Nick Bobrov put in hours with Ivan Demidov

When Montreal drafted David Reinbacher instead of Matvei Michkov, they already had their sights set on another intriguing Russian draft prospect.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens 2023 fifth overall draft selection, David Reinbacher, drew differing reviews.

But they reportedly already had their future planned out, in a sense. Many wanted Matvei Michkov, but for one reason or another, Montreal didn't have the same interest as the fans did. Reinbacher was their guy and in drafting him, they beefed up their blueline of the future.

Kent Hughes got his man in the 2023 draft and waited patiently in the wings, not tipping off anybody with his future intentions. When Ivan Demidov dropped into the Habs laps during the 2024 draft, Hughes didn't hold back. The Canadiens welcomed Celine Dion on stage and selected the Russian prospect, whom many had ranked second best in the draft.

Montreal had a secret weapon in Russia, which helped them decide on Demidov

To have so much confidence in a prospect that plays overseas and is hard to scout in person, there has got to be a reason why. The Canadiens did their due diligence, however, Nick Bobrov travelled to Russia throughout the season to get to know Demidov. He had information about Michkov from his time in Russia before the 2023 draft, which swayed the Habs away from him, while he got viewings of Demidov.

Bobrov's father, Sergei, a scout with SKA Saint Petersburg for the past 15 years had an insight about both of the Russian prospects. Montreal kept their cards close to their chest and hoped for the best, which Demidov was that. Hughes was transparent in a draft floor interview with Sportnets Elliotte Friedman, they coveted Demidov for a long time.

While the clubs drafting ahead of Montreal opted for other players, perhaps the Canadiens scouting and one-on-one time with Demidov gave them an upperhand. Where other clubs steered clear of him because of a lack of viewings, the Habs had all the information they needed. It's obvious that Demidov's character stood out and he has a drive and passion to play for an organization with such high pressure and expectations.

People can say what they want about Bobrov, but the fact of the matter is that he might have just secured the Habs with the superstar they have coveted for so long.