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Instant Analysis: Canadiens Hit Home Run With Ivan Demidov Pick



montreal canadiens ivan demidov

After spending the last few weeks, perhaps even months, anticipating which player the Montreal Canadiens would add to their prospect pool with the fifth overall pick at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, we now know the identity of the player who will play a crucial role in their rebuild, as the Habs drafted forward Ivan Demidov fifth overall.

The first thing we need to establish is that Demidov immediately becomes the most important prospect in the organization. That’s not to say David Reinbacher won’t play a big part in the team’s rebuild, however, if there was one glaring weakness, it was the lack of high-end offensive talent. Demidov not only brings high-end offensive talent, he projects as the type of player who could become a game-changing presence on any given night.

Ivan Demidov Scouting Profile

Demidov represents the type of player that was desperately needed in the prospect pool. His high-end creativity, fantastic play making, and elite shot will certainly prove valuable as the team attempts to take the next step in their long-term rebuild plans. There are some concerns as to whether his production in the MHL, the Russian equivalent to the CHL, is a mirage, but we should note that he has excelled at every level, including when he participated in international games.

At 6’0″, 200 lbs, Demidov has a sturdy frame, which he uses well to protect the puck, however, we should note that his skating is not necessarily elite. That doesn’t mean he’s a poor skater, but he will need to improve his first stride as well as his top-end speed, but his ability to play with control of the puck is great due to his edge work. We also have to be cautious when it comes to a prospect’s skating. If you remember, Cole Caufield was being discussed as a player who had poor skating ahead of the draft. Caufield is not an elite skater, but he was clearly not a player who was being held back by his skating ability.

Demidov also brings an electrifying presence to the lineup, which should bode well in Montreal, a city that is hungry for players who can energize the Bell Centre and keep them on the edge of their seats. He has not signed a long-term contract in Russia, which means he just has one season remaining on his deal with SKA St-Petersburg. It remains to be seen how contract negotiations will unfold, but most people I’ve spoken to expect him to be in North America immediately after his KHL contract expires.

Here’s what some independent scouts have said about Ivan Demidov:

Sebastian High – Dobber Prospects:

A fantastically creative, dynamic, intelligent, and potent winger, Ivan Demidov could develop into a perennial Top 10 scorer league-wide. He finds highly effective yet stunningly creative solutions to many problems he encounters, and leverages his variety of elite tools to do so – relying less and less on his handling to do all the heavy lifting for him. He’s an active player off-puck, prodding for holes and riding blind spots, even possessing a plus-level motor on both sides of the puck and a desire to get engaged defensively.”

Chris Peters – Flo Hockey:

“The most dynamic offensive talent in this draft, Demidov averaged over two points per game in Russia’s U20 league. He was a dominant force, but his lack of KHL games and an inability to get live viewings of him against top peers in international competition like his predecessors does create an element of risk with Demidov. To the eye, however, he’s a natural shot-pass threat player who always seems to make the right read and finishes plays with regularity. His skating is closer to average, but he still has the ability to skate with some power and use his strength to get to the interior. He’s hard to knock off pucks, too. In the level he played at, his off-puck play was mostly strong. He plays an aggressive game in puck pursuit and has made that a significant part of his game, which only helps him to get the puck back more.”

Ivan Demidov Highlights

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Absolutely thrilled. He will be our top producing player in a few years. Really adds that high skill portfolio we needed in the top 6.


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the next Kovalev to our team. He’s going to be a fan favourite that pulls us out of our seats like Kovie did. We’re going to have a love affair with this guy.


I was torn between Demidov and Lindy… honestly didnt think either would be there. Beckett going 3rd shocked more than me…


I was delighted when Anaheim took Sennecke, because it guaranteed we’d either get a big power forward in Lindstrom or the superbly talented Demidov. By the look on Hughes face before he got up to select Demidov, Hughes was thrilled that he fell to us at 5.
Every draft we hear one lying GM or the other tell us that, ‘They got their preferred guy,’ when it likely wasn’t, but in Hughes’ case, he was very honest. He said Demidov was the #1 choice with Celebrini obviously going 1st, and also that they made the move to 21 from 26 because they knew Hage would be gone by 26. He also said he was finished for the day, also true.
One thing we can all appreciate about the management team under Gorton and Hughes is that they’ve been pretty honest with us where they can be. A rare thing in not just pro sports, but life as well.