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Canadiens Draft Talk: Analyzing Intentions For NHL Teams In Top 5

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Montreal Canadiens draft lottery

The 2024 NHL Entry Draft is just a couple of days away, which means the Montreal Canadiens are close to putting their hands on yet another top five prospect.

Of course, the position of the aforementioned prospect is up for debate. The Canadiens have made it quite clear they’re intent on drafting a forward, a logical approach given the David Reinbacher selection in 2023, but as we all know, intentions can change. If the desired forwards are off the board, the best player available could very well be a defenceman, putting the Habs in a rather delicate situation when it comes to acquiring forwards with elite talent.

To get a better idea of how the draft may unfurl, we can use the most recent information available to anticipate the choices made by the four teams that are scheduled to take to the podium before the Canadiens draft the fifth overall player at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

MUST READ: Pre-Draft Nerves Improve Odds Ivan Demidov Will Drop To The Canadiens

1. San Jose Sharks

This is the only pick in the draft that is guaranteed. The San Jose Sharks will draft Macklin Celebrini with the first overall pick at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

2. Chicago Blackhawks

This is where things get interesting. On the surface, you may think the Blackhawks are desperate to add a little insulation around Connor Bedard, and there’s certainly logic in that line of thinking. However, that’s the opposite of what I’ve heard from the Blackhawks camp. They’ve spent a lot of time scouting Michigan State games, and they believe Artyom Levshunov is the epitome of a complete defenceman, which is something they’ll need in their lineup going forward.

Now, here’s the rub. You hear a lot of things before a draft. Some people will sprint to social media to share every tidbit of information they hear, whether it’s legitimate or not. That’s not how I operate, as I will never be considered an insider, and I don’t need to pretend that I am one. Like most people in the industry, I hear a bevy of rumours, some good, some bad. The fact of the matter is that very few of them come to fruition. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all false, as negotiations break down and teams can change their draft intentions, but when I see someone who I trust confirm the information I have heard a few times already, I have no issues adding to the veracity of the claim.

In this case, Scott Powers, a colleague, has suggested it would be surprising if Chicago did not draft Levshunov. Scott does not delve into wild rumours, and I am certain he only offered this information because it was close to being ironclad.

3. Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim is a team that has been linked to all the top prospects, a little like the Canadiens. Scott Wheeler, another colleague that I trust explicitly, has proposed the Ducks have shown great interest in forward Beckett Sennecke in recent weeks.

I wager that Scott’s information is a little more fresh than mine, but from what I have heard, the Ducks are very high on defenceman Anton Silayev, the hulking Russian who is currently playing for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL. And when I say they’re very high on him, I heard from a few NHL scouts that it’s essentially a lock.

Personally, I don’t believe any team is involved in a ‘lock’ this year, except for San Jose and Celebrini, but if the Ducks do decide to take the defenceman route, it bodes well for the odds the Habs will be able to select one of the best forwards in the draft.

 

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Here’s what we do know. The Blue Jackets have not yet made a decision as to the final intentions, to the point that they’ve promoted the fact that the fourth overall pick is up for grabs in a trade.

What does this tell us? The Blue Jackets are likely in the same situation as the Canadiens. Their true intentions will only be revealed once the first three picks have been made, leaving a distinct possibility they could end up moving down. Historically speaking, teams almost never trade out of the top five, which is why we shouldn’t hold our breath for a trade. As for their ideal draft targets, Cayden Lindstrom and Ivan Demidov are names that get mentioned a lot, alongside defencemen Sam Dickinson and Silayev. They’ve also apparently shown great interest in the other top defencemen in the draft, including Levshunov and Zayne Parekh.

Simply put, it’s impossible to get a read on the Blue Jackets at this particular time, but if I had to take an educated guess, I would say Lindstrom is at the top of their list followed by a contingency plan filled with the names of the top defencemen.

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mikeysl

mack
demi
lev
lind
???

Peter

Montreal should select Silayev and Letourneau.

William O'Neill

Lol. Smurfs no longer!

Tyrone

How about this? Trade the #26 pick + Barron/Harris/Struble + picks/Laval players not named Mailloux, Xhekaj, Beck or Hutson (I’m assuming Roy is in Montreal) for the #4 pick. We draft Demidov AND Lindstrom if they’re both available, but if one is gone already, we nab Parekh instead with the other pick. If Columbus won’t do it, try to get Kent Johnson for a similar package instead. I’d also be willing to use Matheson or the later of our 2 first rounders in 2025 (lottery protected) in a package for #4 as a substitute. If all that fails, try to get either Buffalo’s or New Jersey’s pick for a similar package if Parker or Eiserman are still available in the draft.

Steph6691

Because no GM would accept that trade. The players available in the top 10 are worth more than that. Your essentially proposing them a late 1st rounder (which is far from being an impact player more often than not), a bottom 4 defensemen and no real prospect with much upside, for their no 4 pick?

