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Canadiens First-Round Draft Pick Options With 26th Overall Pick

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montreal canadiens draft target Basha basha

The Montreal Canadiens now know exactly when their first-round picks in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft will occur. On top of picking fifth overall, the Habs will also own the 26th overall selection as a result of trading Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets at the Trade Deadline.

There are healthy odds the Habs will move the pick prior to the actual draft. Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton have suggested they want to make a big move this summer, and the team has a history of trading first-round picks for NHL-ready talent.

But regardless of what happens with Winnipeg’s first-round pick, the Canadiens will have to prepare as if they’re going to make the selection once they head to the podium for the second time on Friday, June 28.

With that in mind, take a look at some of the players that could realistically be available with the 26th overall pick.


Aron Kiviharju, Defenceman, Shoots Left, HIFK (Liiga). 7 GP: 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS

 Height: 5’10”, Weight: 172 lbs

The Montreal Canadiens don’t particularly need defensive reinforcements, but if someone like Kiviharju happens to drop they would be wise to consider taking advantage of the opportunity.

Kiviharju is ranked as a top-10 European skater by Central Scouting. He’s also close to being a consensus pick as a first-round talent by most of the independent hockey scouting outlets, with the highest ranking placing him as the 20th-best available prospect at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

Despite his relatively small frame, he’s sturdy on his skates and projects as a defenceman who has a penchant for producing quality breakout passes, something the Canadiens will need more of in their lineup as they attempt to improve their offensive output

Again, there will be strong pushback when it comes to potentially drafting defencemen, but there comes a point where the best player available is far better than the remaining players. This means he may not fit the bill as to the organization’s most pressing needs, and that’s perfectly fine.

Selecting the best player available at the draft is rarely a bad idea.

 

Terik Parascak, Right Wing, Shoots Right, Prince George Cougars (WHL). 68 GP: 43 G, 62 A, 105 PTS.

Height: 5’11”, Weight: 180 lbs.

Parascak finished eight overall in WHL scoring this season, a testament to his offensive prowess and well-rounded offensive game.

As an aside, for the longest time, the QMJHL was considered a defence-optional league due to the high scoring, but that’s no longer the case. The WHL, however, has certainly moved toward becoming a league where defence is a secondary consideration.

But even though the league is conducive to high scoring, Parascak’s evolution has been rather impressive. Other than his skating, you could suggest that his offensive tools are bordering on elite, driven by a natural ability to anticipate the play. He’s not a polished prospect, but his raw skill set is among the best in the draft class.

Natural talent aside, like any player projected to be drafted late in the first round, Parascak has much work to do, particularly in his defensive play.

We must remember that the odds a player will play in the NHL drop significantly once you arrive at the end of the first round. With that in mind, picking a player overflowing with raw talent could be a great way to improve the odds.

Innate talent cannot be replicated, but defensive awareness can be taught.

 

Cole Hutson, Defenceman, Shoots Left, U.S. National U18 Team (USNTDP). 51 GP: 15 G, 36 A, 51 PTS.

Height: 5’10”, Weight: 159 lbs.

We all know Lane Hutson somehow managed to slip to the later part of the second round during his draft season, which means every single NHL team opted to pick a different player while he was available. That includes the Canadiens, who made three picks before finally adding Hutson to their prospect pool.

Lane’s brother, Cole, doesn’t own the same raw skill set as his brother showcased before the draft, but there’s a lot to like when it comes to his potential impact. It’s also important to note that Cole became the NTDP’s all-time leader in career points by a defenceman.

You could argue 26th overall is much too early to pick Hutson, and you’d probably be right, but there are very poor odds he’s still around once the Canadiens take to the podium in the second round, as the only pick they own in that range is Colorado’s (57th overall).

The Montreal Canadiens would have picked 37th overall with their own pick in 2024, but that was sent to the Arizona Coyotes when Marc Bergevin panicked and acquired Christian Dvorak from the Coyotes.

 

Andrew Basha, Forward, Shoots Left, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL). 63 GP: 30 G, 55 A, 85 PTS.

Height: 6’0″, Weight: 185 lbs.

Most outlets suggest Basha will be picked close to 20th overall, but there are a few independent sources that think he could fall well beyond the 26th overall pick.

On that note, if he comes remotely close to falling to the later part of the first round, the Canadiens should look into moving up to ensure they can put their hands on this extremely talented prospect.

As an aside, Basha spent parts of his season playing alongside another 2024 draft-eligible prospect who has garnered much attention in Montreal recently: Cayden Lindstrom.

