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Montreal Canadiens Should Consider Trading Down At 2023 Draft



Montreal Canadiens Draft position

The bulk of the questions regarding the Montreal Canadiens at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft have revolved around the possibility that the team may end up attempting to move up, to secure a talented forward such as Adam Fantilli or Will Smith.

Given the incredible amount of talent available this year, it’s a legitimate possibility, one that could lead to great things for the franchise.

The difference between Fantilli, a franchise-altering player, and a prospect like David Reinbacher, who projects to be a very good defenceman, is enormous.

It’s colossal.



If you’re feeling it, you can insert your own preferred synonym for huge here.

Value Deals

In that sense, mortgaging future assets is a reasonable proposal, though it certainly depends on the situation.

However, we’ve also established that moving up in the NHL Draft is a very expensive decision. Teams tend to overvalue their first-round picks, which leads to very high price tags. And yet, the moment a player is picked, they lose much of their shine, a lot like driving a new car off the lot.

NHL general managers love the idea of a mystery box. To them, it holds endless opportunities.

The inflated value of first-round picks is part of the reason we’ve rarely, if ever, seen an NHL team trade their way out of the top 5.

This year is likely to be the same, with some organizations kicking tires and realizing they’re not ready to pay the premium demanded by the teams that will be among the first to take to the podium in Nashville.

But if the Canadiens want to shake things up, the 2023 Draft may be the perfect opportunity.

We’ve heard that a player like Matvei Michkov may be available at 8th overall, which is rather ridiculous given he has the talent to be chosen first overall in most years.

The same may happen to very talented players such as Zach Benson or Will Smith.

MUST READ: Canadiens Draft Target Will Smith Is Overflowing With Talent

Simply put, there are no guarantees, which puts an onus on pre-draft due diligence. One of the most important aspects of the Canadiens’ draft preparation will be trying to decipher whether a team drafting after them is willing to pay a king’s ransom to move up a few spots.

I know fans won’t love hearing it, but moving down should be strongly considered by Kent Hughes and Co.

But there’s a caveat.

They should only move down if they can also ensure that they will leave the 2023 Draft with one of the most talented players available. This means the Canadiens’ pre-draft preparations have to be immaculate. They’d have to bet that the quality of their pre-draft homework is superior to other teams’.

It’s a risky proposal, mind you, but in a draft class where all bets are off, the Montreal Canadiens may want to buck the trend and attempt to take advantage of certain draft inefficiencies that still plague the NHL.

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Marc 2 things
1- is the difference between fantilli and reinbacher (falls) big?
2- The poutine is attacking the brain cells.

IMH(not so humble) O – pick the best talent at #5. Say thank you very much and start planning the rest of the draft. IF another team (washington) wants MM sooooo badly.. a trade can be done once the dust settles.

Caveat – If ariz will give you 6 & 12 for 5 & 31 or Det 9&17 for 5 (only) or STL will give u 10, 25 and 29 for #5 and #31…it MIGHT be tempting.

I am not generally in favour of quantity over quality tho.

BTW – back in the day dilallo in st henri had a very tasty simple poutine.

Pierre B.

The top-18 items on my shopping list as a Habs’ armchair GM would be:
Bedard, Fantilli, Carlsson, Michkov, Smith, [Leonard, Dvorsky, Reinbacher], Benson, Moore, [Sandin-Pellikka, Wood, Barlow], [Yager, Šalé, Willander, Danielson, Perreault]
I do not have a strong preference between those in brackets. If those with a strike through are no longer available at 5 and I’m told that I cannot select Michkov, than trading down is tempting. Your first trade proposal (ARI) would be a gift from heaven as I’m garanteed to choose between Leonard, Dvorsky or Reinbacher and the jump from #31 to #12 is huge. Your second (DET) would still be quite interesting. There’s a risk that all of my three main targets are selected before #9. The only reason Benson is not higher on my shopping list is the fact that he’s an undersized left-shooting forward. In terms of talent, I’m thrilled, but the fit is not that good.The prospects I can get at #9 and #17 are still worth the risk. Your 3rd (STL), I’m starting to be more reluctant. It could be good if some of the other teams prefer some of the prospects I ignored (such as LHD) or ranked lower (Honzek, Musty, Ritchie, But, Bonk). Moving from #31 to #29 is not a significant gain; I’d be more enthusiast if it was from #37 to #29.
Another trade proposal that I would consider is #8 and 2024 WAS 1st-round pick for #5. The CH would still get the near certainty of having one of Leonard, Dvorsky or Reinbacher available (I doubt that WAS would do this trade if they did not intend to draft Michkov). The sweetener is undetermined, but I can live with it.

