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Yaroslav Askarov is currently on the market.

There are only a few hours left before the draft begins. That said, even though there’s been quite a bit of action in the NHL since yesterday morning, that doesn’t mean that tonight’s auction will necessarily mean that it’ll be quiet on the floor tonight.

Yes, I’m expecting a few transactions in the first round.

And among the clubs that really seem to be on the move is the home team: the Nashville Predators. Barry Trotz, the team’s new GM, probably wants to emulate what Kent Hughes did last year and put on a good show for the team’s fans in attendance tonight.

We know the Preds are trying to move up in the draft right now, and presumably, they’re willing to pay the big price: Yaroslav Askarov is reportedly on the trade market right now (presumably to help the Predators move up in the draft order).

And in effect, it adds a ton of intrigue. We know the Predators currently have the 15th and 24th picks, but they really want to try and move up into the top-10. The two picks may not be enough, but if you add Askarov to the mix, it suddenly gets interesting.

Askarov is undoubtedly one of the NHL’s top prospects in front of the net. Barely 21, he’s just had a big first season in the AHL (26-16-5, 2.69 goals-against average, 0.911 save percentage). He was selected 11th overall in the 2020 draft.

Clearly, one wonders if Askarov is one of the many offers on the table for the CH in return for the fifth pick in the draft. Remember that at the start of the day, there were no less than five (and clearly, the number will increase between now and selection time).

Colleague Charles-Alexis Brisebois raised the idea a few weeks ago, but I confess I’m not sure a guy like Askarov makes up for a 10-round draft drop. If the 24th pick and another good prospect are part of the package, the offer becomes more interesting, but I wonder if the CH can really afford to move back that far.

It’ll be something to keep an eye on, but the Preds seem to be very aggressive at the moment. I can’t wait to see if the Habs take advantage of this opportunity to dance with them.

In a gust

– Good question.

– I like the idea.

– I love them.

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