The Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens are two of the most storied franchises in NHL history, but they have both fallen on hard times. Both failed to reach the postseason last year and there are few signs of a turn around next year. Both teams are looking to the June 22nd NHL Entry Draft. Both teams are in the top 10, with Detroit slotted at six and Montreal at three. This predicament, coupled with the slots these teams select with later on in the draft, will reportedly cause a clash between these teams.
Montreal has the third pick as I mentioned and it seems they could go a few different ways. Many believe wingers Filip Zadina or Brady Tkachuk could be the pick here for Montreal, but they are also interested in centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi would be a stretch, as he’s thought of as a mid first rounder at the moment, but Montreal has a desperate need for a franchise center. Detroit also has interest in the Finnish centre, and may also reach for him at six if somehow all Quinton Hughes, Noah Dobson, and Evan Bouchard are off the board. The Wings may also trade back to pick Kotkaniemi while acquiring more assets.
The clash would only begin there. Detroit owns a second first round pick this year. They acquired pick #30 from the Vegas Golden Knights at the trade deadline as part of the Tomas Tatar trade. Detroit then has the second pick of the second round. Then, Montreal and Detroit pick back to back at 35 and 36. This will create a competitive atmosphere as both teams jockey for position for the best prospects. With this in mind, how will all of this pan out?
I don’t believe either team will reach for Kotkaniemi. Detroit especially won’t, as they would still have a chance to take one of the top centres avaliable at 30. Montreal could take a defenseman, like Detroit. The Habs, however, seem to be thinking forward at three, and I believe the pick will be Zadina. He is an elite forward talent who could fortify Montreal’s offensive attack for years to come. Detroit will stay at six and select Hughes. who is a product of the nearby University of Michigan. He has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman in the NHL for years to come, and Detroit has lacked such a presence since Nick Lidstrom retired.
The Red Wings would take Jacob Olofsson at 30, unless they decide to move that pick. I don’t envision them doing so, barring an overpayment, so Olofsson would be the selection. He is one of the top centres in the draft and one of the best Swedes as well. Detroit has had a lot of success when drafting Swedish players. Detroit could turn around at 33 and select KAndre Miller, a defenseman out of the United States National Team Development program. Two other intriguing options would be Jared McIssac or Ryan Merkley, both defensemen. Merkley especially would be intriguing as he is perceived as having boom or bust potential.
Montreal would probably steal one of those defensemen just referenced that Detroit didn’t take. The clash would become less intense after this and the dust would begin to settle. This is just one scenario, however. There are many scenarios out there that I didn’t cover. What do you think will come of this clash? Let me know on Twitter @SickeningSum86.
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