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“If the CH doesn’t take Matvei Michkov, it’s the worst mistake of the last 20 years.”

For just under 24 hours, we’ve known where the Canadiens will be drafted in the next round. For those of you living under a rock, Montreal will draft fifth.

So it hasn’t gone backwards, but it hasn’t gone forwards either. The question now is not where will Kent Hughes draft, but who will he draft?

Leo Carlsson, Will Smith or Matvei Michkov? One of these will definitely be available when Hughes takes the stage. But will he dare go after Michkov? The question arises because, yes, he’s the second-best player in the draft and, yes, he’s the best Russian player since possibly Alexander Ovechkin.

But the political situation in Russia and the player’s contract in the KHL have many backing away from this deal, and with good reason. David Ettedgui, on the other hand, believes it would be the worst mistake of the last 20 years if Hughes doesn’t select him in the draft (if he’s still available, of course).

Me, I’m a big Michkov fan and I’d salute Hughes’ boldness if he uttered his name on June 28. As Ettedgui pointed out on BPM Sports, the Russian is capable of turning his teammates into elite players. That’s how talented he is.

If the situation were different and Mishkov didn’t have a KHL contract, for example, he would clearly have come second or even first, depending on the teams’ needs. He’s really the only one who can match Bedard for talent in this draft. Will Hughes use his advantageous position to draft the next Kirill Kaprizov?

Of all the NHL teams, the Canadiens are perhaps the most advantaged in this regard. Why? Because Nick Bobrov’s father is a consultant with SKA St. Petersburg. Mishkov played three games with him this season before being loaned out to other teams for the rest of the season. Could Bobrov Sr. provide key information to his son in preparation for the draft?

Very possibly.

But the fact that he’s changed teams may be a negative.

It could also be that the CH already has the necessary information and that management has already made a decision in this matter. Of course, on June 28, some teams could cause a surprise, but the top-5 seems to be set in stone.

David Ettedgui believes Bedard will go to Chicago, Adam Fantilli to Anaheim, Leo Carlsson to Columbus and Will Smith to San Jose. The Michkov dilemma isn’t just in Montreal, however. In San Jose, this issue is likely to be the talk of the town… And after all, it’s Mike Grier and his colleagues who will be doing the talking before the Habs.

In gusts

– Deserved.

Captain Canada.

– The team’s first-round pick against Pierre-Luc Dubois? Is good.

– Touching.

– Lions for sale?

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