Kent Hughes could cause a huge surprise with the 5th overall pick

Published May 14, 2023 at 6:36 PM

The NHL draft is approaching fast and there is much discussion about the Canadiens' first choice. Journalist Marco D'Amico, who works for Montreal Hockey Now, has revealed the names of two players who are highly appreciated by the Canadiens.

According to a source working within the organization, Will Smith and Ryan Leonard have seriously caught the eye of management, and the Canadiens are very interested in acquiring one of these two players with their 5th overall pick:

"I spoke with a few privileged members of the Montreal Canadiens who expressed great enthusiasm about Ryan Leonard and Will Smith during the U-18s," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

"They were waiting to see if Leonard would step up his game, and he did. He's a player to watch and is on Montreal's radar if Smith goes early."

Although Will Smith has been linked to the Canadiens for several months, having a close relationship with general manager Kent Hughes, this is the first time Ryan Leonard's name has been associated with the Canadiens.

Will Smith had an exceptional season with the American U18 team this year, recording 127 points in 60 games. The forward was also the top player for the United States at the U-18 World Championship, with an impressive haul of 9 goals and 11 assists in 7 games.

It would be surprising if the American forward were still available at the 5th pick. However, if Will Smith is still on the board, there's no doubt the organization could set their sights on him.

As for Ryan Leonard, the chances of him still being available when the Canadiens make their selection are very high. The American forward collected 94 points in 57 games with the American U18 team. He was also impressive at the U-18 World Championship, with 17 points in 7 games.

Although Leonard is not as talented as the top-5 (Bedard, Fantilli, Carlsson, Smith, and Michkov), he is a very promising player who could bring a serious boost to the Canadiens' offense.

Credit : Habs et LNH
May 14   |   173 answers
Kent Hughes could cause a huge surprise with the 5th overall pick

Would you be satisfied if the Canadiens drafted Ryan Leonard with the 5th overall pick?

Yes6135.3 %
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