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Top-10 draft 2024 (mid-season) | Part 2: positions 6 to 10
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
We left off last week with a top-five list that included, in order, forwards Celebrini, Demidov, Lindstrom, and right-handed offensive defensemen Levshunov and Parekh.

Are these the same five players Martin Lapointe identified as “elite” caliber recently on

That’s a mystery.

But, clearly, all of them would be players of interest to the Tricolore if they were available when they took the stage, even the two defensemen. The talent is there.

However, given that the Habs could still technically draft any player in the top-10, Game 2 may be of more interest locally. Realistically speaking, in terms of probabilities, it’s in this second half of the top-10 that Montreal currently has the best chance (87.6%) of making a name for itself.

Will there be any really promising players left in ranks 6 to 10?

No doubt about it!

But remember that this is a “mid-season” ranking, and nothing is definitive at the moment.

6- Michael Brandsegg-Nygard

I’m rather surprised not to find Brandsegg-Nygard more often in the top-10 of other lists (or very rarely). For my part, at mid-season, I can’t think of a better choice than the Norwegian at this level.

After impressing at the last WJC, in a probabilistic scenario where the Canadian would draft between 6th and 10th, I reiterate that I would have no trouble endorsing “MNB”‘s selection.

So, at the end of the tournament, with a lousy club that showed a collective differential of -19, “good Michael” finished the competition with 5 points in 5 games and a positive differential of +1!

You read that correctly.

Arguably one of the most powerful skaters and one of the most complete and mature players in the entire draft, the strapping MBN plays pro hockey in Sweden’s “second division” (Allsvenskan) with Mora. In the opinion of many, this is one of the most difficult leagues in which toscout . “. The young Oslo native only plays an average of 14 minutes per game, a bit like a certain Slafkovsky in Finland not so long ago…

Remember the cries and concerns of some in 2022 about Slaf‘s stats in Liiga. Better to laugh about it today

Unsurprisingly, then, some are worried about MBN’s production in Mora and doubt his attacking potential. But I don’t think we should put much stock in his stats (14 points in 34 games) since, like Slaf , he possesses too many obvious qualities and skills: hockey IQ, skating, physical strength and above-average shooting. Without disrupting the opposing team at every turn, MBN also has good hands and a few good moves in his arsenal.

An intense player, often with the pedal to the metal, he also excels defensively, scares up front and wins his battles along the ramps. Let’s just say he has no striking flaws. A complete power winger like few others. In Canadian junior, MBN would simply be a weapon of mass destruction.

But what’s certain is that MBN was absolutely smoking at the last WJC, where he was in every situation, always “in your face”. And he produced in droves against players his own age.

When he was on the ice five-on-five, even the mighty Americans couldn’t dictate the pace against Norway; the ice “tilted to one side”, literally. He also prevailed against another 2024 powerhouse, the Slovaks, in a game in which he scored two anthology goals – his wrist shot is stunning – and added an assist. Those two games against the USA and Slovakia nearly knocked me off my feet!

The 6’1, 198 lbs right-hander, 19 in October, already looks like a very solid winger who could be playing in the NHL as early as next fall… or at least very soon. A sort of Filip Forsberg, only tougher and less fancy? Perhaps. In any case, their stats are almost identical at the same age in the same league

We could also see him as a kind of right-handed “mini-Slafkovsky”…

In short, MBN ticks all the boxes for the Flanelle, both in terms of “talent/attitude/character” and “needs.” We could see him on a ” quality 2nd trio “.

7- Zeev Buium
Here’s another one who could muddy the waters in this top-10. We’ll be keeping an eye on young American left-handed defenseman Buium, who surprised with his 3 goals, 5 points (+11) at the last WJC and simply dominated with the University of Denver (34 points in 26 games, +12).

Wearing #28, he almost looked like Lane Hutson (#20) on the ice at times during the holiday season. To the eye, they were also about the same size and style. Even though Buium is slightly bigger and stronger than the Habs prospect, I had to pay attention several times to avoid confusing them.

Although he still needs to improve defensively, he’s the prototype of the modern defenseman we love: great offensive flair, superb skater, excellent puck control, good shot.

It was the Californian who dealt Sweden the coup de grace at the start of the3rd period of the final game with a shot from the blue line following a face-off.

Traditionally, the U.S. doesn’t play a lot of 18-year-old defensemen at this completion, but as they did with Lane Hutson last year, they like to groom at least one to become their mainstay the following year.

You can already bet that Buium will be boss the U.S. at the blue line in 2025.

8- Sam Dickinson
Physically and athletically, Dickinson has it all. 6’3, 200 lbs, at 17… One of the most fluid and elegant skaters in the entire draft, and one of the best of the last 10-15 years. In the style of Noah Hanifin at the same age.

