Alexis Belanger Champagne, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens won the first-choice draw for the NHL lottery on Tuesday, and general manager Kent Hughes expects to be able to pick a player who “will have an important role” in the team’s future.
With the 32 and final place in the NHL League this season, the Canadians had an 18.5% chance of winning the first-choice coin toss. However, his chances of getting the first right to speak in the replay is 25.5% because teams ranked from Tier 12 to Tier 16 cannot move up more than 10 places if they win a tie.
“When you wait for something you have no control over, it makes you more anxious than when you can influence the outcome,” Hughes said of his first NHL lottery. We are very excited (with the result).”
The New Jersey Devils also won the lottery to go from fifth to second. A team cannot win the lottery more than twice in five years.
The NHL Draft will take place on July 7 and 8 at the Bell Center. This is the first time since 1985 that the host team in the first playoff will have the right to speak. Then the Toronto Maple Leafs picked Wendell Clark.
“It’s an important time as a general manager to put your plan in place to get the team back into the playoffs,” Hughes said. It will also be special for Montreal and the Organization of Canadians to have the first choice by being the host.
Canadians haven’t been selected first overall in the NHL draft since 1980, when they chose Doug Wickenheiser. He has spoken in the third division twice recently, picking Alex Galchenyuk in 2012 and Gisbury Kotaniemi in 2018.
Wright, right choice?
There does not appear to be a strong consensus this season about the best available prospect and some observers have claimed that the 2022 crop lacks elite talent and depth. However, Hughes said he expects to pick a high-level impact player.
“I think he’s a talented antique,” the former players’ agent appointed general manager of Al-Kindi said last January. It is always difficult to compare different types of coffee.
“We are excited to have the first choice. This is an opportunity to craft a player who will have an important role in the Canadian’s future.
Striker Shane Wright, of Kingston Frontenac, remains the favorite to be picked first, even if he appears less unanimous among observers.
Wright has sometimes been compared to Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, a former Hughes customer.
“If we are lucky enough to recruit a player who will have the same impact on the Canadians as Patrice on the Bruins, we would be very happy,” Hughes said. I don’t know Shane as an individual. I can’t wait to meet him at the physical assessments in Buffalo. I’ve seen him play over the years and he’s someone who has a full game, not only interested in attacking, but also in his defensive role. He also appears to be a team man.”
Some observers now favor American Logan Cooley over Wright, or even Slovakian Juraj Slavkowski, the athlete par excellence at the Beijing Olympics last February.
Defensively, Slovakian Simon Nemec and Czech David Jerichek present the most interesting possibilities.
In short, Hughes, Vice President of Hockey Operations Jeff Gorton, Director of Amateur Recruiting Martin Lapointe, Co-Director of Amateur Recruitment Nick Bobroff and the entire team of Canadians still have a lot of work to do here. the draft.
Hughes and Gorton will travel to the World Hockey Championship, which kicks off Friday in Helsinki, Finland, to continue their work. Slavkovsky, Nemek and Jerichek will significantly represent their countries.
“There’s still some evaluation to be done, whether it’s in person or watching it on video,” Hughes said. We’ll also sit down and talk to our recruits. We don’t need answers today. We will allow them to do their work and participate in discussions.
“Maybe we will come to a choice that is unanimous, but maybe not. We have two months to choose.”
To continue on July 7 in front of Al Kindi supporters, who will have plenty of time to think about the possible identity of their next champion.