The Montreal Canadiens have officially been labeled as losers

Published June 30, 2023 at 12:44
BY DAVID ST-JEAN

The 2023 NHL Draft for the Montreal Canadiens is likely to go down in history, but not for the right reasons.

It started off on a difficult note in the first round, as the team shocked fans by selecting defenseman David Reinbacher, against the general consensus, instead of potential generational talent Matvei Michkov.

This selection continued to draw highly negative reactions the following day when the Canadiens entered rounds two to seven of the draft.

It's difficult to understand the organization's game plan during the multiple rounds, but very few people appreciated the Canadiens' work on the second day.


The team drafted not one, not two, but three goaltenders during this draft. While there was a glaring need to add depth at that position in the prospect pool, using three selections for that purpose raised eyebrows.

Furthermore, despite those who are happy to see Arber Xhekaj's brother Florian joining the Canadiens, his selection in the fourth round is far from following the philosophy of choosing the best available player.

It must be noted that this is a highly surprising selection, especially so early in the draft. The young man is already 19 years old and in his second year of draft eligibility. He has only accumulated 13 goals and 25 points in 68 games in the OHL. Needless to say, that's very little offensive production.

Regarding the Canadiens' draft selections, The Athletic's draft expert, Scott Wheeler, categorized the team as "losers" for this year, indicating that he believes the organization will regret choosing the players they did.

Here are the reasons behind his negative evaluation of the club:

"David Reinbacher will be a very good defenseman among the top four, and they will be satisfied with the outcome there, even though I think they should have taken Michkov.

The Canadiens' selections of Florian Xhekaj (yes, Arber's brother), Russian defenseman Bogdan Konyushkov, an overage player standing at 5 feet 11, Sioux Falls' overage player Sam Harris, and Swedish player Filip Eriksson, who was not ranked by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau and didn't play much this year, are all reaches. I'm familiar with the first three players, and I'm confident they could have gotten Xhekaj later on."

- Scott Wheeler

It seems that the widespread impression of a disappointing draft for the Canadiens among fans is ultimately justified. The 2023 haul is unlikely to be remembered as one of the franchise's most positively impactful.

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The Montreal Canadiens have officially been labeled as losers

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