Montreal Canadiens Drafting Philosophy: Best Fit vs. Best Player Available

It's that time of year again: draft season, and the Montreal Canadiens have another high draft pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. And, of course, that means we finally have a concrete number to aim for and debate about until late June. Should the Habs shoot for the stars and nab the best player available, or look at holes in the prospect cupboard and find the player that fits in best?
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
1 of 4

The NHL draft lottery balls have spoken and the Montreal Canadiens will have the honor of selecting fifth overall for the second year in a row, and the 8th time ever. Last year, Kent Hughes selected the big, late rising defenseman from Austria David Reinbacher, who late this season made his AHL debut, and even scored a goal in his first game.

The Canadiens are a team on the rise after the near historical fall after their fantastic run to the Final in 2021. The management team have quickly stockpiled a very respectable prospect pool in a short amount of time, and everyone will be looking for the Habs to make a step in the upward direction this year. And while the 5th overall pick will likely not make an immediate impact at the NHL level, whoever Hughes picks will be a major piece for the team going forward.

Joshua Roy, David Reinbacher
New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

So the question is, who will be the lucky player? Will the Canadiens take a swing on a talented Russian forward after missing out on Matvei Michkov last year? Will they take stock in the late riser and pedigree of Tij Iginla? Or will they ignore the latest reports and take a reach on Cayden Lindstrom? Or the Habs could look at one of the many stud defenders like Zeev Buium, Artyom Levshunov or Zayne Parekh?

It really depends on what philosophy the scouts and decision makers in the Montreal Canadiens have when it comes to drafting. Will they look beyond the position and just pick the best player available, or will the position win out, and possibly leave more quality on the table.

But first, we need to check the cupboards first.