It’s absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to go far wrong with Dickinson, the very definition of a sure thing. Here’s a guaranteed top-10 pick who, according to many, shouldn’t stray too far from the top-5… he’d probably be thesafest we could make at this rank.

But in terms of raw talent, level of competition and feel for the game, he seems to me to be behind Parekh, Levhshunov and Buium.

Dickinson isn’t the player I’d be most excited about if I were a Canadiens scout, given the depth on the left side of the defence and the number of defenders sharing a style “somewhat similar” to his.

But if we were ever to turn to him as the “best player available”, his arrival would open up even more trade scenarios for Kent Hughes, scenarios that might just be better realized at draft time…

So, as James Bond or Justin Bieber would say, never say never.

9- Tij Iginla
Speaking of value, it would be hard to beat selecting “Jarome’s son” towards the end of the top-10. If you can imagine it, Tij is his father crossed with Brad Marchand!

Intelligence. Fiery. Efficiency.

Nothing is done for nothing on the ice with this type of player. Everything is calculated to get the opposing defense in trouble, even if we’d like him to be a little better at making plays and passing the puck. In my opinion, his hockey IQ is just a little lower than Brandsegg-Nygard’s, and he’s also slightly inferior to him in terms of strength and physical attributes. Nevertheless, Iginla remains very energetic, agile on skates, powerful for his size, and his shot is excellent.

If the Habs were to choose him, they would have found their next “Gallagher” (only more talented) for the next 10-12 years, and would correct Terry Ryan’s historic mistake, when he was selected 8th overall in 1995 instead of his father Jarome…

10- Anton Silayev
Unicorn” is the word you’re most likely to hear about giant-sized Russian defenseman Anton Silayev (6’7) over the next few months. As the only prospect from the 2024 crop to have played such an important role in such a high-caliber game, all at the age of 17, he shouldn’t be underestimated. Silayev, team-mate of Habs prospect Bogdan Konyushkov at Nizhny Novgorod under coach Igor Larionov, could be a optionas early as the2nd or3rd overall picks, according to scouts polled by Bob Mackenzie.

But he could also fall down the rankings for many, as is the case here. The games I’ve seen of him have all left me hungry for more.

After six points in his first six KHL games, he’s done almost nothing offensively since. It was the same in the MHL last year: 8 points in 41 games. Simply put, Silayev doesn’t produce because he has virtually no offensive attributes. So it all depends on what you’re looking for in the draft. But if you want a bit of talent capable of putting points on the board, you’ll look elsewhere.

As far as I’m concerned, forget the bloated comparisons with Pronger, Chara and Hedman right now. Silayev is a big defensive defenseman, not very mean, not very talented and not very imaginative. His delivery is very ordinary and, for the moment, although he’s a pretty good skater, his skate balance is a little “Bambi” at times.

That said, if you project a bit and want a big, tight back capable of closing down the center of the rink, he could be your man. I can’t think of any other career plans for him. And, I insist, you’ll have to be patient, as his peak may not be reached until well into his twenties…

But, in and of itself, having the potential to become one of the best defensive players of his generation is certainly worth its weight in gold to many teams, and for this reason it will be difficult to take Silayev out of the top-10.

Personally, even if no one in the organization has as much defensive potential as Silayev, I can’t imagine the Habs turning to the (very) tall Russian considering the depth at left-back. But, if he’s one of the five players Martin Lapointe has identified as being of “elite” calibre for the 2024 draft, a bit like Dickinson, nothing is impossible yet…


So, let’s sum up this top-10:

1. Macklin Celebrini
2. Ivan Demidov
3. Cayden Lindstrom
4. Artyom Levshunov
5. Zayne Parekh
6. Michael Brandsegg-Nygard
Zeev Buium
8. Sam Dickinson
9. Tij Iginla
10. Anton Silayev

What’s up? No Cole Eiserman and no Trevor Connelly in the top-10???

No Berkly Catton either?

And Helenius? And Yakemchuk? Where are they now?

To cut a long story short, they just didn’t make the cut!

We’ll come back to these five players in more detail next week, when we’ll try to justify why we excluded them from the top-10 despite their undoubted attributes.

For now, we’ll just say that anything is possible from fourth place upwards. Maybe even from the second rung, who knows…

But, whatever theexact order , I’m currently very comfortable with the individuals who make up this mid-season top-10: 5 forwards, 5 defenders.

They’re all players with qualities that set them apart, good skaters with a nice dose of maturity in their game, youngsters with a very high hockey IQ and a work ethic that never seems to be called into question, quite the opposite in fact.

Feel free to comment on FB to continue our discussions from last week!
See you soon!

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