Top five at 5th - #1 Ivan Demidov

Ivan Demidov has been called a better draft prospect than Matvei Michkov, could the Habs pass on him because of the Russian factor?
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action...
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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The Montreal Canadiens are hoping to add a dynamic talent, that will fit on their top offensive line and after Macklin Celebrini there is a bit of a drop off.

But many scouts believe that the second-best forward in the draft is Ivan Demidov and his offensive ceiling is considered higher than Celebrini's. Celebrini is the best all-around player; down the middle, he will make the San Jose Sharks extremely happy. But Demidov is more of a player with a flare for the dramatics, he has end-to-end rush skills and he can electrify the crowd with his swift skating and elite puck skills.

The Habs opted to select the top-ranked defenseman last year at the draft, although many believe the smartest pick was Matvei Michkov. He was touted as the top goalscorer in the draft and the most dynamic option available when the fifth overall selection rolled around. The Russian geopolitical issues were a large factor and it was far too risky for Kent Hughes to roll the dice.

An argument could be made that Hughes may be hesitant to pick Demidov because he is Russian. But Demidov reportedly intends to come over to North America at the end of his current contract - 2024-25. That would put him in the NHL towards the end of the regular season, which could be a big add if the Habs are pushing towards a playoff berth.

Demidov has been touted as effective in the passing game as he is when keeping the puck and shooting. Because of his deft puck skills, he can freeze defenders before making a last-second decision to puzzle the opposition. Simply put, if a team is seeking to improve their offence, Demidov is the guy to take a long look at.

Nick Suzuki has found his shooting game, Cole Caufield is a shooter and Juraj Slafkovsky has shown that he is a threat with his one-touch shot. Adding Demidov into the mix could be exactly what the Canadiens need. Demidov does it all and he keeps improving and growing; after dominating the MHL last year, he is set to show his skills in the KHL.

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