Headline: Kent Hughes Reveals Draft Strategy for 2024

Carl Vaillancourt
April 14, 2024  (1:06 PM)

Kent Hughes
Photo credit: NHL

Franchise and honesty are two qualities abundantly present in the speech of Montreal Canadiens' General Manager Kent Hughes. The man who succeeded Marc Bergevin is determined not to repeat the same mistakes as his predecessor. Without mincing words, the Canadiens' hockey chief unveiled one of his cards ahead of the upcoming draft.

In a recent interview, Hughes deliberately dropped an extremely interesting statement about a potential trade he could make at the draft next June.
If the Canadiens find themselves on the podium for their first pick and the best available player on their list is a left-handed defenseman, Kent Hughes intends to trade the pick to move up or down or acquire a talented young prospect.
Between the lines, Kent Hughes openly confirmed that he will not draft a left-handed defenseman with his first-round pick.
In a way, this means that the following defensemen are excluded from the Canadiens' list: the 6-foot-7 Russian giant Anton Silayev, Canadian defenseman Sam Dickinson, and American Zeev Buium are out of contention for the Canadiens' top pick.
During his appearance on Frank Seravalli's podcast, the Canadiens' GM made this statement:
"If there's a player who is clearly the best available at our position, we will take that player... Unless that player happens to be a left-handed defenseman. In that case, we will try to trade to move up or down."

Why such a declaration?
The Canadiens have a true nursery of quality left-sided defensemen with Kaiden Guhle, Lane Hutson, Arber Xhekaj, Jayden Struble, Mike Matheson, and Adam Engstrom. This means that the left side is well stocked for the years to come.
With a guaranteed top-10 pick, several excellent players could help the Canadiens in 3 or 4 years' time. While Macklin Celebrini is rumored to be the first name called on stage, many other players could be interesting for the Canadiens.
On the list of forwards, Ivan Demidov, Cayden Lindstrom, Barkley Catton, Konsta Helenius, Tij Iginla, and Cole Eiserman are all vying for a spot in the top 10.
Right-handed defensemen are also plentiful with Artyom Levshunov, Carter Yakemchuk, and Zayne Parekh all being enticing targets for a team looking to build from the back.
However, we'll have to wait to find out the Canadiens' draft position at the upcoming amateur draft. The lottery will take place at the beginning of May. Will the Canadiens be able to improve their fate, move up, or even move back? We'll have to trust the lottery balls.
For those who wish to see Kent Hughes' complete interview, click here:
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Headline: Kent Hughes Reveals Draft Strategy for 2024

If you are the Habs GM, who's your pick?

Ivan Demidov8124.8 %
Artyom Levshunov92.8 %
Cayden Lindstrom21766.6 %
Barkley Catton195.8 %
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