Posted at 7:00
Since you have to dare … the Canadian will field powerful winger Juraj Slafkovsky in the front row on Thursday evening and will also get a promising center by acquiring another choice in the field first 12, or Noah Östlund, Cutter Gauthier, Marco Kasper or Jonathan Lekkerimäki (who can also play in the center), depending on everyone’s availability. This second choice will be obtained in exchange for the final choices of the first (26And) or at the beginning of the second (33And) round, or against Josh Anderson and one of the two choices mentioned above.
Slafkovsky could start the season in Montreal, to the left of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, while we will be more patient with the center. Östlund and Lekkerimäki can stay another season in Sweden, Gauthier will play at Boston College in the NCAA, while Kasper can stay in Sweden or join Laval Rocket due to his European player status. Meanwhile, Christian Dvorak will fill the void at the second center despite commercial rumors.
Nothing will happen. Indeed, yes, eventually something will happen; the Canadian will choose the first hope of all, a choice that we will be happy to criticize from here to Bye bye 2026 ; then other clubs will choose other players, and so on, as usually happens in the repechage. But there will be no bangs, no negotiations and no major transactions as the internet promises us since Easter, simply because expectations are too high to be met.
On the other hand, it can be expected that some prospects or scouts will not be able to go to the Bell Center because they will be caught in the baggage line at the airport. It will be funny.
If we tell you Tim Stützle and Jake Sanderson, does it turn you on? Now let’s try two more names: Jay Bouwmeester and Petr Taticek. Less exciting? We are throwing those names at you because they are the latest cases of teams having two choices in the top 10. In 2020, the Ottawa senators claimed Stützle at 3And grade and Sanderson at 5And grade, and both have progressed well since then. In 2002, the Florida Panthers scored with Bouwmeester at 3And degree, a little less with Taticek at 9And rank. Our prediction: the Canadiens will become the third team in 20 years to speak twice in the league top 10.
To do this, Kent Hughes will obviously need his other first round pick (26And), and will have to equalize among his best defensive prospects. Alexander Romanov, Kaiden Guhle, Justin Barron, Jordan Harris and Logan Mailloux are all under 23 and not all of them will become defenders of the top 4. So Hughes has the leeway to risk one and try to improve on offense.
Simon Olivier Lorange
At least one veteran of the Canadiens will be swapped and I bet a $ 2 bill on Josh Anderson. During his press conference after Shea Weber’s departure for Las Vegas in mid-June, Kent Hughes put Anderson’s name into the conversation when he answered a question about … Evgenii Dadonov. The general manager indicated that he didn’t necessarily intend to trade him and recalled “how much we love Josh”, but he didn’t close the door on any chance.
Those with a more or less long memory will remember hearing these almost exact words to describe Artturi Lehkonen on the eve of the March trade deadline. We know the rest. Habs have a lot of hefty contracts on their payroll and won’t be able to liquidate them all at once. But with so many draft picks in hand, Hughes won’t hesitate if an attractive offer comes up on the Bell Center floor.
When will the scouts put aside their negative prejudice against small forwards? Now. The successes of Johnny Gaudreau, Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Marchessault and Cole Caufield, combined with the explosion of advanced statistics, will convince them to take the plunge. Two players will benefit: Matthew Savoie and Jordan Dumais.
Savoy, scoring 90 points in the Western League, could climb into the top five or six players enrolled. Dumais is coming out of a 109-point season with the Halifax Mooseheads. Quebecer will be drafted sooner than his NHL Central Scouting ranking (73And in North America). Good risk for the Canadian, at the end of the second round.