Skip to content
The Ahtletic: Ryan Poehling and Jesperi Kotkaniemi among the Habs’ worst draft picks
Credit: Getty Images
Throughout the history of sport in general, every team has made a mistake that has drastically changed the course of its franchise.

Indeed, every team in the world of sports has made a mistake, whether in a transaction of some kind, with a player signing or simply with the selection of a young prospect.

Sometimes, or even often in the case of certain teams, we look back and realize that a much better selection could have been made.

That’s life in the sports world, where it’s impossible to always make the right decision.

In hockey, all 32 National Hockey League teams have regrets about past events, especially when it comes to the draft.

When we look back at past drafts, we often realize that our favorite team really could have landed a better player.

That’s what The Athletic was interested in, as they traced the biggest mistakes made by each of the 32 NHL franchises.

Obviously, we were keeping an eye on the Montreal Canadiens section, as there were unfortunately several options on the table to choose from.

Indeed, the Habs have made a number of mistakes in the past, some of which still hurt to this day, and clearly affect the team’s performance.

The Tricolore’s first mistakes, mentioned by Eric Duhatschek of The Athletic, are two that date back to the early 80s, when the Habs took Doug Wickeneiser first overall in the 1980 draft instead of Denis Savard.

Savard went on to become quite a hockey player in Chicago, while Wickeneiser never quite rose to the level expected of a first overall pick.

Mark Hunter’s selection at No. 7ᵉ the following year is also a tough pill to swallow when you realize that Hall of Fame goalie Grant Fuhr was drafted right after at No. 8ᵉ.

And more recently, it was the selections of Ryan Poehling in 2017 and Jesperi Kotkaniemi in 2018 that caught The Athletic ‘s attention as among the Habs’ worst draft mistakes.

In Poehling’s case at the 25ᵉ rank in 2017, at the time, it wasn’t a bad choice, especially since a few months later, he won the MVP title at the World Junior Championship.

But in the end, apart from his hat trick in his first NHL game, Poehling never really developed with the Tricolore, and today he’s no more than a fourth-line center in the NHL.

He’s a late-first-round selection by the Habs, and therefore somehow less important, but when you look at the player who was drafted right after him, it hurts.

It was Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger who was selected right after, an excellent NHL goalie right now who would clearly have helped the Habs in their post-Carey Price era.

And in 39th place, the Dallas Stars got their hands on a certain Jason Robertson.

In short, the Habs really could have added a whole player to their team, but in the end, it was the Stars who added two in the same draft.

And as for Kotkaniemi’s selection, well, everyone in Montreal knows today that his selection was a mistake, as it left Brady Tkachuk on a silver platter to a division rival, the fourth-place Ottawa Senators.

Tkachuk quickly became a headliner in Ottawa, even becoming the team captain, while KK will probably never be more than a third-line center, or even a fourth-line center if his struggles in Carolina are anything to go by.

We can even talk about Quinn Hughes, who was drafted 7ᵉth overall and is now one of the NHL’s top defensemen with the Vancouver Canucks.


– Don’t miss: a three-game opening day at the Euro.

– Yesterday’s opening match was completely dominated by hosts Germany.

– A second win in as many games for the Alouettes.

– Excellent news for CF Montréal.

– Read on.

More Content