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Canadiens Selection Of Demidov Could Be Franchise-Defining

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens look to have made a franchise-altering move at the 2024 NHL Draft in selecting Ivan Demidov at 5th overall.

If you ask the Canadiens, they think they walked out of this year’s draft like bandits.

When Co-Directors of Scouting, Nick Bobrov and Martin Lapointe stepped up to review the 2024 NHL Draft haul on Day 2 of the 2024 NHL Draft, they looked like they had just won the lottery,

When they were asked point-blank whether they felt they had the steal of the draft on their hands in Ivan Demidov, Bobrov not only agreed, but took it one step further.

“Absolutely. That’s an understatement,”retorted Bobrov.

Despite their obvious bias, they’re not wrong.

NHL betting odds had Demidov closer in likelihood to the second, third and fourth overall picks than the 5th overall pick leading up to the draft; only seeing a sharp swerve at the last minute hours before the draft.

With the selection of Ivan Demidov, the Canadiens have finally acquired a player with the potential to be a game-breaker for the club moving forward; the type of offensive talent they haven’t had in a generation.

Outside of another 5th overall pick in Carey Price, no other player selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the last 50 years has had the potential that Demidov possesses; and, had it not been for his place of birth, the Canadiens likely would have never gotten the chance.

But, sometimes, the risk is worth the reward.

Breaking the Mold

One NHL scout reached out to applaud the Canadiens on their selection, and took it one step forward.

“Selecting Ivan Demidov is a game-changer for the franchise,” said the source on the basis of anonymity. “He’s got the highest ceiling of any player they’ve picked in decades and has the highest potential of any Canadiens forward since Guy Lafleur.”

No pressure kid.

That’s saying something, considering the Montreal Canadiens have drafted quite a few impactful players since 1971, like Stéphane Richer, Bob Gainey, Steve Shutt, Saku Koivu, Cole Caufield and more.

Sound crazy? Let’s look at it for a second.

As much as those were great players, some of which are deservedly in the Hall of Fame for their amazing contributions to championship teams, none of them (outside of Shutt) were ever pegged to be perennial point-per-game players.

In fact, the Montreal Canadiens haven’t had a point-per-game player in their midst since Alex Kovalev in 2008; over 16 years ago.

What’s worse, the last time they drafted a player who went on to register 82 points or more in a season was when they selected Mike Ribeiro in the second round of the 1998 NHL Draft.

The cherry on the sundae of mediocrity? The last homegrown talent to hit 82 points or more while playing for the Canadiens was Stéphane Richer, who registered 91 points in 1989-1990.

Needless to say, the Montreal Canadiens faithful have been starved for a superstar; and they may just have found one in Ivan Demidov.

Only A Matter Of Time

Some of the risk involved with selecting Ivan Demidov is the uncertainty of playing time in Russia and the contractual situation he currently has with his club, SKA St. Petersburg.

Demidov was relegated to the MHL, the Russian junior league, because he refused to extend his contract with the team; continuously stating that he wished to head overseas to North America to continue his hockey career in the NHL.

Often used as a pressure tactic to dissuade top Russian talents from leaving early, SKA sent Demidov, who dominated the KHL pre-season, to the MHL and let him sit there all season to dominate. This, despite being clearly head-and-shoulders above the competition.

Evaluating his play against much weaker competition was another key point of contention for many scouts, as they questioned whether Demidov’s output of 23 goals and 60 points in just 30 games came as a result of weaker competition.

For the Montreal Canadiens, not only was it not a problem, it only showcased how resilient he was; playing hard every shift and outworking his opponents; despite knowing he was too good for that league.

But did it hold his development back? Not according to the Canadiens.

When Martin Lapointe was asked whether Demidov would be NHL-ready, were it not for his obligation to finish out the last year of his contract in Russia, he was almost amused by the question.

“What do you think?,” responded Lapointe without any hesitation.

That’s how good the Montreal Canadiens think Demidov is as a prospect.

So… When’s He Coming Over?

The million-dollar question is obvious at this junction: When will Demidov play for the Canadiens?

The talented forward has one-year left on his deal with SKA. So, whether he plays in the MHL or KHL, his season will likely come to a close between late-March and mid-April.

There is a sliver of hope the Canadiens could have SKA simply release Demidov if they know he isn’t staying, rather than punish him all year in the MHL. But, don’t hold your breath on that one.

At the conclusion of next season (2024-2025), Demidov would be in his right to ask SKA to release him from his contract. SKA would be able to retain his KHL rights, and Demidov would be able to join the Montreal Canadiens in the final games of the 2024-2025 NHL season.

The Minnesota Wild went through the same process with top prospect Marat Khusnutdinov earlier this year. After SKA granted his release at the end of the KHL season in late February, Khusnutdinov was able to sign his entry-level contract with the Wild to go overseas and join them in their late-season playoff push.

