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Latest Trends Hint At Potential Canadiens Pick At 5th Overall

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Montreal Canadiens Draft Target

The Montreal Canadiens have a massive selection to make at the 2024 NHL Draft with the 5th overall pick, and we’re starting to gain some clarity over who the targets will be.

Since the Canadiens retained their spot in the 2024 draft order after the NHL Draft Lottery, all the talk has been over which player the Canadiens should add to their organization.

The clear need is at forward, as the Habs don’t currently have a dynamic offensive prospect in their pool at the moment, with Juraj Slafkovsky and Joshua Roy graduating to the NHL.

They’re absolutely stacked with left-shot defencemen, but could use another top-end right-shot defencemen as well.

But, when push comes to shove, the Montreal Canadiens will likely be picking a forward at 5th overall, but the real question is who?

After Macklin Celebrini, the consensus first overall pick on virtually every board, the 2024 NHL Draft seems completely wide open.

Thankfully, with the NHL Combine now behind us, information has started to trickle down regarding the interest of certain teams in certain players; information that has also found its way to sports bookies across North America.

Montreal Canadiens Draft Targets

As of right now, FanDuel currently has two NHL Draft betting lines, one of the 2nd overall pick owned by the Chicago Blackhawks and another for the Montreal Canadiens at 5th overall.

Current NHL betting odds have the Blackhawks selecting Artyom Levshunov at 2nd overall, after he started last week at a +230 rating and has risen up to a -250 rating in a matter of days. It’s worth noting that, last week, Ivan Demidov was seen as the favourite, but, since information has come out of the NHL Combine, smart money is now on Levshunov moving forward and the gap continues to grow by the day.

That is excellent news for the Montreal Canadiens, as they highly covet the top forwards of this draft; namely Ivan Demidov and Cayden Lindstrom.

The Canadiens have met and gone to dinner with Cayden Lindstrom on a few occasions, including at the NHL Combine; while also having gotten live viewings of Ivan Demidov in Russia during this past season.

If the Canadiens could have either of these young, talented forwards, they’ll likely consider this draft a success.

The good news? It seems that the odds currently favour this outcome.

As it stands, Cayden Lindstrom is the favourite to be selected by the Montreal Canadiens at 5th overall with a +180 rating, which normally isn’t a huge margin.

The next player is Ivan Demidov, who sports a +260 rating; but that number has already shrunk from the +500 it started at last week. The traction on Ivan Demidov possibly sliding to the Canadiens is based on the notion that the Ducks value a defenceman and that the Blue Jackets are looking for a big forward or another of the top-end defencemen in this draft.

It’s not a sure thing that Demidov is available at 5th overall, hence the lesser odds, but, if he is there on June 28th, it would be shocking to see the Canadiens pass on him.

The next two players on the list are late-riser Beckett Sennecke, who appears to also be on Columbus’ and Utah’s radar, after being taken out for supper during the combine, and Tij Iginla.

Lastly, one player that has seen his stock rise significantly is Zeev Buium, who has gone from being an outlier at +5000 to one of the top five choices the Canadiens could make at +1900 in a matter of 48 hours; and his stock is expected to continue rising as we come closer to the date.

Those would likely be the alternative options for the Canadiens, should the unlikely scenario of both Demidov and Lindtsrom being off the board at 5th overall come to pass.

Canadiens Draft Target History

It’s worth noting that, after the 2023 NHL Combine, betting odds had a two-way tie between David Reinbacher and Ryan Leonard for who the Canadiens would select at 5th overall.

The two shared equal +200 ratings up until the start of the 2023 NHL Draft, with the Canadiens ultimately opting for the big, right-shot defender in Reinbacher.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Lindstrom will undoubtedly be the pick though, as the Montreal Canadiens aren’t the only team that is interested in the big forward. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who are also looking for more scoring punch, took the bruising centre out for supper at the combine and is clearly at the top of their draft board as well.

The issue right now in projecting the top-5, unlike last season, is that two Russian prospects in Ivan Demidov and Anton Silayev have yet to meet with NHL teams; but they’ll get the change later this month in a private combine in Florida (Demidov) and a few days before the draft (Silayev).

Once those meetings occur, the draft board will become even clearer, and possibly in the favour of the Canadiens; as Silayev seems to be of major interest to both the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets as well.

Buckle up folks, the next three weeks should be quite the ride.

*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel