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Montreal Canadiens Top 2024 NHL Draft Targets Already Unveiled

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Top prospects for the 2024 NHL draft Montreal Canadiens

Now that the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery is in the rearview mirror, we can focus on the players the Montreal Canadiens will target once they take to the podium on Friday, June 28, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Habs will officially pick 5th overall in the upcoming draft.

It’s impossible to know the team’s true intentions, as a trade leading up to the draft weekend is likely, and there’s always the possibility a very talented defenceman will drop, but for now, all signs point to Kent Hughes and Co. drafting a forward. The Canadiens have an incredibly strong defensive prospect pool, while they lack elite talent among their forwards.

But it’s not just a matter of deduction, as Hughes confirmed the team aims to draft a forward in his post-lottery media availability.

2024 NHL Draft Options – Forwards

By using Bob McKenzie’s recent draft rankings list, we can determine which players are likely to be in the mix once we remove the top defencemen.

We can safely assume Macklin Celebrini will be a member of the San Jose Sharks, but beyond the top pick, all bets are off.

That leaves Ivan Demidov, Cayden Lindstrom, Kostas Helenius, Tij Iginla, Berkly Catton, Cole Eiserman, Beckett Sennecke, and Trevor Connolly as the remaining forwards in the top 15.

Defencemen Impact

The Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, and Columbus Blue Jackets may end up dictating how the Habs navigate the early parts of the first round.

Once the run on defencemen starts, it tends to pressure teams hoping to land a blue-chip defensive prospect. Depending on where top defencemen such as Anton Silayev, Artyom Levshunov, Sam Dickinson, Zeev Buium, and Zayne Parekh are drafted, there is a possibility one of the top forwards could end up in a Montreal Canadiens uniform.

Demidov is unlikely to drop to fifth, but there’s a non-zero chance Lindstrom will be available. Those two represent the second tier of forward prospects available, with a significant drop in talent thereafter.

MUST READ: Cayden Lindstrom A Prime Draft Target For The Montreal Canadiens

That’s not to say players such as Helenius, Iginla, Catton, and Eiserman would be a disappointment, but if the team does reach the point where Celebrini, Demidov, and Lindstrom are off the board, they can also consider a trade to move down, which would allow them to pick a talented player while also acquiring an additional asset in the process.

And though Hughes has suggested he is intent on drafting a forward, they also have to consider drafting a top defenceman if he’s truly the best player available.

Given all the variables, one thing is for certain, the Montreal Canadiens should have plenty of interesting options in the lead-up to the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

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Tyrone

I find it kinda weird that Hughes has been so open about us selecting a forward and showing his hand so blatantly. I think it’s obvious to anyone that we want a forward, but I don’t recall hearing a GM flat out state it the way Hughes has. It lets every team behind you know exactly what you’re going to do, so the likelihood of a team trading up with you seems less probable.

I was envisioning this last night. Everything we had our hopes on being gone by the time it’s our turn, so we select Parekh and then swing a big deal with Barron/Kovacevic and Winnipeg’s 1st to grab something top 10, where we also nab Eiserman. The other scenario I was envisioning was we did get Lindstrom or one of the other forwards with our own pick, but then made the same deal with the WPG 1st and one of our LD extras, where we also were able to grab Eiserman. We need goals more than anything and in this draft Eiserman is the best option for that.

John Smith

The waters are quite muddied right now. Given how there is so little consensus, I doubt that Gorton and Hughes will be questioned on their draft decision unless a defenseman is chosen. If this happens, prepare for a lot of trades by this tandem as they move our surplus of defenders to acquire offensive players.

William O'Neill

I agree with you completely Tyrone. Keep all your options open and I have faith Hughes will do just that. He’s given us no reason to doubt him up until now. Every GM knows what Montreal needs so he’s not giving away a big secret. It would not shock me if he trades down because 5 through 15 have varied and almost even talent depending on where you’re leaning. Having said all that there are some unbelievable defenceman available that would probably upset some teams thinking we’re going forward for sure.