With the Montreal Canadiens hoping to make a similar push for the playoffs this upcoming season, having Ivan Demidov come over to finish out the year could be exactly what the doctor ordered for both parties.

Needless to say, he’ll be well worth the wait.

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

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Ghg55

Still lost for words. We’ve won in my lifetime, but I was 2…. If this guy hits, it’ll literally be something I’ve never seen in Le Tricolore. I’m so excited. Then they follow up with Hage and Koivu…. Yeah, I just….. so happy lol. Plus after their picks like Volokhin, Konyushkov, Eriksson and even F. Xhekaj, though I don’t know many of their later picks, I completely trust them…. So happy.

Oh… and though a lot will depend on development and many other factors, we can at least slot strong prospects into a full 23 man roster, and we didn’t have to trade ANY of our extra firsts or young D men. We still have SO MANY options and avenues to improve.

Yeah…. So happy

Ghg55

Caufield Suzuki Slaf
Demidov Dach Hage
Roy Beck Newhook
Xhekaj Kapanen Farrell Heineman Koivu Eriksson etc etc

Hutson reinbacher
Guhle Mailloux
Xhekaj Barron Engstrom Konyushkov Struble Harris etc etc

And honestly I’m sure I forgot some.

Two firsts next yr, 2 seconds, 3 thirds
Still have Matheson, Savard, Kovacevic, armia, Evans, and Dvorak with at least SOME trade value (even if we have to retain). A leader that’s still productive in Gally, and Anderson may bounce back with a healthy Dach….
It’s not a stretch to think a rebounded Anderson, a healthy savard, and matheson could get us at least the equivalent of 3 first round picks and there’s no need to rush these trades cuz Demidov and Hage got us the two young potential top 6 players we needed. Trading this vets (now or in the future) will get us some extra top 6 talent (either directly or through picks) so that even if some of these players don’t hit or Dach can’t stay healthy, we have options.

Honestly, this is going absolutely perfectly. I really couldn’t be happier

Rocks99

Typical of habs fans. Going crazy over 17/18 year old kids who never played pro hockey. Relax buddy!!!! I’m excited too, but learn to temper your expectations. It’ll avoid major disappointments.

Ghg55

You’re absolutely right. No one should ever have any positive or negative reactions after a draft. Whether you get Connor McDavid or someone no one has ever heard of, don’t have ANY reaction at all! They’ve never played pro hockey. It’s not possible to know ANYTHING about them. Or to see if they have potential. Or to guess at what they might turn into. Nope, not possible at all.
And while we’re at it, don’t get excited if you or your wife get pregnant cuz the kid isn’t born yet. Or if you get hired at a new job cuz you haven’t worked it yet. Or if you win the lottery cuz you haven’t spent the money yet. You have no idea how these situations will turn out so DO NOT REACT!! If you do, some incredibly smart and super serious person in online forums will oh so rightly point out that YOU HAVENT SEEN THE EMD RESULT!! Cuz they’re super smart and serious.

Alternatively…. You could learn how to read, especially the part where I talk about how everything will depend on DEVELOPMENT AND SEVERAL OTHER FACTORS. But hey, you seem like a person who’s having a miserable time in life right now so I’ll give you a pass on not being able to read.

Bud, it’s absolutely fine to look at potential and get excited. It’s absolutely fine to see that this pipeline has the most potential of any pipeline the team has had in DECADES. It’s absolutely fine to be cautiously optimistic (which I clearly was, given the fact I said what I did about development etc). If you want to live in a miserable little hole and pretend like it’s some super insane thing to believe that people can be excited about a potential future, go ahead. But maybe keep it to yourself unless you want to keep looking absolutely ridiculous. No one said this is a dynasty or the greatest thing ever. The irony of YOU telling ME to relax is… something

Habsie

Let’s not forget about Fowler in net. I’m hoping he’s NHL ready by the time Demidov comes over.

Rocks99

Fowler is the best goalie outside the nhl. Habs will win 10 cups with him in net

PB64

Here he goes again, miserable is his basement and wanting everybody to be miserable with him.

morrisk

Don’t mean to toss a ton of water on your Stanley Cup fire…but you are all over the place with this.

First, Hage on the 2nd line next season? NO. Maybe in 3 seasons.

Second, you also realize he is a centre, not a winger? So he and Dach cannot play on the same 2nd line unless one is either demoted to 3rd line or is forced to play winger…neither of which makes for a good situation.

Third, keep dreaming about the grand and miraculous turnaround of Anderson…he will be off this team one way or another before the end of this coming season, either by a trade with 50% cap hit retained, or a buyout. But it will be painful until then.

Fourth, not a single RD pick was taken or traded for…wasn’t that an organizational weakness, so we were hearing?

Its not going “perfectly” until they compete for a Cup.

