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Montreal Canadiens

Drafting Off The Board Brings Significant Risk For Canadiens



Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

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.

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.

MUST READ: The Canadiens Cannot Afford To Ignore Matvei Michkov

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.

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I think it is between Will Smith or Matvei Michkov. If Smith is already gone do they trade down to get Leonard?

Curtis Ault

Possible, depending on how far and what the return is.

Pierre B.

If Michkov drops to #5, the Canadiens would be quite fortunate. They will have the opportunity to draft a prospect with the potential to be their best goal scorer in a long time. Fans want to watch their team score goals and that is what Michkov will do. I really hope that Hughes and company do not waste this opportunity. I dream of a team with at least two elite goalscorer
To me, Smith would only be a consolation prize, a good one, if Michkov is no longer available.


I thought drafting Lane Hutson in second round was a home run?

Marco D'Amico

At 62nd overall, that’s not off the board.

That”s pouncing on a player team’s didn’t see as a home run.


Drafting Michkov would be too risky. Things in Russia are going from bad to worse. It would come as no surprise if Putin would put a freeze on new prospects leaving Russia since he is looking at all ways possible to hurt NATO members. Can you imagine drafting at 5 in a strong draft and never getting the player you drafted….You might get a slightly lesser player but you are going to get one for who you can control their development asap. Don’t forget that Michkov’s father recently died under suspicious conditions. The team can now hang on to their star forever.


If Michkov shows up at the draft, who says he has to go back?

Marco D'Amico

His KHL contract.


Yes there is risk attached but the Habs haven’t drafted a player with his offensive talent in over 40 years and likely won’t for the foreseeable future. I doubt he will be available but if so, I hope they roll the dice on him. They can’t go safe.