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Pinocchio Hughes and the Canadian’s “indecision”

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Without batting an eye, Kent Hughes said that 72 hours before the National Hockey League (NHL) draft, the Canadiens organization had not yet made the decision on the identity of the player they will select from the front row on Thursday night!

It’s a bit strong coffee. Also very strong.

A possibility that the draft will not happen in late June as usual, because they would probably have decided for a coinshe let out an impassive laugh.

One thing is certain, we are very far from Patrick Roy who, in 2013, immediately ended the game of comparisons between Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones. Roy had left Jones out of the equation military hand. And he went further by saying that it would be very difficult for Avalanche not to select the forward Halifax Mooseheads.

For those who may have forgotten, it was Seth Jones, not MacKinnon, who topped the NHL Central Scouting list that year.

Roy’s claims certainly clashed with established conventions. But at the same time, this approach sent a clear message to MacKinnon: you are our man, we trust you and there is no hesitation on our part.


We understand very well that the NHL prefers that the identity of the first pick be revealed on the night of the draft. After all, broadcasters pay dearly for the privilege of broadcasting league games and events. And the higher the valuations of these partners, the higher the price for acquiring the league’s next TV rights will also be.

Not to mention the thousands of spectators who, incredibly, paid huge sums to get tickets. At the time of writing, only general admission tickets were still available for Thursday evening, offering seats on the upper floors of the Bell Center.

Forward Shane Wright is expected to be the Canadiens’ choice on Thursday at the Bell Center.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Reuben Polansky-Shapiro

It has been 42 years since the CH did not hold the first pick of a selection session. The side historical this evening certainly contributes to this frenzy at the counters.

That said, there is a margin between declaring indecision and simply telling media representatives that a choice has been made internally and will only be revealed in draft.

It is not hesitation. We just want to make sure our homework is done. We also want to empower all of our recruiters to have their voices heardKent Hughes explained.

When I told them this, two NHL scouts spontaneously burst out laughing.

The Canadiens recruiters, of course, have already done their homework. And twice instead of once, we have to believe it, since they rely on two co-directors of amateur recruiting in Martin Lapointe and Nick Bobrov. During the CH end-of-season report, Kent Hughes also said the organization’s priority was to prepare for the repechage. And that’s what happened.

Playing the card we’re not sure And we still want to do more checksmanagement sends ambiguous signals to its future first choice.


The proof that the CH has meticulously carried out its duties lies in a myriad of details. Like these offers, launched several weeks ago, to the organizations they choose in the middle of the first round.

The Canadian is very combative in his intention to trade quantities to better position himself, especially in the first round. The team has 14 choices in this session.

Juraj Slafkovsky impressed in the last Olympic tournament with 7 goals.

Photo: Reuters / DAVID W CERNY

Teams approached by Kent Hughes were offered the 26th and 33rd selections (33rd selection is the first of the second round) of the CH in exchange for their position in the middle of the first round.

Montreal recruiters are not caves. Like everyone else, they can see that there is some sort of break in this repechage (a drop in talent) around 19th position. On the other hand, the first pick of the second round is worth gold. The day after round one, GMs who hold the top picks in round two get a lot of calls. Everyone wants them! So the Canadian’s offer is certainly tempting for many teamssays a club recruiter in the West.

Now it remains to be seen how the rest of the poker game will turn out.

The Habs have every interest in closing this market as soon as possible in order to use a possible choice of midfielder in the first round, improving it, to advance further within the top 5 or the top 10.

On the other hand, teams positioned in the middle of the first round have a vested interest in waiting until the last second to close such a deal. For example, if you trade your 15th pick too quickly and a player you placed in the top 10 is still available at 15th level, you may be biting your fingers. It is therefore best to keep the CH offer up your sleeve and take your time to see if the session will take an unexpected direction.


For the rest, the fans of the team have not learned anything of significance during this press conference of the Canadiens. It was certainly necessary to have a high-sensitivity decoder to grasp all the nuances of the speech offered by Kent Hughes and Vincent Lecavalier.

For example, it was remarkable that the CH leaders insisted that in their eyes there are always three players in the game, which leaves in the portrait American center Logan Cooley with Canadian center Shane Wright and great Slovak winger Juraj Slafkovsky.

Kent Hughes has also come back on several occasions that the purpose of the exercise is not to identify the best player of 18, but rather who will be the best at 22, 23 or 24. Again, by all accounts, Cooley appears to be the player with the highest development potential.

Logan Cooley should be one of the top three picks in the next draft.

Photo: Getty Images / Mike Mulholland

Hughes has often said that the familiarity with a hope (having seen him play for years) is an essential aspect of the recruiting process. In that sense, it was impressive to hear the GM list all the competitions and levels that Shane Wright has seen play in the past. Agents are known to recruit their potential clients around the age of 13-14.

Lecavalier also pointed out that it was difficult to evaluate a potential client playing on a team that offers him little playing time, which was a direct allusion to Slafkovsky.

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Furthermore, the phone call Vincent Lecavalier made to Shane Wright undoubtedly proved to be a very instructive exercise for the Canadian.

That said, what was the CH trying to find out with this call? Did we really want to know how Wright handled the pressure of being identified as the future first choice in the draft, or did we want to understand why Wright’s offensive production turned out to be below expectations?

In short, we only have three days left to try to read the tea leaves.

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