Montreal Canadiens Take Ivan Demidov With Fifth-Overall Pick in 2024 NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens corrected their mistake from last season and took an elite Russian forward in Ivan Demidov with the fifth overall pick.
2024 NHL Awards Red Carpet
2024 NHL Awards Red Carpet / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

After months of speculation over who the Canadiens would take with the fifth-overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, the Canadiens took Ivan Demidov. The rumors were rampant that the Canadiens were zeroing in on Demidov after he admitted he had a meeting with Kent Hughes this week. The Canadiens skipped over Matvei Michkov last season to take David Reinbacher, and fans were terrified that they'd make the same mistake again this season.

However, Demidov's upside was too high to pass up. Demidov's contract in the KHL ends after next season, and there's a good chance he will come to North America for the 2025-26 season. The Canadiens have plenty of time to wait, as they still have another year or two before they are competitive in the Eastern Conference.

Demidov was the pick that Montreal had to make. They could have taken Anton Silayev or Zeev Buium after Beckett Sennecke vaulted to third overall, but they had zeroed in on Demidov and didn't overthink it.

There's a belief that Ivan Demidov could have the highest offensive upside in the draft. Macklin Celebrini is elite offensively and could put up a lot of points in his career, but he is more of a two-way forward. Demidov has a good chance of leading this draft class in points by the time his career ends, which should excite a Habs fan base starving for more talented forwards.

The Canadiens forward group is starting to take shape. Cole Caufield, Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach, Alex Newhook, Ivan Demidov, Joshua Roy, and a possible trade target this offseason would form an elite top-nine in a couple of years and should be a serious contender in the Eastern Conference when you add their elite defensive depth and Jacob Fowler's debut in net.