3 first-round talents the Canadiens can steal in the second round of the NHL Draft

Surefire first-round picks aren’t always selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, and it means the Montreal Canadiens could get a steal in the second round.
U18 Five Nations Tournament
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The Montreal Canadiens may only have a late-second-round pick in the NHL Draft, but it doesn’t mean a first-round-caliber talent won’t slip through and fall to them at 57th overall. Every year, a player looking to hear their name called in the Top 32 will fall into the early, middle, and sometimes even the late stages of the second round, if not further. 

But for a team looking to raise their prospect pool into one of the league’s best, if such a player fell to No. 57, general manager Kent Hughes shouldn’t have much of a debate with himself of whether such a player should enter the Habs system. 

With that said, there are three players listed who I can see getting drafted late in the first round who could be there when the Canadiens select in the second round. While you can count all three of the following players as steals, it’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t potential late-round steals like we talked about last week. 

So once again, there should be a sense of urgency for Hughes if one or all of them dropped to the 57th pick, and it would benefit the Habs system if he took one of them.

Matvei Gridin, RW/Michigan

Matvei Gridin is the classic example of someone who had quite a bit to adapt to in the North American game, something we saw during the 2022-23 season when he scored just eight times and finished with just over a half-point per game with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL. Then he erupted for 38 goals and 45 assists, good for 83 points and 1.38 per game, proving he figured things out in the USHL. 

Sure, heading to the University of Michigan and playing college hockey for and against some of the NCAA’s best will present a new challenge. But considering how high Gridin jumped in production from Year 1 to Year 2, it foreshadows perhaps something similar following what will likely be a formative year in Ann Arbor. 

His ability to figure things out quickly could come from an ultra-strong work ethic, but Gridin’s 6’1, 185-pound physique also holds ideal size. So overall, if he falls to the Habs in the second round, we could slap a steal label onto him the minute his name is called.