Montreal In a Pickle! The Wright Question

By JAG – Pundits will tell you that you build a team through the draft… and that you build a team through the middle! And that’s all you need to know!

Well, I have news for you. The latter is still true but there are holes in the former. In this salary cap era, GMs trade for picks to use as trading chips later, GMs roll over picks from year to year for pocket money during the next year and GMs use picks to pad Cap driven deals that wouldn’t get done otherwise. In short, draft picks are now moveable assets like prospects and players. If you still have them at the draft, great! If not, trade for some picks in the week before the draft and all is good. Remember, a good GM keeps his scouts occupied ….and happy!

Also, two things to remember about draft picks:

  • One, they are overly hyped to generate copy and the hypers hardly ever reverse their opinions once Group Thinking is established. This way they are covered right or wrong because they can always say that everybody else was fooled when they were.
  • Two, pick values fluctuate wildly. Draft years are uneven in quality and drafted prospects may or may not increase in value through their development years. On any given year, some of your picks will be duds and others will be heroes. Readily available analysis will tell you the odds of getting a serviceable NHLer for every round but it remains an inexact science.

For example, this year, there is no consensus on who is the top player but there is a consensus that the top five are sure bets. For future reference, a sure bet is a prospect that will play at least 100 games in the NHL. Also, none of them is a generational player and the rest of the class seems to be slightly above average. A good year but not a great one.

It makes it hard to make a big splash when you have the first pick… and you host the draft. Which leads me to think that Montreal is in a serious pickle! This draft is a hot potato!

Call it a Catch 22, lose-lose situation, damned if do/damned if you don’t… call it what you want, it’s a hot potato! The opinions are so polarized, so entrenched, I don’t see any way Montreal can choose a first pick that satisfies anybody, let alone everybody! Pickle indeed!

But every pickle has a solution, I see a way out.

First, I think that most would agree that the Habs really need another number one or number two center, preferably a big one that can put the puck in the net, and sooner than later! Remember, build through the middle.

Second, most would agree that the true purpose of the draft is to improve your team by acquiring future assets that will make you THE winner. In that context, I think that fans and draft experts alike are hyping the wrong question while trying to come up with a “Wright” answer!

Trade option

A true GM would first ask “do I pick or trade” way before he’d ask who do I pick!

Sometimes making the pick is the right choice while sometimes trading the pick is a better choice. So, please tell me when trading a first overall became excluded from good business acumen?
Notwithstanding the political pressures, a pick is a pick and value is value. I understand that it would be a serious paradigm shift for many pundits and strongly opinionated fans but think of this.

Recently, there have been rumours that Pierre Luc Dubois could be available. He fits the description of a top-2 center, young, big and talented… and he just turned 24 on June 24th. With a proven track record, he has played 100+ games and therefore is classified as “sure bet”!

Pierre-Luc Dubois

So, make the trade! Announce it at the draft, make a splash and get it over with! Jump start the rebuild! Make the team instantly better, maybe even playoff material this year. Make it more appealing for free agents. Make this draft a turning point in the Habs history!

Make the future now!

The Habs offer could look something like this. You may find the price high but think value, not price!

Winnipeg gets:

  • 1st overall
  • Rem Pitlick
  • Corey Schueneman
  • Jake Evans (or equal value)
  • 3rd and 4th rounds picks or equivalent.

The 3 players offered are young, promising, serviceable NHLers with either signed contract or RFA status. Winnipeg saves a ton of money and gets some extra picks to replenish a rather depleted pool of prospects …. and doesn’t have to negotiate with a player that has already announced his will to test the UFA market next year.

Hot potato avoided on their part!

Montreal gets:

  • Winnipeg 1st round pick(14th)
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois

He is a sure bet, local, young, big talented center with a proven record. Montreal fans are elated, hypers still get to be Wright and the plan is afoot!

Big splash made! Draft expectations fulfilled! Mission accomplished! Hot potato avoided!

Aaand voila! Pickle gone! And they still have Calgary’s 1st round pick and their own 33rd.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. As a side note, I have a message for Mr. Hughes: This here geezer is 67 years old. If you don’t get this team agoing soon, I might get adying before you win another Cup. So please, get amoving will you!

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7 thoughts on “Montreal In a Pickle! The Wright Question

  1. As a fan of picking Wright but I like Slafkovsky too. This trade idea provides us with the best of both worlds. With our second line center plua a power forward. Not sure we would have to give up extra picks but would agree if ithe trade was allowed to go through.

    1. Yes Bev. If they address the center line through trade and select Slafkovsky, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s a fact that they do need another offensive center. Dubois, for me, is my prime target.

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