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Idea for the Habs: Use Matvei Michkov to go after Yaroslav Askarov
These days, people are buzzing about Carter Hart. The young goalie is available in Philadelphia, and many people want to see him come to town to share the net with Samuel Montembeault.

As for the future, I see another goalie in my soup: Yaroslav Askarov. I’m like Marc Bergevin in 2020 on this one.

Montembeault and Askarov could form a duo that would give the Habs confidence going forward. But as we all know, getting Askarov out of Nashville could be mission impossible.

After all, the club is thinking of doing what the Lightning did back in the day, trading their established goaltender (Ben Bishop or Jusse Saros) to make room for the young Russian goaltender (Yaroslav Askarov or Andrei Vasilevskiy) of the future.

So it would take a (very) big move to get the Nashville goalie out – or out of Milwaukee, where he played in 2022-2023. And on that, I have an idea.

What if the Montreal Canadiens managed to concoct a deal involving the fifth overall pick for the Predators’ first choice (15th overall) and the young goaltender?

Note that this is an embryonic idea. That doesn’t mean I’m proposing it as is, since Kent Hughes could certainly ask for something more.

It could go like this:

  • Nashville: fifth overall pick
  • Montreal: Yaroslav Askarov, 15th overall and one other pick

Let’s also note that another condition would have to be met for this to happen: it has to happen on the draft floor between fourth and fifth AND the first four picks, in order or out of order, have to be Bedard, Fantilli, Carlsson and Smith.

Basically, the CH must be in the “do I take Michkov or not” dilemma on the floor. If another honorary top-4 forward is available, it’s not the same thing at all.

The reason I’m thinking about this is that if the first four guys go out and the CH is afraid of the Russian factor of Mishkov, they’ll have to find a way to maximize pick #5. That really doesn’t seem to be through the Russian.

Because yes, the Russian factor exists for guys who don’t play here. War is scary for Russian players. What if they were to enlist?

I’m obviously talking about the Preds for Askarov. Instead of drafting a lesser forward or going for a David Reinbacher-like defenseman, is getting an incredible goalie worth it?

For an organization that thinks outside the box, I think it’s a smart move. Again, it’s all about seeing what would help maximize the value of the draft pick. And if it’s not that idea, that’s okay too…

I’m also talking about the Preds, because I believe that if a club like Nashville wants Michkov, they can aim for the Habs. Why? Because I really have in mind that the Coyotes, who draft sixth and sweet sixth, could take the Russian at #6.

Other top-10 clubs will also consider him.

And Nashville (which will host the 2023 auction) openly wants “players who will make fans jump out of their seats”, as next GM Barry Trotz put it. Clearly, Michkov falls into that category, doesn’t he?

That’s where I’m starting from, to provoke discussion and consider other options.

I don’t have the answer to whether it would be worth it for the CH: I’m just jabbering out loud with you. Would the best way to maximize picks be to dip into a big pool of forwards at the draft? Possibly, yes.

But not considering an option wouldn’t be wise either. A GM’s job is to look at 150 options and realize that 90% of them don’t help the club at the end of the day.

I also think it all depends on whether Pierre-Luc Dubois arrives in Montreal.

If the Habs feel their chances are great (or if they’ve already done so), the need to draft a center is less great. It wouldn’t be non-existent, since talent is talent… but it wouldn’t be as great.

If the Habs were to go ahead with such a deal with Nashville, it would improve their club in the short term since Askarov would make the CH better in 2023-2024, but also in the long term. The club would have a goalie of the future on its hands.

That said, trading the #5 pick is a big risk and I don’t know if the club really wants to back out that far. And if it doesn’t work out, the club would certainly have rocks thrown at it.

If the CH were to move forward, it would mean having pick #15 and pick #31 or #32. That would still get their hands on some nice offensive prospects.

And who says those two picks can’t be used to move up into the top-10 later on?

In bursts

– I love it.

– Nice result.

– It’s got to get better.

– Still.

– Really?

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