Hypothetical Draft – Canadiens

By Bob Trask – The Canadiens are flush with draft picks this year and there are several ways in which they could take advantage of that situation. This represents one of those potential approaches and in this hypothetical situation, I have Kent Hughes trading the first round pick he acquired from Florida in the Ben Chiarot trade and adding a second round pick through a draft day trade.

While it is unlikely to happen this way, it illustrates the kinds of choices that could be made at the draft table. With each player, the highest ranking and the lowest ranking that I was able to find for each has been listed.

Round One – Pick 5

Not much more can be said about Will Smith that hasn’t already been written by someone. I’ll leave it at that.

Will SmithMay 17/056’0172CR510

Round One – Pick 31 or 32

This pick is relinquished in a hypothetical draft day trade

Round Two – Pick 37

The Canadiens are almost certainly going to choose a goaltender early in the draft. It seems to be a strong draft in that regard and Michael Hrabal is one of the leading candidates.

Michael HrabalJan 20/056’6209GL2875

Round Two – Pick 50 to 60

This pick is acquired in a hypothetical draft day trade. Juraj Pekarcik is one of the youngest players in the draft and like many European players, he suited up for 6 different teams this year. He had a strong 16 game stint in the Slovakia U20 league and a very strong U18 international tournament.

Juraj PekarcikSep 12/056’2183LW/CL40102

Round Three – Pick 69

Like Peckarcik, Rasmus Kumpulainen is one of the younger players in the draft. He is a big body LW and had a solid season both in the Finnish U20 league and in U18 international play.

Rasmus KumpulainenAug 8/056’2196LWL5597

Round Four – Pick 101

Yegor Sidorov was passed over in last year’s draft, the winger from Belarus put up solid offensive numbers with the Saskatoon Blades this year, scoring 40 goals in only 53 regular season games and having a solid playoff run with 19 points in 16 games.

Yegor SidorovJun 18/046’0176LW/RWL115122

Round 4 – Pick 110

Jake Fisher played most of the season at the high school level and also had a short 12 game stint in the USHL. Fisher dominated at the high school level, amassing 34 goals and 63 points in 29 games for Cretin-Durham Hall. He has committed to Denver in the NCAA next season, a college that always seems to have strong teams and turns out good players.

Jake FisherMar 27/056’2187C/LWL77130

Round 4 – Pick 127

Anthony Romani is the first Canadian player in this list. Despite being one of the younger players in the draft, Romani has completed two full seasons in the OHL, putting up 43 points in 66 games for the North Bay Battalion this year.

Anthony RomaniJul 12/056’0179C/RWR147159

Round 5 – Pick 133

Nikita Ishimnikov is the first Russian player in this list. He is a big body RD who played primarily in the Russian Junior League (MHL) last year amassing 13 goals in 48 games.

Nikita IshimnikovApr 21/056’3196DR148148

Round 5 – Pick 145

Kaden Hammell would represent another addition to the Canadiens’ stable of RD prospects. He played 67 games in the WHL last year, splitting time between Kamloops and Everett. Between the two teams he managed to put up 26 points while taking 35 minutes in penalties.

Kaden HammellMar 12/056’2181DR143143

Round 6 – Pick 165

Late round picks can be used to take a flyer on a overlooked prospect. The Canadiens did it in 2021 with Xavier Simoneau, they could do it again with Kai Uchacz who was passed over in his first two years of draft eligibility. The Red Deer Rebel right winger had a breakout season after playing sporadically because of Covid shut-downs. He had 50 goals in 68 regular season games and followed that up with another 9 goals in 12 playoff games.

Kai UchaczJun 24/036’1192CR91172

Round 7 – Pick 197

As with Kai Uchacz in the 6th round, the 7th round pick can be used to choose someone flying under the radar. In this case, it is Martin Matejicek. The big defenseman had a solid season in the Czech U20 league and played a short stint in the Czech Division 2 league. He also represented is country internationally in the U18 age group. Matejicek is one of the younger players in the draft.

Martin MatejicekAug 5/056’2205DL215215


The ages of the players here range from those who are barely old enough to qualify for the 2023 draft to a couple who have already been overlooked in previous drafts. Because some of the youngest players chosen are not from the CHL, the Canadiens would have a long window to monitor their development without making a commitment.

There is no focus on one position among the choices other than the Canadiens will almost certainly select a goaltender at some point. In this list, the choice is made with a second round pick.

While it is unlikely that the Canadiens will select any of these players, this hypothetical list is designed to give you a flavor of how a draft can unfold. Most of us focus on the first two rounds of the draft but gems can sometimes be found in the later rounds. It will be interesting to see how the draft develops for the Canadiens and what kinds of choices Kent Hughes will make.

Entry Draft – Team Rankings

By Bob Trask – As the end of the NHL playoffs inch closer, more and more fans will be turning their attention to the NHL entry draft and wondering what the prospects for their favorite team will be. Montreal Canadiens fans focus on the #5 overall pick and the fact that Kent Hughes currently holds eleven picks in the upcoming draft. But how does that stack up with the rest of the league?

I did a little exercise that awarded points to each team based on the following. While it is an arbitrary assignment of values, it does provide food for thought.

  • First round picks – 6 points
  • Second round picks – 4 points
  • Third round picks – 3 points
  • Fourth and fifth round picks – 2 points
  • Sixth and Seventh round picks – 1 point
  • First overall pick – 9 bonus points
  • Second to fifth overall pick – 6 bonus points
  • Sixth to tenth overall pick – 3 bonus points

I’ve presented this will little comment but this draft holds the potential to shift the balance of power in the NHL down the road.

The Top Ten

Chicago Blackhawks47
Nashville Predators40
Arizona Coyotes39
San Jose Sharks37
Montreal Canadiens37
Detroit Red Wings36
Anaheim Ducks35
Columbus Blue Jackets35
St Louis Blues33
Seattle Kraken28

The surprise here might be the Nashville Predators who quietly acquired a multitude of early round picks.

The Middle Twelve

Philadelphia Flyers24
Buffalo Sabers23
Carolina Hurricanes21
Vancouver Canucks19
Minnesota Wild18
Washington Capitals18
Calgary Flames14
Vegas Golden Knights14
Winnipeg Jets14
Pittsburgh Penguins14
Los Angeles Kings12
New York Rangers12

Bottom Ten

Colorado Avalanche10
Dallas Stars10
New Jersey Devils10
New York Islanders10
Florida Panthers10
Toronto Maple Leafs9
Edmonton Oilers8
Boston Bruins8
Ottawa Senators7
Tampa Bay Lightning3


This table exposes some glaring differences among the current draft capital of varying teams. Having said that, trades can substantially alter the landscape but some teams are going to struggle to add talent on draft day.

Given the perceived depth of this draft and the uncertainty surrounding Russian players there are bound to be a few surprises. Some teams will perform better at the draft than what shows in this ranking and some will fall short.

Keep on eye on the post draft commentary by the experts to find out who they rank as the winners and losers in the 2023 NHL entry draft!