An early look at the Canadiens biggest needs for the 2024 NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens have one of the deeper prospects pools, but the 2024 NHL Draft can parlay it into something epic if Kent Hughes calls out the right names.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes must snag the best player on the board when his team is on the clock in late June, regardless of need in the prospects pool. But he must also, at some point in the 2024 NHL Draft, focus on the weaker areas of his organizational depth chart and turn them into strengths or at least halfway decent position groups. 

While the Candiens prospects pool should rank among the top half of the league, and perhaps even close to the top 10, there are still multiple weaknesses or at least lack of depth in it. So, with a couple of months before the 2024 draft, which position groups appear to be the most pressing for Hughes and the Canadiens front office?

Finding a complete center would be ideal for Kent Hughes

Earlier in the year, Scott Wheeler of The Athletic released a list of top 15 prospects as part of an overall ranking for all 32 NHL teams, and if one position jumps out, it’s that Owen Beck is the only pure center listed, and he’s currently seventh. 

Beck has been outstanding this season, with 81 points and 34 goals in 57 regular season games for the Peterborough Petes and the Saginaw Spirit. And he’s supplemented those numbers with another two goals and eight assists in 11 playoff games at the time of this writing. 

Yeah, somehow getting the top overall pick for the rights to draft Boston University’s Macklin Celebrini is the preferred situation for all Habs fans and those in the front office. But even if the Canadiens stay at No. 5, there is a chance someone like Cayden Lindstrom, a versatile player with NHL size, will drop. 

There is even a possibility Hughes could snag the equally versatile Ivan Demidov should he luck out and get the second or even the third overall pick. Lindstrom and Demidov can technically play center and winger, but they are also can’t-miss prospects, so taking them in favor of a pure center works here.

So if the position isn’t addressed in the first or even the second round, Hughes still has plenty of draft picks to find that high-upside pure center or two for the pipeline.