It was time for the luck of the draw on Saturday, and the Montreal Canadiens did not luck out at the National Hockey League draft lottery on Saturday night. While Habs fans were delighted to see their club in the group of three teams to possibly land the first overall pick as they patiently awaited for the second intermission of the Game 2 between the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks. The Canadiens will pick third overall behind the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes at the NHL Draft on June 22 in Dallas.
The Canadiens had a 9.5-per-cent chance of getting the No. 1 pick heading into the lottery, while the Sabres — who finished last in the regular season — had the best odds at 18.5 per cent and the Hurricanes only had a three-per-cent chance after finishing 21st.
So, alright, they did not luck out. However, it seems now they could have a crazy new plan in mind ahead of the NHL Draft. Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette believes general manager Marc Bergevin and the Habs should trade the third-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft in a package deal might be the best way for the Montreal Canadiens to bring in much-needed depth at centre.
In the top three expected to be drafted in that order on June 22, there are no centre that would come a fill a massive void in Montreal. The top prospects expected to be available by the time the Habs step to the podium to make their selection are wingers such as the Halifax Mooseheads’ Filip Zadina or Boston University’s Brady Tkachuk.
Hickey is right in noting that the Habs have
had “underwhelming” results with their first-round selections in recent years, with only star goalie Carey Price, captain Max Pacioretty and defenseman P.K. Subban becoming players they could count on in Montreal...
"The roster includes only three bona fide NHL players who were drafted by the Canadiens in the first round — Carey Price, Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk. Three other first-rounders — Noah Juulsen, Nikita Scherbak and Michael McCarron — are still trying to prove themselves, with only Juulsen standing out so far."
While this report of looking to trade the third overall pick might scare the Montreal fan base, there seems to be a good twist in it after all. Hickey notes the difficulty in wooing New York Islanders center John Tavares via free agency, and how the Canadiens could have everything in place to pry him out. Hickey thinks trading is the best option for the Habs to land a scoring centre.
The Canadiens could be able to do so by trading Pacioretty and that precious third overall pick in return for a top centre.
"It’s almost certain Tavares will escape from the dysfunctional situation in New York and the word is that the Canadiens are prepared to open the vault for Tavares."
However, will that package be enough? Could Tavares agree to play for a club who has struggled to make the postseason in recent years via free agency or just the Habs make the gamble with another star centre...?