Grading Kent Hughes a year later on the Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens (Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports) /

Montreal Canadiens: The NHL Draft

The most notable thing Kent Hughes has done might be drafting first overall. Specifically, drafting first overall in a year where there wasn’t a “consensus” #1 prospect like there often is. The Canadiens selected Juraj Slafkovsky with the first pick, and well his numbers aren’t anything to brag about, he’s the only player from his class that played more than 9 games this season. Much like the hirings Hughes and Co. made, we won’t know exactly how good of a job he did until much later, but the early returns seem to be quite good.

In addition to Slafkovsky, the Habs selected fellow Slovak Filip Mešár with the 26th overall pick, Owen Beck with the 33rd, and my personal favourite pick of the draft, Lane Hutson at 62. Hutson in particular is tearing up the NCAA as a true freshman, putting up 22 points in 20 games as of writing this.

For reference, Cale Makar put up 21 points in 34 games as a true freshman. Now I’m not saying Hutson will become the next Makar, but rather just showing that it isn’t an easy feat by any stretch. And when you watch him play, it becomes very apparent the Habs haven’t had a player quite like him, in a very long time.

Only time will truly tell how these players will pan out, but there is a lot to be encouraged about, and for a first draft from the new regime, you have to like how things are looking. With Mešár and Beck, their numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but we got to see just how skilled they were in pre-season, where they looked very comfortable.

Both Beck and Mešár are incredibly smart hockey players who look to have very bright futures as well. So that should be chalked up as a win for Hughes, now it just becomes about development, which again refers back to the hires he made, and highlights their importance.