The Canadiens sealed the best Round 1 in the NHL Draft with Michael Hage

The Montreal Canadiens already took Ivan Demidov with Pick No. 5 in the NHL Draft, but they weren’t finished as Michael Hage fell to them.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Okay, if I thought Ivan Demidov was a slam dunk, it’s nothing compared to the game-winner that was Michael Hage. No, this isn’t saying Hage was the better pick than Demidov - far from it. Instead, it’s the fact that the Canadiens managed to land Demidov and Hage 16 picks apart from one another, and you couldn’t have asked for a better situation. 

Demidov will be in Quebec well before Hage, but let’s not believe for a single second that Hage won’t eventually bring value to the franchise. He should enter the system as one of the top prospects, and once the label is removed from Demidov at some point, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hage ends up as the top prospect in the pool. 

For one, they’re getting a player into the system who is already 6’1, 190 pounds, and throughout his career at the prestigious University of Michigan, Hage will only keep growing into that NHL-ready frame. He’s also coming off of a 75-point, 33-goal season in the USHL, and that could be the foreshadowing of what we’ll see when he’s playing for the Wolverines. 

Canadiens fans have got to be excited about Michael Hage

For the time being, all eyes will be on Ivan Demidov, but Habs fans cannot forget about Michael Hage. While he could end up as more of a middle-six instead of a surefire top-six player, he will nonetheless find himself in a Canadiens jersey in time, at which point the Habs should be playoff contenders or very, very close to. 

It’s an ideal situation that, when the 2024 NHL Draft commenced a few hours ago, there’s no way I would have seen Demidov and Hage landing with the organization. Overall, it was a well-played game from general manager Kent Hughes, and a brilliant move to trade up from No. 26 to No. 21 to make it happen. 

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(Statistics powered by Elite Prospects)