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Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes
Photo credit: Le Devoir

The Canadiens' draft list has emerged: Kent Hughes has a plan

Published April 19, 2024 at 1:09 PM
By: AARON ITOVITCH
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Aaron Itovitch
April 19, 2024  (1:09 PM)
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Now that the NHL regular season has officially ended, and with the Canadiens not participating in the playoffs, the eyes of the fans are focused on the prospects who might join the organization via the draft.

Indeed, finishing 28th in the NHL, the Canadiens have secured the fifth ticket (8.5%) for the Macklin Celebrini lottery. Unfortunately, while this possibility exists, it is highly unlikely. In fact, Kent Hughes is much more likely to pick between the 5th and 7th spots on June 28th.

Nevertheless, given that the top-10 is filled with extremely talented young prospects, there is no doubt that the Montreal management will have the opportunity to add a key piece to their lineup in a few weeks. If the 2024 draft class, unlike last year, is dominated by excellent defenders, there are also several top forwards who could greatly help the first two lines of Martin St-Louis.

Personally, I would prefer to see the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge opt for a forward, especially after seeing the first steps of Lane Hutson and Logan Mailloux in the NHL, as well as those of David Reinbacher with the Rocket de Laval. They have shown they possess the necessary skills to become important elements in the CH's defensive brigade, allowing Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton to prioritize the team's offensive needs.


In my opinion, if players like Ivan Demidov or Cayden Lindstrom are available, the Canadiens simply cannot ignore them. Moreover, the Canadiens could also trade to acquire other "assets" and thus select a player like Tij Iginla, Cole Eiserman, or Berkly Catton around the 7th or 8th spot.

Moreover, expert David Ettedgui was on BPM Sports yesterday afternoon and he compiled a list, based on his information and the team's needs, of what the priorities might look like for the management on June 28th. Here is his list for the CH in view of the draft:

1- Macklin Celebrini (C): Unsurprisingly, the center from Boston University, who dominated the NCAA this season with 64 points, including 32 goals, in 38 games at just 17 years old, will surely be the first player selected in Vegas.

2- Ivan Demidov (RW): Seen as the second-best player of the draft, the Russian forward set new records in the MHL this year, surpassing the stats of Nikita Kucherov and Kiril Kaprizov at the same age. He scored 60 points, including 20 goals, in 30 regular season games, and he also has 26 points in 14 playoff games currently.

3- Cayden Lindstrom (C): Despite missing a good part of the season due to an injury, the 6'3'', 210-pound center still managed to show his talent with the Medicine Hat Tigers early this year, scoring 27 goals and 19 assists in just 32 WHL games.

4- Artyom Levshunov (D): The defenseman from Belarus had a sensational campaign in the American university ranks. With an imposing frame, he also demonstrated impressive offensive abilities with 35 points in 38 games.

5- Tij Iginla (C): The stock of Jarome Iginla's son is on the rise currently, and many observers see him more and more as one of the top forwards of the 2024 draft. With a devastating shot and incredible one-on-one skills, the Kelowna Rockets forward recorded 47 goals and 37 assists (84 points) in 64 WHL games.

6- Cole Eiserman (LW): The forward from the American development program is unquestionably the top scorer of the 2024 class. In 73 games this season, he accumulated 74 goals and 36 assists, breaking the record previously set by Cole Caufield.

7- Zayne Parekh (D): After a notable harvest of 37 points in 50 games last season, the offensive production of the Saginaw Spirit defenseman completely exploded this season. The defenseman accumulated 96 points, including 33 goals, in 66 games, profiling himself as the best offensive defenseman of the draft.

As you can see, the 2024 class is filled with prospects with very promising potential and it's really encouraging for the Canadiens. It will be interesting to see the direction Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton will want to take, but rest assured, the organization will definitely acquire a player with very special talent.

If you were in Kent Hughes' place, which player would you select?

You can listen to David Ettedgui's interview right here:

POLL
19 APRIL   |   140 ANSWERS
The Canadiens' draft list has emerged: Kent Hughes has a plan

Which player would you like to see the Canadiens select at the 2024 NHL entry draft?

Ivan Demidov3122.1 %
Cayden Lindstrom8762.1 %
Atryom Levshunov42.9 %
Other1812.9 %
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