Tyrone

The most obvious choice is also the most likely. We take a forward. But, if they actually want Parekh, perhaps putting the forward smokescreen out there is an attempt to prevent teams from trading ahead of Montreal to get him because they feel safe that we’re going to grab a forward. 🤷🏻‍♂️

morrisk

More or less agree with this…however, if they do move back into the late top 10, it won’t be for Eiserman. His stock has dropped a bit and now most “experts” say he’s a 10-15 pick.

If I’m trading back into the late top 10 (say 8-10), it isn’t to get Eiserman…its to get Catton or Iginla.

I don’t think we need 2 forwards…one top RD AND one top forward would fit what we need.

If they get Zayne AND Catton or Iginla out of this draft…that would be epic.

Last edited 20 days ago by morrisk
john harmsworth

I expect they have high hopes for Reinbacher, but at this point he’s an unknown. I think if they see somebody who looks better than our projected #2 right D they could go for him and look to deal another comparable prospect. Hughes must be talking to the other GMs constantly and knows pretty clearly what they’re after and what the price is. Pretty interesting little chess game going on there. Gorton has experience as well and they seem to work well together.

john harmsworth

6 of one , half a dozen of the other I think. It also lets people who are after a Dman know that you might be open to a deal for your pick, and/or one of our prospects.

Tyrone

It sounds like you are describing the number of LD and RD prospects we have now. 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. 😂👍

Dana

A lot of folks enjoy going back and doing redrafts of previous draft years, and I’m one of them. One thing is undeniable, the draft never stands as selected, there are huge winners and losers and so it will be this year. There will be guys taken top 10 that will not be successful in the nhl or may not even make it, and guys in the bottom half of round 1 that will be amoung the 10 or 5 best. That is why I am opposed to the best player available approach if it goes against your organizational need. Usually once you get below the top 2, consensus goes out the window.

I review a dozen or more professional lists for the draft and none of them are the same and in fact the experts are very far apart on players. We need a prolific producing forward. There won’t be a defenseman at 5 that will be a higher priority than a prolific forward for us. I would be really surprised if Hughes moves up or down from 5. However, like the lists I read, I can go back to see how wrong I was. I recall being horribly upset by tge selection of Price over Gilbert Brule. Whoops.

John Smith

I remember being in my car listening to the draft and hearing Carey Price’s name called and gritting my teeth in anger. The Habs were “stacked” in net. Why add another goalie?! Whoops indeed.

Dana

Hahaha. I felt the same way when Kotkeniami was selected.

Alex

We need offense but we also need RHD. Parehk fits our RHD perfectly since he’s s real offensive treat. Better numbers then Lidstrom , Iginla . Do for me he’s the guy we should pick.

We could also trade up and try to get another pick around the 10 to 15 th range. And try to scoop a forward like Sennecke , eiserman, connoly or Catton.

Dana

We need offensive forwards far more than a RD. Parekh is lower on a lot of lists as he’s a poor defender but an offensive dynamo- I don’t think he fits the profile as he’s smaller as well.

I agree that we should use some assets to move the Jets pick to the 10-15 range like you mention.
Connolly has some character flaws they say but highly skilled. Sennecke isn’t a dynamic skater but also well skilled. Catton won’t be available past 7-8 range so eiserman is the guy we target? Pure sniper. The book on him is he’s deficient in all other aspects and he doesn’t want to change his game. I think Marty and Caufield, whose USNTDP record he just broke, would influence that. Very few guys are one Dimensional so I suspect he learns like caufield did. But Connolly might be similar. They say he has a mean streak and tough to play against so that’s an interesting element.

We have 2 firsts again next year so addresss the pressing issues up front and address the less urgent RD slot going forward

Marc

I see a lot of Parek in the comments I like that! He’s my target is Lidstrom is gone. If you want a forwardyou can trade again for one we have the assets to make a big trade.

john harmsworth

We have Dmen who will probably not make the cut longer term for the Habs. I wouldn’t put it past Hughes to pull off another second 1st round pick and a D prospect and end up with a good forward prospect at #5 and another solid forward talent via draft related trade. Here’s hoping!

