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For Jeff Gorton, the bulk of a team’s talent must come from the draft.
Last year, the Habs caused quite a stir by releasing a behind-the-scenes video of their meetings in the run-up to the 2022 draft. It was an excellent portrait of what goes on within a team as it prepares for the amateur auction, and above all, it showed the decision-making process behind the selections.

Obviously, the video couldn’t reveal everything, but it gave a very good general idea.

And this year, the CH has resumed the tradition by releasing a new video in which we see a little of what went into preparing for the 2023 draft. This new video focuses mainly on the selections of David Reinbacher and Jacob Fowler, but once again there are some interesting points.

In particular, we learned a little more about Jeff Gorton’s philosophy on team building: during one of the meetings to discuss the fifth pick, Gorton explained that it’s important to go after talent in the draft, because in his eyes, that’s where the bulk of a team’s talent should come from.

He talks about this at around 6:40, for those interested :

Because clearly, Gorton doesn’t seem to hold the free-agent market in very high regard. He explains that the autonomy market forces clubs to pay top dollar for older guys, so it’s very difficult to go after real talent with autonomous players.

And when you consider that a market like Montreal’s can repel certain players as well, it doesn’t help the Tricolore’s cause.

So it forces the Habs to take their draft picks very seriously, because that’s the best way for the club to get its hands on talent without overpaying for aging players.

Nothing against Alex Killorn, but at $6.25 million over four years at the age of 33, he’s no bargain. When you draft and develop your own players, that’s often when you get your hands on bargains.

At the same time, if the Habs really wanted to go after talent, Matvei Michkov was available at No. 5 and we know that guys like him are (almost) never available across the NHL.

On the other hand, it’s clear that the club sees David Reinbacher as a top-quality prospect and that they like the way he fits into their culture. That’s worth something, too.

In short, what seems clear is that the philosophy of one of the organization’s most influential executives is to focus on the draft rather than the free-agent market. In the short term, it makes sense, but we’ll see if it’s still relevant when the CH is ready to compete.


Speaking of Reinbacher, the video shows that the organization really likes his potential on the ice. We’ve often talked about the fact that he’s defensively responsible, but clearly, there are members of the organization who see great offensive potential in the Austrian.

I don’t think he’ll be a Quinn Hughes, but if he can help out on the power play and support the attack, he’ll be very, very useful.

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