Zayne Parekh Could Become Next Great Defenceman

Saginaw Spirit v Ottawa 67's
Saginaw Spirit v Ottawa 67's / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Zayne Parekh has been tearing it up in the Ontario Hockey League with the Saginaw Spirit.

Parekh, a teammate of Owen Beck’s and a 2024 NHL Draft prospect has posted a 27-53-80 statline. The right-shot defender has become a favourite of many NHL scouts. Both current and former are raving about his potential.

During a recent episode of The Sick Podcast, host Tony Marinaro had former NHL scout Grant McCagg on the show. McCagg expressed that many scouts have given Parekh plenty of well-deserved praise. But the comparison of the 18-year-old and a Norris Trophy-winning, 100 point scoring defenseman was huge. 

Yeah, that’s right - McCagg said Parekh is believed to be viewed in the same scope as Erik Karlsson. He continued to say that Parekh is bigger, grittier and more competitive. And that the Spirit defender has 30 goal, point-per-game NHL potential. 

A bottom-five finish is becoming increasingly more likely for the Canadiens, on the back of their recent five-game losing streak. With a pick likely in the top 10 range all but secured. I would expect that if the top-ranked forwards are off the board, Kent Hughes and his staff would give Parekh a long look.

Elite offensive number one defenseman don’t grow on trees and the price to acquire one is often astronomical. The Ottawa Senators got a haul in the Karlsson trade. The Sharks also signed him to a massive extension, because he is a star. 

The Canadiens lack a true superstar, and yes they need one at forward. But Parekh has the potential to become one. He is the type of player that would shake up the Habs roster. Lane Hutson and Zayne Parekh would revamp the Habs powerplay.

Back to the forward thing for a second, though. I am with anybody who says the Canadiens need a top forward, so hear me out. Let's say the Habs end up drafting Parekh, who further crowds the defence.

You take to the stage and draft Parekh and then use the assets to acquire a need. With Parekh in the fold, maybe Justin Barron or Logan Mailloux become expendable. A trade package involving one of those two guys, maybe a Filip Mesar or Owen Beck and Calgary’s 2025 first or Winnipeg’s 2024 first could be rather enticing for a team.

Hughes knows the market better than any of us, so if there is a trade to be made, he knows it. An elite number-one defenseman will help the offence from the blueline. And a trade addressing the need at forward addresses the problem. 

Parekh, Hutson, David Reinbacher and Kaiden Guhle would be a scary good top-four defence. Just saying.