Montreal Canadiens discuss potential picks ahead of NHL Entry Draft – Montreal

In just three days, the Habs become the top pick in the NHL Entry Draft for the first time since 1980, and hype surrounding their potential pick is mounting amid pressure to improve the team’s standing.

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On Monday, the organization held a press conference ahead of the draft, which will take place in Montreal on Thursday.

General managers Kent Hughes and Vincent Lacavalier have met with the media, but they are keeping their possible decisions under wraps for now.

What we do know is that they are looking very closely at three players: Juraj Slafkovsky, Logan Cooley and Shane Wright.

Wright, an Ontario native, plays in the OHL with the Kingston Frontenacs. He is a right-handed centerman who weighs 200 pounds and is 6ft 1in tall.

He is 18 years old.

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Lecavalier, a special adviser to the Habs, says he spoke to Wright on the phone.

“For the past three years, people have been talking about him being the number one prospect,” said Lecavalier, who was the 1998 No. 1 draft pick. “It was about understanding how he dealt with it.”

Last year, the Habs selected another Ontario native as their first-round pick: Logan Mailloux.

The move sparked a wave of controversy because Mailloux relinquished the draft and asked not to be selected.

He was suspended indefinitely from the game for sharing an intimate photo of a woman without her consent while he was playing professional hockey in Sweden in November 2020. He was reinstated at the end of last year.

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This year, Hughes says they’re taking the time to get to know the players they’re interested in in depth.

“As part of our evaluation, we don’t just evaluate hockey players, we evaluate character,” Hughes said. “We’re trying to assess their ability to deal with that kind of pressure consistently.”

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Hughes says it’s possible they could trade their first choice for “an offer they can’t refuse.”

What does this irrefutable offer look like? Hughes wouldn’t say.

Habs fans will have to wait three more days to find out. The NHL Draft takes place Thursday at the Bell Center.


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