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Canada’s top pick won’t be ready to play in the NHL in 2024-25
Credit: Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

With the Canadiens having played their last game several weeks ago and the draft lottery now a thing of the past, what’s next for Montreal? We’re playingmock drafts and putting together the team’s various trios for the first game of the 2024-25 season.

Many fans are putting the player the Habs draft in the first round next month directly into their line-up for 2024-25, but if the past is any guide to the future, the team’s first-round pick next June will NOT be playing in the NHL come October.

In 2023-24, only four players selected a few months earlier played regularly in the NHL in their first season of eligibility: Connor Bedard (1), Leo Carlsson (2), Adam Fantilli (3) and Zachary Benson (13).

The year before, only Juraj Slafkovsky (1) was a regular in the NHL in the fall.

In 2021-22, only Cole Sillinger (12) had the opportunity to play the entire NHL season among players selected a few months prior to this one. #Surprise

A few players had played 10 games or less at the beginning or end of the season, but nothing more…

In short, the chances of seeing the guy the Habs will draft in Vegas in the lineup next October are pretty slim. Very slim indeed…

And if he does make the roster, it may only be for a few games at most!

Yes, the NHL has become a youth league where speed is the name of the game, but the physical side of the game is forcing more and more teams to wait a year or two before promoting their best prospects – however good they may be – to the show.

Daniel Brière, current GM of the Philadelphia Flyers, added weight to the hypothesis that the Canadiens’ first pick in June will not play for the team in 2024-25. Speaking on 98.5 FM (Les amateurs de sports) last night, he indicated that only two players eligible for this year’s draft are ready to play in the NHL: Macklin Celebrini and Artyom Levshunov.

Celebrini, we suspected… but it’s still interesting to know that a guy like Levshunov would already have what it takes to go straight from the NCAA to the NHL after only one year on the American college circuit.

He made the right decision in leaving Belarus for the United States.

If Daniel Brière, an NHL GM, is to be believed, Ivan Demidov, Cayden Lindstrom, Berkly Catton, Anton Silayev, Tij Iginla and the other young prospects available at the amateur draft still don’t have what it takes to play in the NHL next fall. And I’d be surprised to see Levshunov (and Celebrini hehe) still available when the Habs speak for the first time.

Yes, Brière could be wrong… but let’s just say the chances of him being right are pretty good.

So we’ll have to wait and see before we can cheer on the team’s next top pick. In short, we’re going to draft fifth like last year… but we hope that the player we draft will have a less chaotic career path than David Renbacher in 2023-24!

Oh yes… Daniel Brière also mentioned that the arrival of Pat Brisson as Sean Couturier’s agent should (really) help.

In gusto

– I’ve just finished recording (live) the Sick Podcast CF Montreal Talk with Tony Marinaro. We tried to find out how a team as decimated (and low-budget) as CF Montreal can get back on track in the short term. And we threw in some interesting info on Olivier Renard, Matias Coccaro, Jules-Anthony Vilsaint and more

– Olivier Renard will speak to the media tomorrow morning in Montreal. Should be interesting…

– Six of the team’s seven highest earners weren’t in Montreal’s starting eleven last night… and it could be even worse Saturday in Toronto. #WanyamaStillOnTheBench?

– CF Montreal has the second-lowest payroll on the Garber circuit.

– Mason Toye and Mahala Opoku are not training, as are Lassi, Saliba and other injured players.

– Happy listening (or viewing).

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