Pierre B.

I project Leonard’s ceiling to be similar or even higher than Joshua Roy (my favorite prospect), as a top-line RW who’s a great complement to Caufield and Suzuki. He has a significantly higher probability of achieving this ceiling than Roy. Leonard could also be a 2nd-line center giving the coach more freedom on where to play Dach.
Dvorsky’s ceiling as a top-6 center would allow the play Dach as top-line RW. As a left-shooting center, he would complement Suzuki and Dach who are both right-shooting. He has a size advantage over Beck and every other CH prospect centers.
Reinbacher would be meant to address the top-pair RHD. Hopefully, he would be significantly better than Mailloux and Barron, or every other LHD playing on his weak side.
In all case, if these prospects would need to reach their top potential. If the selected prospect only reaches his projected floor (NHL top-9 for Leonard and Dvorsky, and top-4 for Reinbacher), he will not help the rebuild as hoped.


I only trade it for a star centre. Something like Aho and Suzuki’s brother for 5,31,37, Dvorak. If Carolina was rebuilding. But Canes owner is a moron so I will release this to try he atmosphere.

Last edited 5 months ago by Dave

*to the atmosphere.


Please God, no! Our biggest issue is we have plenty of quantity in the pipeline and not enough elite talent. We don’t need 2 good players, we need 1 fantastic one. Our top 6 is already pretty much filled out with Suzuki, Caufield, Dach, Slafkovsky and Anderson. That leaves 1 spot for whomever we draft at #5. We want the best possible piece for that spot. What we don’t need is a good piece for that spot and another decent piece that would likely have to play too low in the lineup to truly get the most out of them. Even if the extra piece were a top 4 Dman, I still wouldn’t do it. I’m happy with Matheson, Guhle, Harris, Xhekaj, Barron and Kovacevic moving forward even though 1 of the LD has to play his off side (it doesn’t bother me). We also have Hutson, Engstrom and Mailloux coming. We don’t need to be wasting the top 5 pick in this particular draft on a Dman like Reinbacher. We need to take whichever player is left for us at #5 out of Fantilli, Carlsson, Smith & Michkov (hopefully the latter!). For the love of God Montreal, please DO NOT trade down!

Last edited 5 months ago by Tyrone

I actually fancy this idea. Look here, right behind MTL in the top 10 are Ariz, Phil, and Det. Each have 2 picks in the top 22. Ariz has the best of the three, then Det, then Phil, in terms of highest rankings. I don’t think in any draft, the Habs could move down just one spot and get the 12th pick for it…so in that scenario, we would have to add something to that pot to make it work. That’s the deal I’d most likely want to see. I’m not really fond of Phil’s pick at #22…too far down the list. So a deal with Det to move down to get their #9 pick and their #17 pick would work…I just like the Ariz deal better.

So, the Ariz deal could be we give them #5 and #31 and maybe a 3rd (or a 2nd?), and we get #6 and #12. So then we get Benson at #6 (top winger) and Pellikka at #12 (RD). That’s a haul!


Would love to see the Habs acquire 2 more first round draft picks for 2023 . Of course it would mean having to trade some players, but they need to take advantage of this strong draft and get as many good players as possible..


Oliver Moore will still be available at #8. Call the Capitals and offer them the opportunity to draft at #5. Grab yourself Michkov a boatload of assets. Success on all fronts.

Last edited 5 months ago by Porkramen
John Spearing

We already have 11 picks in this draft togo with a fairly deep prospect pool… we need Quality over Quantity at this time.
Just don’t pass on the BPA and their will be no need to move down

Dave Gerdes

Russian all the way. Hughes is bluffing. He’s in a great spot at 5. Chi gets Bedard. Ana, Col, and SJ could go any way? Montreal gets leftovers but it will be elite! My guess is the Russian. Grab him.


No. Draft one of the big 5.

Last edited 5 months ago by Dave