PB64

I do not think this was meant to be next year roster. But is a few year when Gally, Anderson, Armia, Matheson, Savard, Evans, Dvorak are all gone.

Ghg55

This was very clearly a future-looking comment. I clearly point out that we can slot players into 23 roster spots. I didn’t say anything about exact positions, or this being next year. I have no idea why people are taking a very simple comment about a POTENTIAL FUTURE projection, one where I CLEARLY STATE that there are many factors at play, and acting like I’m screaming we have a dynasty starting immediately. I never said anything even close.

Also, your point about Hage’s position is kinda silly. Dach, Newhook, Hage, Demidov etc etc can all play C and many people drafted as C play as wingers… I was merely slotting 23 ppl into the lineup and a rough approximation of what it MAY look like. Having multiple people who CAN play C on the same line can be beneficial as well. You’re acting like we didn’t just see McDavid and Draisaitl do this exact thing at different points in their run to the final… and whole careers.

Again, maybe this is a language thing, but I never said Anderson will bounce back and we can trade him. I said he MAY bounce back, but I said it while listing a bunch of places we still MAY find value. I was outlining how we have a great prospect foundation and there are still places where we MAY acquire even more assets (picks, prospects, roster players) that can make the future look even brighter. Anderson bouncing back, even if not likely, is still something that fits what I was saying. But even if he doesn’t, my larger point is we don’t need EVERYTHING to be amazing because there are so many options. I don’t understand how you missed that…

Finally… you’re eating a rebuild based on not having a cup? A cup shouldn’t factor in to an assessment of a rebuild because by definition it’s not the CURRENT goal of a rebuild. It’s a long-term one. So not having one is kind of moot. You should be assessing a rebuild based on the assets you acquire and the quality of the prospect pool, young talent, and projections of the future. Considering it’s only been 2.5 yrs and we have names that can at least fill slots for now in all of our lines and pairings and their projections look quite good, PLUS we still have TONS of picks, extra prospects, and a few avenues to acquire more through roster players… this is as perfect as it gets without winning a Bedard.

Seriously ppl, you’re taking posts WAYYY too seriously, especially considering you’re completely misunderstanding them

Ghg55

I mean, on our own team we’ve seen combinations of monahan, Dach, Suzuki, Newhook etc… I really can’t believe you tried to make that point about position lol.

Corey Gavin

There’s one certainty: they are going to be fun to watch.

Ghg55

As for Anderson, he won’t be bought out, we have tons of cap space. And we likely won’t trade him this year unless he bounces back. They aren’t going to eat that much salary for that long just to move him when we can easily absorb that money, pay the kids, AND sign free agents (though we aren’t at the point of needing big name, expensive free agents)

Idk what you’re talking about with the whole weak right defence thing. I never said, at least not lately. It’s not a strength of the org, but scoring was the weakness. Reinbacher, Mailloux, Barron, konyushkov…. That’s pretty decent. Yeah, we should add more as they likely won’t all pan out, but that’s a pretty strong start as there’s one with top pair ceiling, and 3 with top 4 ceiling. Again, they won’t all hit those ceilings, and some are more likely than others (for example, I think Mailloux is more likely a top 4 guy than Barron atp, but Barron would be a great 3rd pair option with Xhekaj) but that is their ceilings.

So not only did you not understand my posts, you responded to things I literally didn’t even say. Maybe take a breath next time before succumbing to that itchy typing finger

Last edited 15 days ago by Ghg55
morrisk

Would be interesting to see if the Habs are in the playoff race come beginning of March, when Dem would likely get added to the roster. But even if that happens, I don’t think we should expect a pt per game right out of the box.

Also consider NOBODY traded for Necas yet. Which means teams did not want to give up what the Canes were asking for. So I suspect at least one team will sign him to a RFA offer. Much better to loose a 1st and a 3rd in next year’s draft than give up what the Canes were asking for. Don’t be surprised if that team is the Habs. They got the cash, they have a 1st rd pick to spare, they need a scoring winger on the 2nd line, and to get the Canes back for the KK debacle would be sweet revenge.

So image by the March playoff push, we have:

Slaf-Nick-CC
Dem-Dach-Necas

as our top 2 forward lines.

Even better, image if the top 2 D pairings are

Hudson-ReinB
Guhle-Mailloux

Now, we cooking with gas…..

Last edited 15 days ago by morrisk
Greg

I was really happy we got Demidov, and I knew we would when the Ducks blew everyone’s minds and took Sennecke 3rd. It was well known the Jackets wanted Lindstrom, so I was smiling. Hughes, HE was ear to ear grinning before he went up to the podium. Was thinking a double drop for a bit there, thinking we might get Eiserman too. I’m good with Hage though, he sounds like a good kid and skilled player.
Overall, 100% happier than last year. Getting Koivu was an added bonus, I thought that may have been off the table after trading 57 to move up in the 1st.