The Montreal Canadiens are a popular team in the hours leading up to the 2023 NHL Draft.
Given the elite talent available among the top five players, several clubs are reportedly eyeing the Canadiens’ 5th overall pick.
According to Frank Serevalli at DailyFaceoff, up to five different NHL teams have enquired about the possibility of acquiring the Canadiens’ first-round pick.
“Sources tell Daily Faceoff that the Canadiens are spending Wednesday’s lead-up to the Draft deliberating as many as five separate offers for the pick from teams looking to make a significant move up the board,” said Serevalli.
“Sources say the Canadiens have placed at least one call to the Sharks to inquire about swapping slots,” explains Serevalli. “But the belief is Sharks GM Mike Grier was unwavering in his desire to keep the pick. If the Habs have their sights set on one player in particular and he is taken, it’s possible to see the Canadiens pivot and slide a little further down to get their hands on another player while collecting some additional value in the meantime.”
It’s always hard to get a read on the legitimacy of offers, and we know by now that Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is the type of negotiator that will stick to his guns until his desired conditions have been met.
But the 2023 Draft does present a rare opportunity.
As we’ve established, historically speaking, it costs a lot to move up at the NHL Draft. What’s more, trading a top-five pick on the day of the draft is unheard of in this league.
That places the Canadiens in a unique situation. Thanks to the top five players in the draft, a player that would normally be drafted third or fourth overall could be available with a later pick, providing the type of draft depth that will allow them to evaluate potential offers.
They could receive significant assets to move down a few spots and still pick the player they desire.
But Hughes needs to approach the situation cautiously.
There’s definitely value to be found in trading down, but we must also remember the importance of adding elite talent to a roster. Other than the St-Louis Blues, Stanley Cup-winning teams tend to have several star players.
And those star players are few and far between. The 2023 Draft could be one of the few opportunities the Montreal Canadiens have to add one to their roster.