With the 2023 NHL Draft quickly approaching the horizon, the Montreal Canadiens have a very important decision to make.
The upcoming prospect class is projected to be one of the most talented groups in decent draft history, particularly the players who have been identified as the likely candidates to hear their names called at the podium by the teams drafting in the top 5.
Players like Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, Will Smith, and Matvei Michkov.
You could make a reasonably strong argument that four of the five aforementioned players would be considered the top prospect in a regular draft year.
Leo Carlsson continues to shine at the Worlds.
His 4 points have tied Leon Draisaitl for the 11th most by a draft-eligible skater ALL-TIME at this event.
Next up: Jaromir Jagr’s 5.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) May 23, 2023
Even the players outside the top five are projected to be incredibly talented prospects, which could complicate things for the Canadiens.
They have shown interest in players such as Ryan Leonard and David Reinbacher. Dalibor Dvorský and Eduard Sale are also rumoured to be among the prospects that have piqued the team’s interest.
They’re all fine prospects.
In a regular draft class.
But as we previously noted, this is no regular draft class.
Simply by writing this article, I’m opening myself up to a flood of criticism if a player like Dvorský ends up blossoming into an NHL star, but when you consider the discrepancy in natural talent between the top five and the rest of the available players, it becomes quite clear that a ‘safe’ pick, such as Dvorský could end up being one of the riskiest decisions the team could make.
As always, the best way to approach the draft is to pick the best player available.
But every once in a while, the hockey gods shine a light on a franchise.
The Canadiens will have an opportunity to address their greatest need, as well as pick the best player available.
On a team with a dearth of offensive talent and a lack of players with star potential in their prospect pool, it’s simply too risky to overcomplicate the situation and go for the safe pick.
In this case, avoiding the high-end talent would be akin to hitting a double during a home-run derby.
Of course, due diligence requires the Canadiens to do their homework on these players, and the interest may end there, but the Canadiens haven’t hit a ball out of the park for a long time now, and seeing as the chances to do so in the NHL are few and far between, the only logical choice is to seize their opportunity on June 28th, in Nashville.