quite a few players available in the tail end of the 1st-round of the 2023 NHL Draft that would not only be solid additions to the Canadiens prospect pool, but could prove to be high-value selections at their given rank.

With the Florida Panthers now in the Eastern Conference finals, their pick is expected to fall to 29th overall, if the NHL betting odds have their way.

With the Montreal Canadiens looking to get quicker and more competitive, here are some options they could be looking at.

Ethan Gauthier

With Florida’s pick sliding to the late stages of the 1st-round, the highest-ranked QMJHL player is now in perfect range to be selected by his local team.

Ethan Gauthier, son of former NHLer and RDS analyst Denis Gauthier, plays a power forward’s game with some underrated skill.

Playing with the Sherbrooke Phoenix alongside fellow Montreal Canadiens prospect, Joshua Roy, Gauthier is at his best around the net; causing all kinds of chaos and driving hard to the high-danger areas.

He plays with a very physical edge and has very good shooting mechanics and skating ability.

If still available at 29th overall, he would be a smart pick for the Canadiens that are looking to add more competitiveness and talent to their roster.

Lukas Dragicevic

Initially viewed as one of the top defensive prospects in this class, Lukas Dragicevic took a small tumble down the rankings due to his lackadaisical defensive game and underwhelming playoff performance.

But, make no mistake, he is one of the best offensive defencemen available in this draft; and taking the right-shot defenceman at 29th overall would be solid value for a club looking to shore up that position.

Dragicevic possesses great offensive tools, such as his wide array of shooting options and some underrated playmaking ability.

He loves to join the rush as the fourth man to help promote offensive chance creation and is very good at maintaining possession in the offensive zone.

He would be a project for the Montreal Canadiens’ development team, but there could be a huge reward at the end of that process.

Oscar Fisker-Molgaard

The talented Danish forward had himself a very impressive season in Sweden this year.

Putting up a point-per-game offensive output with HV71’s J20 team, Fisker-Molgaard played 41 games in the SHL as a 17-year-old and put up four goals and three assists for seven points; playing primarily fourth-line minutes.

He plays a very mature and intense game; making him a strong two-way player; but he’s also able to thrive in transition due to his excellent puck protection and great skating ability.

Offensively, he likes to drive to high-danger areas without fear and create offence on the rush; but will need to improve his shot if he wants to finish those chances with regularity at the NHL level.

Tanner Molendyk

Tanner Molendyk is one of the smoothest skaters in this draft class.

Watching him jet up the ice with the puck on his stick is impressive, as he doesn’t break stride in possession and is able to attack pockets of space aggressively; taking the opposition off-guard.

Besides his skating, Molendyk has very underrated vision; finding passing lanes with ease and quickly getting pucks to open teammates through traffic.

His skating also helps him out defensively, as he’s a solid rush defenceman; killing plays before they have the chance to get into his zone and quickly starting the counter-attack for his team.

He’s risen up the rankings with authority over the last few months; as he continued to elevate his game and round out the defensive side of things.

Jayden Perron

Although Perron has the skill and hockey IQ to be selected far earlier than the 29th overall selection, his size (5-foot-nine,163-pounds) could see him slide; to the benefit of the Montreal Canadiens.

Perron was easily one of the most dynamic players in the USHL this season for the Chicago Steel; as his 24 goals and 48 assists for 72 points in 61 games made him one of the more productive players in the league.

He’s a very dynamic offensive player capable of making highlight-reel plays on the rush and set up his teammates for easy tap-ins on a regular basis.

His skating and agility make him one of the most elusive players on the ice, especially in this draft class; some may characterize it as almost a slippery style that allows him to flow through traffic and come out unscathed.

Perron has the potential to be a dangerous player at the NHL level, but, as per usual, the size risk may be too great for teams in the 15-25 range to take a chance on.

Oliver Bonk

Oliver Bonk, son of former Montreal Canadiens forward Radek Bonk, has had a rapid jump up the rankings over the second half of this season.

The six-foot-two, 180-pound right-shooting defenceman grew into a crucial role for the London Knights, playing behind Canadiens prospect Logan Mailloux.

After only playing 10 OHL games last season, Bonk’s first, full OHL season was nothing short of impressive, putting up 10 goals and 30 assists for 40 points in 67 games; all while Mailloux received the top offensive missions.

The 18-year-old plays a strong defensive game; using his stick to get into passing lanes and breaking up plays on the rush. He plays a very mature game in his own end for such an inexperienced player, and got even better as the season went along.

