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The Habs hesitated between Logan Mailloux and Matthew Knies in the 2021 draft
Credit: Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
As the seasons go by in the National Hockey League, we slowly see the various players drafted in recent years arrive in the League and develop to make an impact (or not) with their team.

Sometimes, players drafted further down the ladder are able to make their mark more quickly than players drafted higher up who had greater potential at the outset.

It all depends on the development of each of these players, and also on their age when they arrive in the big league.

In 2021, for example, one name that currently stands out as having been quite a steal is Wyatt Johnston, drafted by the Dallas Stars at #23ᵉ.

The 20-year-old center was not selected by any of the 22 teams that spoke before the Stars, but today he currently ranks first in scoring in this draft with 106 points (56 goals and 50 assists) in 164 games.

What’s more, Johnston is already a very important player in the Stars’ success, as he’s proving right now in the playoffs.

Another player who flew a little more under the radar at the time of the 2021 draft was a certain Matthew Knies, who had been drafted 57ᵉ overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Today, Knies is already a major contributor to the Leafs’ success, especially in the playoffs, as he demonstrated this year.

Knies had plummeted in the draft, when many saw him as a first-round pick.

Well, as Marc-Antoine Godin revealed on Friday’s episode of Tellement Hockey, available on Radio-Canada, Knies could very well have been drafted in the first round, given that the Montreal Canadiens had him in their sights.

In fact, according to Godin, the Habs really would have hesitated between Logan Mailloux and Matthew Knies for their 31ᵉ pick in 2021.

Had Mailloux been less available, the Tricolore’s choice would have been Knies.

The Habs, at the time still run by Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins, would thus have gotten their hands on a 6-foot-3, 217-pound power forward with potential as a good second-line winger.

This would have been a great addition for the Tricolore, who are still looking to add size to their attack with fast, talented, big-bodied forwards.

It’s not for nothing that Cayden Lindstrom and Tij Iginla are being talked about as logical options for the Habs in this year’s draft.

In short, Knies could very well have ended up with the Montreal Canadiens rather than the Toronto Maple Leafs, had it not been for Logan Mailloux’s availability.

Marc Bergevin and the rest of his team must have really liked Mailloux (despite his history, as we all know) to prefer him to Knies.

Today, it’s still hard to say which of the two players will be better, given that Mailloux has only played one NHL game, while Knies has played a full season.

Both youngsters will be ones to watch over the next few years, but for now, with Mailloux developing so well, we can’t say the Habs have made a mistake.

Stay tuned.

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