His work on the rush, in particular, makes him a very interesting prospect. He does everything at full tilt, including stickhandling while he’s reaching his top gear.

There’s a significant difference between skating fast and skating fast with the puck. The former is important, the latter tends to be reserved for the best players in the NHL.

He’s a deceptive player with strong offensive capabilities who would almost assuredly be the best player available at 26th overall while also filling an organizational need for players who can drive the play on the rush.

 

Jett Luchanko, Centre, Shoots Right, Guelph Storm (OHL). 68 GP: 20 G, 54 A, 74 PTS.

Height: 5’11”. Weight: 183 lbs.

Luchanko is a forward who should be available at 26th overall, making him a great target for the Montreal Canadiens. His strongest asset is his playmaking, evidenced by the fact that he finished 12th overall in the league with 54 assists.

Of course, he lacks some of the elite scoring talent the Habs need in the prospect pool, but he’s not a player who would immediately jump into the lineup, either. He’s likely to take a few years or more before he’s NHL-ready, and at the moment it is impossible to project exactly what the team would need in their lineup at that point.

He does a great job attracting attention from defensive players which leads to open ice and high-danger scoring opportunities for his linemates. Simply put, he’s a facilitator who uses creativity to drive the play for his team.

Size and speed are a concern, but he’s a well-rounded player who uses intelligence to create havoc in the offensive zone.


Do you agree with the potential draft targets listed for the Montreal Canadiens? Is there a player we missed that you think would help the franchise? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ralph

If Sasha Boisvert or Maxim Masse are still available at 26 I might consider grabbing one of them, especially Boisvert a tall lanky center who can deke goalies with slick moves and embarrass the goalies.

mikeysl

IF hughes doesnt make a big trade for a guy like Necas/Lundell i would like to see a package to NJD or Buff for their pick.

Then grab Lindstrom/demidov/catton/iginla at 5 and MAYBE Eiserman at 10 (NJD) or 11 (Buff)

If lindstom and demidov are both available Im thinking … you cant teach size…and Lindstrom.

Tyrone

I sure hope we don’t use this pick to draft anyone. We have quantity galore in the pipeline and we need quality, top level talent. I hope we package this pick and Savard (or one of our second tier LD guys) plus whatever else it takes to jump way up in the draft to get a guy like Eiserman. We need goals and he’s the best available at doing that in this draft. If we can’t pull this off, then I hope we use a similar package as mentioned above to acquire a top 6 forward who is already established in the NHL.

morrisk

Eiserman is not a guy they covet in the top 10. Besides, he could be had at their pick at #5. He seems to have dropped to about the #10 -#12 range. I doubt they move back into the top 10…would take getting fleeced to do that. It is possible they move up to about #12 or so, but i doubt that as well.

More likely for a Dach or Newhook type trade. Or an RFA or UFA signing.

Dana

110% agree that it will be better if we don’t use the pick but that’s not what Marc is asking.

I like the Canadian kid playing in the ushl for Chicago. He’s 6’1, 190 and is ranked between 10-36 – Michael Hage. Big stretch at 26.
For dmen I will be interested to see where Charlie elick gets picked. RD with size at 6’3”, 200 pounds. He’s represented Canada several times, plays for Brandon and is a defensive dman. Seems to be ranked bottom third round 1 to early second rounder by most pundits but as high as 20. Might fit a need down the road.

There are always guys ranked top 15 that fall off the cliff on draft day. Maybe take that approach as the best player available even if he doesn’t t fill a specific future roll for our roster but could be a nice trade chip
at some point. Maybe an Adam Jirisek or big Liam Greentree are available way later than projected.

Demz

Enough with the small players, this pick will be traded anyways. If they do pick, Boisvert, Masse, Basha…6′ or more.

Greg

All I know for certain is this. We have far more defencemen who are NHL ready than we have spots to play them–and that includes the AHL, where at one point right d were Mailloux, Barron and Reinbacher in Laval. None of the 3 are going to get the right ice then, and all 3 are big time prospects for the Habs.

So no more pushing to draft more defencemen please, at least not before round 5, for this draft and perhaps even the next. The roster has 13 fwd and 7 d, but with Habs it’s more like 13 d and 7 fwd, a state Hughes made worse not drafting a skilled forward at 5 last year.

We have enough d right now, we should use every pick we have in the top 4 rounds of this draft and next strengthening our forward prospect pool, which is pretty much pathetic.