Montreal Canadiens: Defensive Depth Could Prove Important In 2024 Draft

Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Defence has been a strength for the Montreal Canadiens, and I think that Kent Hughes could really stand to gain some nice gifts if he deals a player or two from the fold.

Where the Canadiens need some reinforcements is in the offensive zone, and the 2024 Draft hosts some very talented prospects. The defence comes in because the Habs could stand to leverage their riches to help the team in the future. When Jordan Harris returns to the lineup the Canadiens will have Kovacevic, Guhle, Savard, Barron, Matheson and Struble. That's not to mention Xhekaj in Laval with Mailloux, and Hutson and Reinbacher who aren't far off either.

Aside from Cole Caufield, the Canadiens don't have a pure goal scorer in the lineup or in the prospect pool. Jesse Ylonen, Joshua Roy, Emil Heineman and Jared Davidson are all great shooters. But to pass on a top-scoring talent in the 2024 draft would be foolish.

Especially when a Matheson or Savard could be packaged with Jake Allen or even a Sean Monahan to get the attention of another general manager. Dealing with a strength to address a weakness is a smart move. If Kent Hughes can swing a deal for an additional pick or even a top prospect who can score, the Habs will be better for it.

I understand that trading away veterans leaves a big hole in the lineup, but Kaiden Guhle is ready for the top defence pair. I think that while the right defence isn't as much of a sure bet as the left side, the left side can handle the loss of Matheson and Savard. Ideally, Xhekaj should be in the NHL, and I would test the idea of playing Struble on his off side with Arber.

If Harris doesn't get moved, he can slot in nicely beside Barron or Kovacevic, whoever isn't slotted beside Guhle essentially. If it's Barron, Harris's smart, defensive style should mesh well with him. Kovacevic isn't ideal as the top righty, but Mailloux and Reinbacher aren't too far off. If it means that the Canadiens play with number 26 on the top pair, but get another top eight to fifteen pick in June, we could all live with it.

The Canadiens have the pieces being put together to build a Stanley Cup contender, and it will take some time. But the fact of the matter is - if Hughes can leverage his organizational strength to swing a trade. I think that it's a home run idea, with the potential to impact the complexion of the Habs roster for the next 15 years.

I am far from an expert, but very much a journalist who reads, researches and watches each Canadiens game. I also keep a watchful eye on the draft world, and regularly read mock drafts and watch Bob McKenzie's pre and mid-season rankings. I watch the World Juniors annually as well, and I can assure you that two picks will be better than one in the first round of the 2024 Draft.

I also believe that Hughes agrees, and that will reflect in the moves he makes between now and on the draft floor in June.