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In Hainsight: A Very Late First Round Pick

May 25, 2023, 11:38 AM ET [283 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

When Kent Hughes traded Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers, he didn’t trade him to a bottom of the standings team, he traded him to a contending team. However, things didn’t go according to plan in Florida and the Panthers were eliminated quickly from last year’s playoffs and struggled to find their groove this season. So much so that at one stage, it looked like the Canadiens would be speaking twice in the first 10 picks. But then, the Cats got their groove back in a big way making the playoffs and starting heck of a playoffs run. After going down 3-1 against the Bruins in the first round, Florida roared back in the series to win it 4-3 before devouring the Leafs in the second round and last night, they swept the Hurricanes. In their last 12 games, they are 11-1 against teams which had a combined winning percentage of .730, talk about impressive!

So now, the Panthers are getting ready to play in the Stanley Cup final (most probably against the Golden Knights who lead their series against the Stars 3-0) and it’s official, the Canadiens’ second first round pick will be either the 31st or the 32nd. That’s less exciting than picking twice in the top 10, but that possibility was just a nice dream that faded quickly when the Cats and summertime acquisition Matthew Tkachuk turned on beast mode.

Even though the pick is later than what most would have liked, it doesn’t change my opinion on what they Canadiens may do with it. For me, they’ll either use it to select a blue-chip goalie prospect since they are still looking for Carey Price’s heir and there’s a top goalie talent shortage in the league these days it seems or, they’ll move it in a hockey deal. I’ve already said that I’m not crazy about the idea of trading for Pierre-Luc Dubois at this stage, but using such a late first round pick to do so would be less disappointing to me. If that can be used in a reasonable package which leads to a trade and sign deal for the Quebecer and the money is reasonable, I could live with it. If, however, as some have suggested, Kirby Dach had to be included to make the deal happen I would pull the plug on those talks.

Today marks the start of the quarter finals at the World Championships and Habs players and prospects should see plenty of action. Lane Hutson, Sean Farrell and Luke Tuch have got a date with the Czechs at 9:20, while Samuel Montembeault and Justin Barron will be taking on Finland and Joel Armia at 13:20. As for Frederik Dichow, his Denmark didn’t make the cut even though he had a good tournament. Since the Canadiens drafted him in 2019, their rights on him expire on June 1st so if the Habs want to retain him, they’ve only got a few days to sign him to an entry-level contract. Given the lack of depth in the organization in front of the net, this should be a priority for Kent Hughes.
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