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Eric Engels believes the Habs won’t hesitate to take a defenseman if it’s the best player available
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There are only four sleeps left before the first round of the 2024 NHL Draft, which takes place Friday night at the Sphere in Vegas.

Four of them! We’ve been talking about it for ages!

This is where things really start to get serious. The Canadiens (like all the other teams) are drawing up their list of top prospects, because decision time is fast approaching.

Will Kent Hughes choose a forward?

A defenseman?

Will the Habs talk to No. 5?

If not… Will he move up? Down?

That’s a lot of questions, and that’s normal, because the Habs have several options on the table right now.

The organization would like to select a forward, but if the forwards it likes are already gone at No. 5, you might expect the Habs to choose a defenseman.

And if the Habs have to choose a defenseman, Eric Engels thinks they won’t hesitate when the time comes to announce the choice:

If the Canadiens don’t see another forward on their roster equal to one of the top defensemen who might be available, then I don’t think they’ll hesitate to take a defenseman. – Eric Engels

Sportsnet’s Eric Engels still believes in the chances of Cayden Lindstrom OR Ivan Demidov being available at #5.

But if they aren’t, this is where it gets particularly interesting:

I know, I know.

Most Habs fans don’t want to see the Habs pick a defenseman because, in the eyes of many, the club “already has too many”.

But in reality, that’s not necessarily the case.

It’s true that the Habs have some fine prospects on the blue line, and there’s no doubt about it. Mailloux, Hutson, Reinbacher, Guhle, Xhekaj, Struble…

But does any one of them have the potential to be the club’s number-one defenseman for years to come? Can the Habs go to war with Guhle as their first defenseman?

Even if it’s not unanimous, the option of drafting a defenseman must be on the table.

Especially if Demidov, Lindstrom and Iginla are already selected.

It would be surprising if Artyom Levshunov has a good chance of being selected in the top-4 and if Macklin Celebrini is the first choice, but anything is possible at the draft.

Overtime

– Hum…

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