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Juraj Slafkovsky: worst first overall pick in the last ten years (according to Athletic)
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Drafting again a few years later is a hobby some people never get tired of. If we had it to do over again, Lane Hutson would probably be drafted in the top 15 and not at the end of the second round in 2022…

If it were to happen again, the Canadiens would never have selected Louis Leblanc in the first round…

You get the idea.

TheAthletic’ s Corey Pronman took it a step further, surveying six NHL scouts and team executives to rank the nine most recent first-round picks in order, plus Macklin Celebrini, who will surely be selected at the very top next June (in the Vegas sphere). You can read the results of his excellent work here :

So Pronman chatted to six people who know this stuff, young hockey players, and submitted those nine names, plus Macklin Celebrini’s.


The top 10 from the six scouts and members of management? Here they are:

1. Connor McDavid
2. Connor Bedard
3. Auston Matthews
4. Jack Hughes
5. Macklin Celebrini
6. Rasmus Dahlin
7. Owen Power
8. Nico Hischier
9. Alexis Lafrenière
10. Juraj Slafkovsky

Does this look like yours?

What do I take away from this list?

First, Connor McDavid in the front row, that must have been unanimous. He’s a no-brainer.

Second, Connor Bedard was the second choice of four of the six people surveyed. Auston Matthews was second the other two times.

Third, Jack Hughes topped Macklin Celebrini at the last second. Since Hughes has just collected 74 points in 62 games (and had 99 in 2022-23), there’s reason to believe that Celebrini will be quite a player in the NHL. Let’s pray the Habs win the lottery next month…

Celebrini has just won the Hobey-Baker Trophy at just 17 years of age (64 points in 38 games). But some still doubt his real offensive potential…

Fourth, Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power, two Sabres defensemen, rank sixth and seventh respectively on Pronman’s list. Conclusion: don’t draft a defenseman with the first overall pick. The vast majority of the time, there’s always at least one more talented forward available.

Maybe in a few years’ time, we’ll also say that we shouldn’t have drafted a defenseman with the fifth overall pick last year (David Reinbacher). We’ll see!

There are always good defensemen further down the draft…

Fifth, Alexis Lafrenière would probably have been 10th if he hadn’t had a good 2023-24 season.

Scouts aren’t overly excited when they talk about the Quebecer. Will that change? Remember that many no longer saw Lafrenière as a first overall pick on the night of the NHL amateur draft…

Sixth, Juraj Slafkovsky is dead last in this top 10 (which is still meant to be a high-quality top 10 ). Only two people didn’t rank Slafkovsky 10th out of 10. Even with his superb end to the season…

We’re repeating ourselves, but the Canadian didn’t win the lottery the right year. A year later, he would have gotten his hands on Connor Bedard!

I’d be curious to redo this top 10 in four or five years. Deal, Corey?

In bursts

– Only Georges would call François Gagnon, big. #LOL

Soccer: the Canadian championship kicks off today.

– Montreal CF must be better at the end of the game.

– Olivier Giroud in Montreal Los Angeles: it’s official.

MLS: Today is the last day to make transfers before August.

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