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Canadiens Rebuild Checklist: State Of The Rebuild – Draft Capital

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

Now that the Montreal Canadiens have completed their second complete rebuild season, it’s time to take a closer look at where the organization stands in terms of its long-term plans.

As Jeff Gorton suggested at the end-of-year press conference, this summer is shaping up to be an important phase of the rebuild.

The Habs will have a significant amount of space under the salary cap, giving them plenty of financial maneuverability to pull off a series of trades, UFA signings, or other decisions that could potentially help the team take the next step.

MUST READ: Canadiens Salary Cap Outlook For 2024-25 Provides Team With Interesting Options

This series will evaluate several categories, including current NHL talent, prospect value, draft capital, trades, coaching, contracts, and management.

We will then run a poll to determine how the fans view their various situations compared to our conclusions.

First up, the Canadiens’ draft assets.

Montreal Canadiens Draft Capital

The Canadiens have 12 picks in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, not to mention another 12 draft choices on the docket for the following year.

But we all know that quantity does not trump quality at the draft.

That’s why it’s important to note the Habs have four first-round picks in the aforementioned drafts, a rather impressive amount of quality for a team that has already included several of their young, talented players in the NHL lineup.

Beyond the first-round picks, the Canadiens also own three second-round and five third-round picks in the upcoming drafts.

The odds of drafting a quality player beyond the first round will go down significantly. Even within the first round, a 28th overall pick will carry much less value than a top-10 pick, but we also have to remember that the Canadiens have recently added many talented players to their prospect pool by drafting well in the second and third rounds, including prospects such as Jacob Fowler, Lane Hutson, Owen Beck, Vinzenz Rohrer, and Adam Engstrom.

If the team does not feel like the picks will yield a quality prospect, they can also use them to acquire NHL-ready talent, as they did in the trades that landed both Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook.

Given the overabundance of picks, we could see a situation that leads to another ‘Kent Hughes draft weekend special’, as well as the addition of a few quality players to the organization via the draft.

Winnipeg’s first-round pick, in particular, is likely to be moved before the Canadiens can make their way to the podium toward the end of the round.

As for the other selection, Montreal will probably use their first-round pick to select one of the many talented forwards slated to be available among the top 10 players.

Simply put, the Montreal Canadiens are in an excellent position as they approach the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. A combination of quantity and quality will ensure that Hughes has the assets available to explore every avenue possible.

Brass Tacks

It’s a very encouraging situation, though it’s far from perfect.

Perfect would include adding a player like Macklin Celebrini to the fold this summer. Of course, that’s still a possibility seeing as the Draft Lottery odds do allow for the Canadiens to be given the No.1 overall pick, though it’s not very likely.

Other rebuilding teams also happen to own a higher share of draft capital than most NHL organizations, and that does mitigate the value of Montreal’s situation.

However, when we combine the draft assets with the Canadiens’ healthy salary cap situation, it becomes clear that Hughes and Co. have done a pretty good job setting themselves up for success in the summer of 2024.

Montreal Canadiens State Of The Rebuild Grade – Draft Capital

The Canadiens have the quantity and quality necessary to make waves in pre-draft trades, as well as the draft itself.

What they do with said assets will determine much of the franchise’s potential going forward, but for now, we can safely say the Habs have accumulated an impressive amount of NHL Draft-related capital.

Grade: 9/10