Skip to content
Craig Button likes the idea of the Canadiens moving up in the draft for Ivan Demidov
Credit: Getty Images

After the huge Matvei Michkov saga in 2023, we’re back with another dilemma surrounding a young Russian player: Ivan Demidov. If his name were Yvan Demidove and he were from Quebec, there would be fewer questions about him.

Based on talent alone, Ivan Demidov could very well be drafted in the second round by the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s important to remember that he’s a project and probably won’t be playing in the NHL as early as next season, in the style of Matvei Michkov.

On the other hand, if other teams are afraid of selecting a Russian player, the Habs could take advantage with their fifth pick. TSN’s Craig Button wouldn’t mind seeing Kent Hughes make a trade to try and move up a few spots in the repeĉhage in order to select Demidov.

That’s what he said on Tony Marinaro’s The Sick Podcast on Wednesday.

The point is that Demidov is far less controversial than Mishkov was. No stories of bad contracts, no stories of a bad attitude and, above all, no stories of a noxious entourage. The only “problem” in his case is that he’s from Russia.

But that’s nothing to worry about. Many Russian players have been drafted, spent a few seasons in the KHL, and arrived in the NHL to play dominant hockey.

The best example is Kirill Kaprizov. The Wild drafted him in 2015 and he only entered the league in 2020. The example may scare some people. I’m not sure Kent Hughes is willing to wait five years to have his player in the lineup, but it proves that Russian players who want to play in the NHL, will play.

On top of all that, Demidov could become a quality center, which is interesting for the Canadiens. He’s not a center by nature, but he confessed in an interview that he’d like to become one permanently.

He was completely dominant in the Russian junior league this season, amassing 60 points in just 30 games with St Petersburg. He should be playing with the KHL affiliate next year.

With so much to show for his efforts, the Blackhawks may well take a chance on him at the second level. If, however, Chicago decides on someone else, it could open the door for Kent Hughes to move up a rung or two.

However, Hughes won’t want to pay too much, as there are still several good players available in the fifth echelon. Check out which ones might be available in this article by my colleague Félix Forget.

In gusto

– Kristin O’Neill makes history.

– C’est bruyant Baie-Comeau.

– It should be a very tight series.

More Content