Montreal Canadiens: 2022 Draft - A Nick Bobrov Masterclass

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Dave Sandford/GettyImages

Montreal Canadiens fandom is on another level, and nobody knows that better than their scouts, who face a ton of flack if they make the wrong pick, or what is perceived as the wrong pick. Enter Nick Bobrov, the Habs head scout.

Bobrov has faced a ton of flack and lashback, but he had perhaps the best draft class of his career in 2022. And while it's still far from completely NHL-ready, four players could set this class off for the Canadiens. It's especially interesting because the best player of the draft could potentially become a number one defender in the NHL, and he wasn't selected until 62 overall.

Now that is no shot at the Canadiens' first overall selection Juraj Slafkovsky, who is coming along quite nicely on the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. He has been delivering on a nightly basis, and while the production has not quite taken off, Martin St. Louis has increased Slafkovsky's ice time quite significantly. Slafkovsky has been the Habs' most improved forward, and the power forward flashes have been much more visible.

The fact of the matter is, that Lane Hutson could very well become the best player in the entire draft, and that is a bold assessment but he has been a stud. In the NCAA, all of his skills come together, and he makes it look too easy every night. Hutson was likely passed on because of his size, but Caufield and St. Louis had a pretty good case to make for smaller players, and Kent Hughes was all in.

Now that we're past the two players, that would leave any general manager smiling, should they reach their potential, we can dive into the two other selections. And while they may not be of the same ilk as Slaf and Hutson, these guys are no slouches. Both players are having their way with the Ontario Hockey League competition, leaving little doubt where they will play in 2024-25.

The first is Owen Beck, who appears destined to slot in as the Canadiens third line centre when he is ready to make the jump. Defensively he is one of the best in the OHL, and his faceoff skills are right at the top of the league. Most impressive is that he is finding an offensive game, but he doesn't cheat on the defensive side of the puck, his brilliance comes from his excellent two-way play.

Filip Mesar has sort of bounced around since being drafted by the Canadiens, as their second first-round selection, after countrymen Slafkovsky. Considering that he just weaves around defenders sort of like a rover or jitterbug, he appears to have silenced all his doubters. After a rookie season that was below what many expected, Mesar has exploded in year two, and he could very well develop into a middle-six option for the Habs.

Nothing is official yet, but at this juncture, it appears that the Habs, both management and fanbase should pat Bobrov on his back. The 2022 Draft class was a strong one, and the 2023 one hasn't even been taken into consideration. Worry not though, if you tune into the World Junior Hockey Championships, you will get all the information that you need.