The basis of Hughes’ planning can be set this week

Brossard, Que. — The draft will start this Thursday in Montreal. Currently, the Canadiens owns the first overall pick, with seven more choices made before the fifth round, six picks between rounds 5 and 7, players, future picks. , And move.

With all that in mind, General Manager Kent Hughes is looking at the best opportunities to put the organization’s long-term plans into action.

He is approaching it with his eyes and heart wide open.

At a pre-draft meeting with the press on Monday, GM said everything you would expect to hear from someone in his position. He began, “If the draft was tonight, it would be the first draft overall,” but he also refused to offer the possibility of trading picks when the right offer came.

Hughes said the chances of the Canadiens winning a second overall pick in the draft are as good as trading the first pick and not owning any of the top three picks, and are now in the draft. Other picks in Montreal at 26 move up from 26th Overall, the Canadiens are open to everything and not set for a particular plan, rather than trading the first pick. It all sounded very common.

But that was also real.

It’s very likely that the Canadiens will make big and bold moves, and much of what has already spotlighted them as a host with a top pick, and Hughes wants everything. I was talking like that.

Draft topic

Round 1: (1,26), Round 2: (33,62), Round 3: (66,75) Round 4 (127,128), Round 5: (130), Round 6: (162), Round 7 (194th)

Potential Round 1 target

There was nothing in general about Hughes’ answer to the question about the players the Canadians are considering using the top picks. He could have refused to answer, as most people do, but he said it would be either Shane Wright, Julai Slavkovsky, or Logan Cooley. confirmed.

The light is the center of the brain. He was an analyst’s consensus choice dating back to entering OHL, as one of the few 15-year-old players in CHL’s history was given an extraordinary position. He arrived with Kingston Frontenax under great pressure and succeeded in his first 58 games with 39 goals and 66 points.

After that, the world we knew stopped turning due to a pandemic, driving Wright and most CHL players to bystanders throughout the season.

If the 6-foot 191 pounds gained critics this season, he would have scored 32 goals and 94 points in 63 regular season games and 3 goals and 11 points in 11 playoff games. The COVID-influenced 2020-21 season played a significant role.

However, another reason why Wright’s position on most draft boards became unstable was that both Slavkovsky and Cooley narrowed the gap in their own way.

At 6 feet 4, 218 pounds, Slavkovsky, who plays so, may not have been in line with the best players in the world at the Beijing Olympics in February, but he dominates the best men available. , Leading the tournament with goals (7) and points (7). He then represented Slovakia at the World Championships in May, scoring 3 goals and 9 points in eight games.

They were credible performances in the idea that Slavkovsky stepped into the NHL in this draft and appeared to be the most physically prepared player to immediately influence. Had he not been offset by the overwhelming five-goal, ten-point season in Finland’s top men’s league, he would probably have overtaken Wright as a consensus option.

But is anyone really surprised to see both players’ Cooley Vault coming on Thursday night?

The scouts we touched on the base suggest that he has the most aggressive cap of the three players, and he played 75 games against the U.S. National Development Team this season. He showed it with 40 goals and 111 points.

“I think Cooley is the center of the top points. I think he’s like (New York Islanders star) Matt Versal,” said a top NHL executive two weeks ago. rice field.

But the same executive wondered if some habits could prevent Cooley from seizing the opportunity to prove that he could reach that upwards.

Still, there seems to be no doubt about the quality of all three players the Canadiens are considering.

As a special adviser to Hughes, and as Tampa Bay Lightning’s first overall selection, Vincent Le Cavalier said on Monday, “They are three different players, but three very good players.” ..

Determining which of them is best for the Canadiens is based on much more than performance from September to the present.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to predict the future of our players. We’re predicting where they are and what they can do as NHL players,” Hughes said. “That’s how our evaluation is actually done. Instead of figuring out who is the best player at the age of 18, we can be the best at the ages of 22, 23 and 24. , They can help us on the road to becoming a team that can win year after year. “

“It’s probably almost hard to be chosen first in Montreal,” Hughes said. “It’s a decision made with a particular focus on personality, as we’re trying to assess their ability to deal with it.” Consistently a kind of pressure. “

The Canadiens will take as long as it takes to confirm your choice.

“It’s not a matter of hesitation. It’s about making sure we do all our homework,” Hughes said when he was forced to do something that wouldn’t be resolved in just three days from the draft. “We want to talk to all the scouts. We are starting a meeting tonight, and we want to give them all a say. Indeed, in Europe, in Ontario. Some scouts haven’t seen the match in person, but nowadays, with (Scouting Technology) and (Analysis Provider) Sportlogiq, you can easily do all your homework. “

Last year’s top pick: Logan Mailloux

A 6-foot-3, 208-pound right-handed defense taken to the controversial 31st Overall, he played just 12 games for OHL’s London Knights this past season by the Canadians last summer after he withdrew from the draft because he was charged with a crime in Sweden.

Mailloux was suspended in the first half and suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the season after making his debut in January with 3 goals and 9 points.

Since then, he has spent time in Montreal, rehabilitating from surgery and familiar with the Canadians front office. A deal with his club isn’t imminent, but he’s expected to join the team’s development camp next week.

“It is not our intention to negotiate with him,” Hughes said on May 31. He did everything he promised to be a better person, a better teammate, and a member of the London community. “

Organizational needs

It will be much easier to list what the Canadiens don’t need. It’s hard to even prioritize what you need because you’re at the bottom of the NHL.

For most of the thirty years they have lacked an elite centerman, and it is arguable that they will get it either Wright or Cooley. Unless the team asks for the Godfather’s offer for the first pick of the week, it’s unlikely that it will be available to them through trade.

Is someone willing to give up on the power / scoring winger? Because the Canadians are unlikely to get it without recruiting Slavkovsky.

It may not seem like a big deal to those who see Josh Anderson signing in Montreal for another six seasons and Cole Caufield has the potential to be a star, but the Canadians It’s completely inaccurate, suggesting that you don’t need that kind of player that much.

When creating a list of Montreal’s top prospects, it starts with a few quality defenses.

However, it is not straightforward to suggest that any of them will develop into a star. The Canadiens do not have a star in the current roster that meets the bill. They are also trying to replace their best defense at Geoff Petrie.

Therefore, that need could be even greater by the end of this week.

Oh, and what’s happening on the net then?

Cayden Primeau and Yakubu Doves are prospects who have shown that they could one day be NHL goalkeepers, but that day isn’t always right there, and the Canadians are contracted superstars. I’m heading to the draft without knowing. Occupying their net is actually before that again.

As Hughes said on Monday, when he has news about Carey Price’s health and future, he will convene a special press conference to cover the topic exclusively.

In the meantime, he has so many picks at his disposal in the draft part of Friday that he may want to start stocking goalkeepers in the Canadiens cupboard.

At the same time, creating cap flexibility for signing Alex Romanov, Caulfield and other backers is an organizational need and perhaps the most pressing. Hughes will put enough energy into doing just that next week. Meaning Petry may not be the only member of the current roster to find himself elsewhere.

The basis of Hughes’ planning can be set this week

Source link The basis of Hughes’ planning can be set this week

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