john harmsworth

Part of the reason that looking back reveals a lot of surprises is because of the in house development program, or the lack of one. This is an area that we needed to address long ago. Can’t say it would have saved the careers of Beaulieu or Galchenyuk or KK, but who knows, it might have made them more valuable for an eventual trade. When KK showed up in a Habs uniform, I was shocked at his poor skating. He was not an NHL player, and an effort at development would have helped a lot IMO.

frank

Well you contradict yourself price was the best player on the board and Brule was good but not the best player on the board yet …. thats why you should always take the best player on the board even if you don’t need him you never know when you will. Also need makes no sense why because it’s your need this year but most draftees don’t come play right away may take 1 year to 3 to make the team by then with free agents and trades that may no longer be your need anymore and you drafted a player with less talent because of a need that you don’t have anymore. You always take best player only time you take your need is if he is the best player on the board tied with the non need in your eyes … Now smart play is draft Lidstrom or demidov Chi, Ana are drafting D and Columbus still not decided they might take Lidstrom since demidov has 1 year left if they take demi god you take lidstrom. I love the idea tho of them trading up to grab eiserman if we could grab both this will make us get in the playoffs automatically both players will make the club instantly… Eiserman is elite goal scorer if he drops and you can get him 10 to 15 it’s a steal he’s a bigger cole caufeild please montreal trade up for him give 1st and barron or Harris that should bring you into the range only do that if he’s available and if he isn’t trade that pick and d for zegras either way montreal should come away with 2 players thst will bring this team very good offense. So these 4 players 2 should be coming to MTL Demidov, Lidstrom, Eiserman, Zegras make it happen anything less would be very disapointing

Mike P

Unless Silyaev is available at 5 I don’t see the HAbs picking a D. If Demidov, Lindstrom and Silyaev are gone before the Habs pick. I say they trade down with Calgary, who will likely be in the market for a top D after losing Tanev and Hanifin. Perhaps they are willing to give up Connor Zary or Jakob Perreault along with their pick at 9. We made need to add a little extra for them. But at 9 we could still have a shot at Tij. Adding Tij and another young forward to a pool would be a great start to the draft. I just can’t see us moving up, but ideally we get a crack at Demidov or Lindstrom at 5.

Tyrone

Wouldn’t you think if Calgary was trading up with us, that it would be so that they can select Iginla themselves? I imagine they are going to be looking for a great player that also puts butts in the seats of their new arena. The son of the greatest Flame ever would certainly qualify as that. 😁

Ralph

I think you meant Jakob Pelletier. Jakob Perrault played for the Laval Rockets this year.

john harmsworth

And Pelletier is 5’9″. I don’t think he fits the plan.

frank

People forget that this a strong D draft not forward draft forward draft was last year which our great gm took a d and now he is going for a forward on a strong D draft lol I guess when you draft 5th you can take gambles. He did draft the best D of last years draft at least.

D draft … Top 5 will go like this Sj we all know now Chi is drafting D, Ana is drafting a d, Columbus is the hard one to tell but they have a lot of d as well they are even trying to trade but I heard if the 6’7 monster is available they will take him. I say forward for them and it might be Lidstrom since demidov has a year left in Russia which leaves demidov or like I call him demi God for us in Montréal if not Lidstrom it is …. If those teams do not take Ds as planned montreal will have a shot at the best Ds that are top 25 min d men you take that all day long those don’t grow on trees and trade up to take Eiserman you can teach defence for a forward but you can’t teach putting pucks in the net he is better then caulfeild just because of his size besides that he is the exact player after this I’d still call Anaheim and ask for Zegras. I know montreal has D depth let’s see 1. Hutson and Mailloux the only 2 that can get points the other depth Reinbach, Gule, xjakel is a fighter but the rest honestly I don’t see talent or a need so if montreal would go get a 25 min playing dman I wouldn’t complain to much especially that this draft is all blue chip Dmen they don’t come around often Barron, Harris are ok for 3rd pairing I guess but I rather use them in trades that can land me zegras and eiserman and I draft a top blue chip D to me you just made yourself a playoff team with offense and defense. If montreal can get Eiserman and Zegras I’d Definitely would take a D top 5 if you can’t get those guys then take Lidstrom or Demidov whoever is available at 5 and try and get eiserman or zegras in a trade