He’s also quite mobile, with and without the puck; which he uses to get himself out of pinches and quickly start the breakout to push the offence the other way.

Some scouts believe that he’ll have more of an opportunity to develop his offensive game as Mailloux turns pro next season, meaning there could be even more upside to a player that has primarily had a defensive role.


*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel

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John Stone

would love to see either bonk or Drag here.. bonk becuz of the history with his father.. so u know he will be properly developed. But only time will tell.. and gauthier sounds like a pick that will go right away. Hopefully we get atleast 1 of these 3 players. Love this years draft aswell.. soooo many talented players this year!!


Charlie Stramel at 29th


No to Perron or any other little players by this point in the draft. We already have plenty enough in the system and our top 6 already seems pretty set for the future with Suzuki, Caufield, Dach, Slafkovsky, 5th overall pick, Anderson (for now) & Roy (after Anderson is gone) or possibly even Dubois in 2024. The little offensive guys need top 6 assignments to be effective. Once those spots are taken, we should be looking for Dmen, goalies or elite specialty players for the PK or shutdown roles. Right now we have lots of quantity in the system, but most are similar types of offensive players which we realistically don’t have spots for them to be effective. Guys like Beck are more like what I’m thinking we need to look out for. He’s an elite faceoff specialist. We should be looking for bigger guys to play the bottom 6 that demonstrate they’re the best at a particular skill we need to build and elite bottom 6 core. Tampa won 2 consecutive Cups and have been a modern day dynasty thanks in part to their elite 3rd line for multiple years. As soon as the cap crunch cost them that 3rd line, we now see they are no longer the dominant team they once were. Obviously, focus on elite offensive talent and top pairing Dmen at the very top of the draft, but after that, we shouldn’t be looking for more of the same players, we should find guys that help teams grind through 4 rounds of playoffs (especially getting through the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference).


I personally like Bonk here.

Pierre B.

Bonk, 6’1″ 176 lbs RHD, is one of the prospect that could be drafted earlier; but so is Willander (6’1″ 180 lbs), another RHD. This corresponds to an organisational need for the CH.

Hoang Tran

I’m thinking we should draft Zimmerman, But or Huttenan. 3 big RW

Pierre B.

But (6’5″ 203 lbs), Ziemmer (6’0″ 194 lbs) and Halttunen (6’3″ 207 lbs) are also toward the tail-end of my top-32. I find Halttunen intriguing as he has a June birthday, thus significantly younger than average. I read that But was a right-shooting LW, and since he’s Russian, he may not benefit from the usual NHL positive-bias toward bigger prospects.


Youuu like Big But’s and you cannot lie. 😂😂
-sir mix a lot

Pierre B.

For a draft selection in the #29 to #32 range, one has to first look at the opportunities, i.e. which top-32 prospects slid the most. Of the draft targets proposed by the author, only Gauthier and Dragicevic are in my top-32 for the CH, and more toward the tail end of it. I believe that better prospects will be available on draft day.
Why? Because a meta-analysis based on 29 rankings identifies 13 prospects that are outside of the consensus top-32, but whom at least one expert ranked in their top-20.
I hope that a prospect like Axel Sandin Pellikka slides down so that the CH can pick him up. It probably won’t be him who slides, but some prospects will.

I would consider lower ranked prospects only if they fill an organizational need, goal scorers, RHD or goalies. The difference in talent between most of the top targets in that range rarely justifies to ignore organizational need. Typically, the errors on perception are usually far greater anyway.


These 5 are all interesting and will get a hard look . I’d like to add 2 character guys , both smart players which HuGo likes
Mathieu Cataford. ,center ,Halifax Mooseheads , plays a hard physical game and put up 75 points (31 goals)
Maxim Strbak , RD , captain of Slovakia at the u18s , very impressive in his online interviews .Bob McKenzie has him at 33 .


The Habs need to acquire two more 1st round draft picks for 2023 in the 10-25 range of picks, to give them 5 picks in the top 37…They should try their darndest to get Michkov and I would not be dissapointed if they got two other russians too: But and Gulyayev…But is a better Mathew Wood and Gulyayev is lightning fast and will help any NHL team’s defensive mobility…These russians who should all be top 15 picks could be available to the Habs as many teams may shy away from them due to the high political risks and so these talented players drop down the draft and can be scooped up…I think Mtl should try to draft a goalie with the 37th pick…

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