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NHL Project | The Canadian still hesitates between three forwards

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(Brossard) Kent Hughes insists there are still three candidates vying for first place in the repechage, three days before the first round presentation at the Bell Center.

Posted at 14:00
Updated at 15:54

Alexis Belanger-Champagne
The Canadian press

The Montreal Canadiens’ general manager said on Monday that his recruiting group and team management will spend the next few days debating who the team will pick first in the draft between forwards Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Loogan Cooley.

However, Hughes’ goal is not to get the best player of 18, but rather the one who, at 23, 24 or 25, can help the team win year after year.

“We try to predict what will happen to a player and there are many factors to consider,” added Hughes. What he is able to do now, will he be able to do it to the next level? There is a hockey factor, there is a position factor and there is a lot of other psychological factors. ”

Special Adviser for Hockey Operations Vincent Lecavalier said he recently spoke with Wright, who has been seen for several years as the nOh 1 of the 2022 vintage. However, Wright fell out of favor with many observers during the season. Lecavalier hoped to have the opportunity to speak with Slafkovsky and Cooley before the draft.

“I wanted to see how he managed that season with number 1 status,” said Lecavalier, himself enlisted first overall from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1998. I shared my experience talking about my last season with Rimouski Océanic, how difficult it is. it was to manage the pressure.

“He also told me a little about his game, I learned a lot about him. He is a good person who has high standards. ”

Lecavalier pointed out how difficult it was to compare Wright, Slafkovsky and Cooley when the former played in the Canadian junior ranks, the latter in the Finnish league and the third in the American development program.

Hughes said it will be important for the chosen player to be able to continually improve. He did not give importance to the presence of the player selected with the Canadian from next season.

“What’s important with all our hopes is that they reach their full potential,” said Hughes.

The former agent, however, admitted that Wright and Slafkovsky were likely ready to play in the NHL next season. Cooley has already expressed interest in playing at least one season in the NCAA.

An active CEO?

When asked about different trading scenarios, Hughes admitted that he was more likely to try to improve the rank of his second choice rather than trade his first choice to go back.

The Canadiens also own the Calgary Flames first-round pick, 26And in total. In all, you have 14 speaking rights.

“We will evaluate all options. It is possible that we will move forward or trade choices for years to come, ”Hughes said.

Hughes hasn’t ruled out giving up his first-ever pick if the offer is right, but he is aware that it may not be the most popular decision when the event takes place at the Bell Center.

«If the repechage happened tonight [lundi], we would use this choice, but at the same time it is my responsibility to work for the good of Canadians. We will definitely look at all options, ”Hughes said.

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Hughes had no new information to release about goalkeeper Carey Price’s condition.

He also said no decision has been made regarding defender Kaiden Guhle’s participation in the junior world championship in August in Edmonton.

Hughes said manager Martin St-Louis has already begun the process of finding a new assistant to replace Luke Richardson, who has been named head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.

He also returned to the Jeff Petry case, repeating that he would have traded the American defender if the offer had been good. Hughes also said it was possible Petry could return to the Canadiens next season and his family could join him again in Montreal.

Finally, Hughes said defender Alexander Romanov was due to return to North America this week and was closely followed by the Canadian, as well as striker Evgenii Dadonov, especially after goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov was forcibly sent off for the military service.

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