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Matvei Michkov: Capitals would be better off calling the Habs for pick #5

If all goes well, Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson and Will Smith will all emerge in the top-4 (in order or out of order) next Wednesday. And if so, that’s when the draft will begin.

Of course, there’s a world out there where that’s not the case. We know the Ducks and Sharks are intrigued by Matvei Michkov, which could force them to deviate from everyone else’s plan.

The Habs would obviously be happy: it would leave them with one of the best centerpieces of the crop on hand.

Because the more time passes, the more we get the feeling that Matvei Michkov won’t be the Flanelle’s choice. The Montreal club already has its reasons for avoiding him… and I, too, wonder how much the current situation in Russia might affect the CH’s decision.

Seriously, I know there’s a chance he’ll be drafted in the top-5, especially in San Jose, but I really have my doubts.

The more time goes by, the more I get the feeling it’s between three teams: the Coyotes (who have the sixth and sweet sixth picks), the Flyers (who have the seventh pick) and the Capitals (who have the eighth pick).

The Coyotes’ name doesn’t come up often, but the club can afford to take a chance on him. Arizona has so many options, that trying to hit the long ball may make sense, under the circumstances.

Flyers? They’re being mentioned more and more. Michkov fits in with the words of Daniel Brière, the team’s new GM, and the club might really have time to wait for him, given the long rebuilding process.

And of course, there are all the rumours that Alex Ovechkin and the other Russian members of the team will be working hard in the corners to ensure that the young jewel lands in the American capital.

I also believe that a club could try to move up in the top-8 to draft him. I’m not saying it’ll happen, but it’s possible.

But if there’s a world in which Michkov slips down the Capitals’ pecking order, there’s also a world in which the Flyers could be tempted to work with the Russian too. The #7 pick thus becomes a threat to Washington.

If the D.C. club really wants him, they may have to move up in the draft.

If Michkov is available after the Sharks’ pick, the Capitals might want to talk to Kent Hughes to see if he could move down three spots.

We know it’s not an impossible scenario. It’s not what I want (I want to see the CH draft as high as possible) in the first place, but it could definitely be considered.

Obviously, calling up the Coyotes (which is likely, in reality) would also allow us to pass the Flyers, but as I’ve said before, I see a world where Arizona muddies the waters in the Matvei Michkov file.

I’m not saying the Capitals absolutely have to make a move with the CH, but a call doesn’t hurt, does it?

Obviously, at this point, the CH would have to assess whether it’s worth moving. After all, if there’s one reason why I don’t want to see the Habs drop in the draft, it’s the fact that the club needs to draft a big prospect.

Next year, the Habs don’t aspire to draft that low. Making the most of the 2023 pick is therefore important.

That being said, if the Capitals draft Michkov (who, in such a scenario, isn’t a Montreal target), that means there would be two selections left before the Habs.

If Hughes feels that the return offered by the Capitals is worthwhile and that his man (or one of his men) can be made available to him at pick #8, then moving could happen.

What we do know is that Ryan Leonard is increasingly in demand in the NHL(playoff recency bias is real) and that David Reinbacher is also on the Habs’ radar. The Coyotes are said to like him, too.

If the CH likes its chances of getting one of the two (assuming it’s still these two guys who are Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton’s favorites after the top-5), maybe moving with the Capitals makes sense.

If Hughes wants to be in an even better position, he could convince the Flyers that Washington wants to do whatever it takes to get their pick, create an overbid to ultimately trade the pick to the Flyers… and ensure they can draft either Reinbacher or Leonard.

But that’s a scenario that, last time I checked, only exists in my head.

Breaking news

– Speak of the devil.

– Pat Hickey is back. [TSN 690]

– Things are bad in Pittsburgh.

– Capitals (a minority of the club, at least) for sale?[NBC Sports]

– Logical.

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