Kent Hughes reveals major information on the Canadiens' draft plan

Aaron Itovitch
April 13, 2024  (9:27)

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes
Photo credit: TSN

While on Frank Seravalli's podcast from Daily Faceoff, the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes, revealed numerous interesting details about his strategy for the 2024 draft.

Indeed, although the Canadiens are assured of landing a highly talented young prospect on June 28 next year, several different scenarios could impact the decision of the top brass. In this regard, the CH's GM indicated that he would continue to select the best player available, but a particular restriction might alter the organization's plans.
Indeed, knowing that the left side of the defense is full of promising defenders such as Kaiden Guhle, Lane Hutson, Arber Xhekaj, Jayden Struble, and Adam Engstrom, not to mention Mike Matheson who is under contract until 2025-2026, Kent Hughes confirmed that this possibility was excluded from the equation.
According to the GM of the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, if the best player available is a defenseman (Sam Dickinson, Anton Silayev, or Zeev Buium), he would attempt to make a trade to either move up in the draft or even move back a few spots to select another player.
«« If there's a player who is clearly the best available at our rank, we will take that player Unless the player in question is a left-handed defenseman. In that case, we will try to trade to move forward or back. » - Kent Hughes»

This means that the organization's plan seems well established, the team aims to acquire a forward to reinforce Martin St-Louis's top-6 or a right-handed defenseman to potentially have one of the best defensive brigades in the NHL within a few years.
In a year filled with talented defensemen, it would not be surprising if such a scenario occurs, especially if forwards like Ivan Demidov and Cayden Lindstrom are selected before the Canadiens. Unless a right-handed defenseman like Zayne Parekh or Artyom Levshunov are available, and they are high on the CH's list, we can expect a forward to join the team or for Kent Hughes to conclude a trade.
One thing is certain, if there is one scenario that seems indeed confirmed, it's that the Canadiens will not draft a left-handed defenseman this year. It remains to be seen whether the organization will be charmed by a forward, a right-handed defenseman, or by the idea of trading their pick to move up or down in the draft order.
For those who want to see the full interview with Kent Hughes, it's right here:
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Kent Hughes reveals major information on the Canadiens' draft plan

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