June 30, 2022

Canadiens remain undecided on what to do with No. 1 pick: report

Will it be Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs or Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS? 

Perhaps an outside shot at Logan Cooley of the US National Team Development Program? 

The Montreal Canadiens are undecided which prospect they’ll select with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. 

“What I was told on this day is that the Habs’ braintrust remains undecided in terms of being 100 percent on the No. 1 pick, which is not shocking,” LeBrun said Thursday on Insider Trading. “[General manager] Kent Hughes has said that they would use all the time they had leading up to next Thursday’s first round to settle on that No. 1 pick, but what it could do in the meantime is perhaps add some intrigue in the hours leading up to next Thursday’s first round in that everyone knows the New Jersey Devils are picking at No. 2.”

The Canadiens won the NHL Draft Lottery in May and the right to the first pick in the 2022 draft, which begins next Thursday at Bell Centre in Montreal. 

Wright has been the consensus No. 1 pick all season, and topped FCHockey’s Final ranking for the 2022 draft, a 300-prospect deep list released earlier this week. Slafkovsky, who was the most valuable player of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, ranked third. Cooley slotted between the two. 

It was Slafkovsky, however, who topped Bob McKenzie’s survey for the 2022 draft, garnering five of 10 first-place votes among the scouts polled. Wright topped four lists, with Cooley ranked No. 1 on the other. 

“There are some who believe that Montreal is waiting to see if the Devils make a move closer to the first round in terms of picking up the phone and asking Montreal what it would take to flip the No.1 and No. 2 picks so that the Devils can make sure they can get their hands on winger Juraj Slafkovsky,” LeBrun said.

“But the Devils are telling people ‘if a center is the best player available in our eyes, we have no problem with taking another center,’ even though the Devils have Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. 

“Something to keep an eye on because I think the Habs would be willing to entertain that conversation.”

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