Where do the Montreal Canadiens go from here?

We all know that this was one of the most disappointing seasons for the Montreal Canadiens in recent history. If you ask any Habs fan (outside of Quebec) “Do you think the Montreal Canadiens should go into rebuild mode?” the majority of the fans will respond with a yes.

The Canadiens need to start looking to the future of the franchise, so why not start with a discussion on what they can do with their 3rd overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft?

Marc Bergevin is widely known as a wildcard General Manager that makes moves that no one is expecting. The Subban for Weber trade and the Sergachev for Drouin trade just in the past couple seasons will stick out to most to hockey fans. Both of these trades have not been in the favor of the Canadiens, yet.

Bergevin traded away Alex Galchenyuk to the Coyotes for Max Domi. The trade happening under 24 hours ago and fans are already upset with the move made by the Montreal GM. 

Max Domi was given a 2-year contract at $3.15 million AAV. Bergevin talked with the media and was defending the trade.

What will Bergevin do at the draft?

The number 1 need for the Habs is a #1 center, which they will not find in this draft. The majority of NHL scouts and mock drafts have the first center being taken in the draft at #11, that being Barrett Hayton who has promise as a great 200 ft. player. He also put up 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists in 63 games) and had a +32 plus/minus with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL; or Joe Veleno, a player who is not expected to be more than a second line center.

These two centers do have some great talent but I do not think that Bergevin is crazy enough to draft either of these players with the 3rd overall pick.

I guess this just leaves signing or trading for a #1 center if they want one this upcoming season.

I have no doubt Bergevin will take a shot at Tavares and offer him a huge deal and his first-born child to sign with the team.

That being said, I would not get my hopes up, Hab fans.

18.357 million in cap space is tied up between Carey Price and Shea Weber for the next 8 seasons. I find it hard to believe they can build a team to compete with that much cap space occupied by 3 players (assuming Tavares gets 10+ million). I also believe that Tavares would see this and in knowing the history of Bergevin with this team, he would decide to not take his talents to Montreal.

And with recent rumors of Tavares having discussions with the Islanders of signing an extension, the likelihood of the Canadiens signing him to a contract are slim to none.
The next option to consider for Bergevin? 

Take a look at Montreal’s weak blue line. Maybe they draft a defenseman? Outside the likes of Victor Mete (the only player with the potential to be in a top 2 pairing), Noah Juulsen, and some may argue to put Mike Rielly in the discussion. But there is no other young, promising d-man within the Montreal organization.

So, does Bergevin make a bold move and take the likes of Evan Bouchard, Quinton Hughes, or Noah Dobson?

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The most likely candidate would be Evan Bouchard. He plays with and is the captain of the London Knights of the OHL. Bouchard had a solid season with the Knights getting 87 points (25 goals, 62 assists) with a +23 plus/minus over 68 games.

Although Bouchard has a lot of upsides, the Canadiens have taken 10 defensemen over the past 3 drafts (Mete, Sergachev, and Juulsen played in the NHL this season), I would think that they are more worried about their scoring ability up front.

The last two… and most likely options for Bergevin 

Brady Tkachuk or Filip Zadina.

Listening to NHL insiders and mock drafts, Tkachuk is the favorite to be taken 3rd overall by the Canadiens.

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Tkachuk is a hard-nosed player with the ability to create offense from dogging it in the offensive zone. He stands at 6’3” and weights 192 lbs. I would compare him to a Brendan Gallagher type of player, probably with more of an offensive touch. In the World Juniors, he had 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists in 7 games) and had a part in some huge moments for the USA in the tournament. Playing for Boston University in the NCAA, Tkachuk had 31 points (8 goals, 23 assists in 40 games) and a +15 plus/minus as an 18-year-old.

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Zadina has an outstanding shot. He can score goals from in close, or from the outside and generates many chances because of his two-way game and will burn you if given the chance. He stands at 6’0” tall and weighs 197 lbs. I would compare him to a Kucherov or Kuznetsov type of player, he may not have the superstar ability right now, but neither did of those other players until the last couple of seasons.

In the World Juniors, Zadina put up 8 points (7 goals, 1 assist in 7 games) for the Czech Republic. In the QMJHL for the Halifax Mooseheads, Zadina had 82 points (44 goals, 38 assists in 57 games) and a +23 plus/minus, coming in 7th in league scoring and the top-scoring rookie.

I would argue that the Montreal Canadiens should take Zadina with their 3rd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. He had an amazing offensive season as a rookie in the QMJHL. He is a two-way forward to go along with his offensive prowess that can help with team defense.

Let's be real, no one ever knows what Bergevin is going to do so why try to predict? Well because, we obviously know what is best for a franchise over its own General manager, right?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the topic.

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