I’m sorry but that doesn’t work for the other team. It just doesn’t. Unless you mean to include Reinbacher? Even then

Tyrone

I totally agree that it’s unlikely. That’s why it’s so open ended. The #26 + a Dman + more, where the “more” could be a whole lotta different things that we try to push it over the finish line. Ideally for us, we overwhelm them with quantity to the point they can’t refuse. Will it happen? Of course not. Nothing ever does. But it’s fun to play around. 😁

Pierre B.

I really like your enthusiastic attempts to get higher in the draft. I just want to point out that, even in the 11 to 14 overall range, there’ll unavoidably be an interesting top-6 forward or a top-4 defenseman to draft. In my top-14, there are only 3 LHD, Buium, Dickinson, Silayev, and they are ranked 5, 6, 8 respectively. Considering the Canadiens’ needs, being forced to draft one of these 3 LHD could be perceived as the worst case sccenario, but I’d still be thrilled to add any of them in the CH pipeline with an extra pick. I’m not even concerned about the logjam at LD as all 3 have top-pair potential; furthermore, I’ve seen both Buium and Silayev play as RD in highlights; there’s nothing to worry. Iginla and Sennecke have been known to be high on CH wish list. Eiserman could be a fascinating higher risk, higher reward prospect. Then, there are Catton and Helenius, two sub-6ft creative pivots with top-6 potential. Finally, Parekh and Yakemchuk, two RHD complete my top-14.
The four that I haven’t mentioned yet, Celebrini, Demidov, Lindstrom and Levshunov should be gone in the top-5, hopefully, one of them being at #5.

Tyrone

🤞😁

Mike

Throw in Beck to make this deal happen. He’ll never be a top 6 forward. Demidov and Lindstrom should help the Habs win the Cup in three years. Of course their goalie will be Jacob Fowler.

Tyrone

He might not end up in our top 6, but he’ll be an elite 3C that wins all the important faceoffs. He’s exactly the type of player you need to win a Cup.

Robin

Iginla would be a safe pick. He might not be a future super star, but he will certainly be a very good NHL player. His floor is very high and his ceiling is somewhere between very high and sky high,
preferably sky high, cross my fingers.

Greg

I would prefer Hughes trade up from 26th and draft twice in the top 15. I don’t know what it would take to get into that range aside from pick 26, but I say if it’s reasonable, do it. I’d prefer we not do a Dach/Newhook type trade this year, not for a guy like Necas anyhow.
Ask Rob Blake or Treliving how signing their big trade acquisitions to huge deals before the player played a game for them has worked out. Others haven’t been great either, but because the cap ceiling is much higher now, the deals don’t seem as poor in retrospect.
Look at how many of these stupidly long, big money contracts don’t work out. GMs need to stop giving every mediocre flash in the pan 8 years and stupid million after 1 good season and nothing special the rest of their years.

morrisk

Out of all the hooey I’ve heard on this post (some more than others), this plan makes the most sense – and is most likely. The “other” options mentioned above will never happen.

Its real simple. Either Dem or Zayne or both will be available at #5. Habs take one of these two.

If Dem is taken, then trade back up into the 10th or 11th spot (as both NJ and Buff stated they would be interested in trading down) and get a top RDman. Our 26th pick + Arber + X should do it.

If Zayne is taken, then trade back up into the 10th or 11th spot (as both NJ and Buff stated they would be interested in trading down) and get a top winger (such as Iginla or Catton). Our 26th pick + Arber + X should do it.

Personally, I actually prefer taking Zayne at #5, then trading back up to get either Iginla or Catton. Having both Zayne and Hudson in our top 4 D pairing would be at the top of the NHL in D scoring every season…and that is a very big deal.

I pass on Lindstrom if he is available…I don’t trust back issues on a physical-playing 18 yr old.

Last edited 24 days ago by morrisk
Bryan

Great to be at the top in scoring but you need to score more goals than you allow. Anyone trading Arber is insane.

Manster Matos

I would seriously consider trading down if Lindstrom and Demidov are gone.. take the assets and take a swipe at Inginla or Senneke between 10-15..
Neither are anywhere close right now to Demidov or Lindstrom.

Theprodigy

They need to come out of this with 2 good young forwards. 1 needs to be Demidov or Lindstrom. The other could be aquired by trade, someone like McGroarty, involving our #26 pick or they could trade our #26 pick up to nab a Iginla or Sennecke or Eiserman. This would be best case scenario to fill out our top 6.

Rick A Robinson

Waddel is playing the habs .. saying he wants a forward so habs trade up 1 and waffle gets another pick a d man that he wants anyway and gets another pick from habs in the draft
Sneaky … but will backfire on him no matter what he does

Last edited 23 days ago by Rick A Robinson