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5th pick: if Matvei Michkov scares the CH too much, there are other options
Tonight, the dream of Connor Bedard landing in Montreal (almost certainly) died for good, as the Chicago Blackhawks finally won the lottery.

As for the Habs, they finally inherited the fifth pick.

That said, even if Bedard won’t become a member of the Tricolore (barring a more than titanic surprise), the fact remains that the CH will have the opportunity to add another high-quality prospect to its bank of young players.

For the sake of the exercise, let’s assume that Adam Fantilli, who is almost unanimously perceived as the second choice in the making, will be no more available when Kent Hughes announces the CH’s choice. For the rest, the door is open.

Behind the leading duo, there are three guys who seem to belong together: Leo Carlsson, Will Smith and Matvei Michkov. If the CH remains in fifth place, it will certainly have the chance to draft one of these three.

However, they may be forced to draft elsewhere for one simple reason: Michkov’s situation. The Habs don’t seem particularly interested in drafting him, and even though he’ll do his homework, the Tricolore GM admits that the Russian’s situation is “scary”.

The fact that Nick Bobrov, an important voice in the process, is also Russian and has an affinity with Michkov’s team could lead the CH to consider the idea. However, the club has been skittish about players from Russia since the start of the war (it didn’t draft any last year) and there is reason to doubt that Michkov is a serious option.

Even if he is possibly the second-best prospect available (after Bedard).

So, if Smith and Carlsson are released before the Tricolore’s pick, it’s not impossible that Hughes and his colleagues will turn their noses up at Michkov (who has three years left on his contract in Russia, remember) and look elsewhere.

There are a few possibilities.

In his post-lottery mock draft, Steven Ellis sees the CH drafting Ryan Leonard fifth overall. We’re talking about a fairly complete player with a flair for scoring goals (51 goals in 57 games in the American development program this year).

Otherwise, other names come up frequently: Dalibor Dvorsky could complete a Slovak trio with Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar, Zach Benson is an offensive bomb with the potential to score a ton, Oliver Moore is a great skater with good playmaking potential and David Reinbacher is the best defenseman available in the draft.

I could also have mentioned Colby Barlow, Gabe Perreault (Yanic’s son) and Eduard Sale, but I doubt they’ll be considered at No. 5.

And if not, the Tricolore could simply trade his pick. I highly doubt it, but Kent Hughes isn’t closing the door.

In short, one thing’s for sure: the CH will have options with its fifth pick. I seriously doubt they’ll get their hands on one of the top-5 prospects, but they’ll have a nice lineup of young players to choose from nonetheless.

If I had to go out on a limb today, I’d say Dvorsky is the front-runner, but there’s plenty of time for that to change between now and June 28.

In bursts

– Now that would be an ideal scenario.

– Completely absurd. Completely.

– Bruno Gervais has doubts about Connor Bedard. [98.5 Sports]

– It’s a bit of a game-changer, let’s say.

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