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Canadiens Could Look To Trade Up At The 2024 NHL Draft

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Montreal Canadiens Draft Target

The Montreal Canadiens have the assets to make some moves this summer, but what if the big move wasn’t for a roster player, but to move up at the 2024 NHL Draft?

Since the very beginning of the offseason, the perceived plan for the Canadiens was to use the 26th overall pick, acquired by the Winnipeg Jets for Sean Monahan, as bait to acquire a top-six forward.

However, with the price of forwards like Martin Necas, Trevor Zegras and Nikolaj Ehlers reportedly sky-high, the Canadiens may have to pivot their strategy.

A glimpse of that potential was hinted at during the NHL combine when the club took both Sam Dickinson and Cole Eiserman out for supper.

Taking Dickinson out raised some eyebrows, given the Montreal Canadiens’ long list of left-shot defencemen, but, with the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres openly making their 1st-round picks available, due diligence was needed.

And then there’s Cole Eiserman.

A source close to the situation have said that the Canadiens have liked Eiserman for a while now, and that he had done well during prior interviews with the club before the combine. With Eiserman sliding down the rankings; going from a surefire top-5 pick to a player possibly available in the late teens, the Canadiens could see this as an opportunity to make a move to acquire game-breaking scoring ability through the draft instead.

It wouldn’t make for an immediate solution for the club, which likely will look for another trade like that of Kirby Dach or Alex Newhook in the meantime, but there are a few things to consider.

Why The Montreal Canadiens Could Move For Eiserman?

As of this junction, NHL betting odds have the Canadiens taking one of Cayden Lindstrom or Ivan Demidov at the 2024 NHL Draft, but what happens if both are off the board?

There are a few options at forward in Tij Iginla and Beckett Sennecke, who have both risen quite a big deal this season.

The prevailing theory is that the Canadiens will be looking at one of the many top-end defencemen that will likely still be on the board, like Anton Silayev, Zeev Buium, Zayne Parekh and possibly even Dickinson.

But it would be extremely surprising if general manager Kent Hughes, who has mentioned the organization’s desire for scoring talent, would pick a defenceman and stop there.

In that event, trading up for a falling Eiserman, who, albeit more of a risk to hit his top potential, is viewed as the best pure goalscorer in this class.

The Canadiens would likely need to make a move to nab a pick between the 10th and 17th overall picks, as the Chicago Blackhawks, who traded up to 18th overall a few weeks ago, would certainly take that risk.

So it’s easy to see why, given the unpredictability of this draft, the Canadiens wanted to do even more homework on Eiserman, to brush through all the negative talk and get down to brass tacks,

What Could The Canadiens Offer?

If the Montreal Canadiens draft a defenceman with their top pick, it could spell the end for one of the club’s existing roster players like Jayden Struble or Arber Xhekaj, but one shouldn’t rule out Logan Mailloux being made available, especially if Zayne Parekh or Zeev Buium end up being selected.

Combined with the 26th overall pick, the Canadiens have the grounds to build a package that would help them climb 10–12 spots in order to nab a falling Eiserman.

In 2022, the former Arizona Coyotes traded the 27th, 34th and 45th pick in the 2022 to the San Jose Sharks, in exchange for the 11th overall selection; which shows that this type of move, albeit rare, is very possible.

However, the Montreal Canadiens don’t have their 2nd-round pick in this upcoming draft, as it was included in a package for Christian Dvorak back in the summer of 2021.

In order to mitigate that value, the Canadiens would likely need to add a roster player to their 26th overall selection, along with Colorado’s 2024 2nd-round pick, to start getting the attention of certain GMs.

There are a few teams in the 12-to-17 range that would make for good trade partners, as they have a need for defencemen at the moment. Most notably, the St. Louis Blues, the San Jose Sharks, the Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild.

There certainly won’t be a lack of options at the Canadiens’ disposal, having one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL; the only issue will be finding a willing partner.

You can bet on the Canadiens looking to walk out of this draft with a top-end forward, it just might not be the way that everyone planned if things don’t go as planned.

 

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