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
U18 Five Nations Tournament / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages
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Max Plante, C/USNTDP 

While I’ve written a few pieces rolling with a mixture of forwards and defensemen, the Montreal Canadiens will likely go forward-heavy in the 2024 draft. When I was looking for a trio of potential steals, size was often my criteria, but that changed with the 5’11, 176-pound Max Plante. 

Like many playing for the US National Development Team, Plante had a solid but unspectacular first year in 2022-23, when he played in 86 regular season games and put up 70 points, including 16 goals. Following the 2023-24 season, Plante saw time in just 76 contests, but he had 21 goals and 90 points - 69 assists. 

That’s a playmaker, and it’s something Elite Prospects didn’t ignore when they put him into that category alongside “two-way forward” and “cerebral tactician.” Plante is also one of those players with a wide range, including a 33rd-overall rating, which would put him between the late-first and early-second rounds, but Dobber Prospects has him listed at No. 93 overall. 

Realistically, Plante could drop to the third round, but it would be more of a steal than a reach if he was there at No. 57 and Kent Hughes drafted him. There’s a good chance he’s long gone before that pick, and if a potential playmaker of Plante’s caliber is available in Round 2, it only makes sense to take and let him keep growing into his game at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. 


(Statistics powered by Elite Prospects)