Who Gets Left Out Of The Blueline Puzzle?

Washington Capitals v Montreal Canadiens
Washington Capitals v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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In The Mix

Torpedo Hockey Club player, Bogdan Konyushkov (6) seen in...
Torpedo Hockey Club player, Bogdan Konyushkov (6) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

These two defenders are certainly worth some attention, but were slotted in this category instead of the Under 25 one, because their arrival to North America is harder to predict. Both project as every day NHL defenseman if all things go right. One plays in the Swedish Hockey League and the other in the Konitinental Hockey League.

Adam Engstrom was drafted sooner, so for that reason, he will be the first defender discussed. Selected in the third round of the 2023 NHL Draft, Engstrom is a smooth skating left-shot defenseman. The Jarna, Swe., native loves to join the rush, and has been doing so against Sweden's best professional hockey competition for three seasons.

He is at his best when he is in open space, where he loves to transport the puck and create plays with the forwards. A transition darling, Engstrom's two-way game and three-way mobility are his calling card. Aside from Hutson, Engstrom is the next best left-shot defender, and he will likely join the Rocket for the 2024-25 season, which is logical for his development.

Bogdan Konyushkov was a late-round over-ager, but there are reasons for optimism with the late bloomer. Konyushkov, 21, is the captain of his KHL team, a league that usually reserves leadership roles for veteran players. Also worth noting is that the 2023-24 season is just Konyushkov's second in the KHL.

The Penza, Rus., native has bested his rookie season total of 25 points in 64 games, with 28 in 65 games. Under contract in Russia, although his season is done, he is at least another season away from the North American conversation. He could do a lot worse than developing in one of the best leagues in the world.

Konyushkov's mobility is his biggest asset, but his hockey IQ is a close second, and he will likely play in the NHL because of the combo. His coach stated his belief that Konyushkov will play in the NHL, it's a matter of when he feels ready. He has quarterbacked a KHL power-play unit and he has a good shot, and great vision in the passing game.

Both players are part of the future for the Canadiens, but when they will join is hard to determine.