Canadiens News and Rumours: Wright, Hughes, Anderson & More

The Montreal Canadiens may not have made the playoffs, but they did win the draft lottery and have the rights to the first overall pick this July. Kent Hughes and company now have the challenging task of figuring out what their draft board will look like, and who they will be welcoming to the organization in Montreal this summer. In the meantime, here is what else has been going on this past week.

Canadiens Win Draft Lottery

The Canadiens were the favourite to win the lottery when they finished last in the NHL this past season. They had an 18.5% chance of winning the top pick, and a 25.5% picking first overall. With the new NHL rules for the lottery starting this season, the Habs had the best odds to pick first since 1995, the lottery’s first year. This season, winning the lottery was a massive deal for Montreal because this summer the 2022 draft will be held in their city. Having the first pick in their town makes it extra special for the fans, especially after a long and challenging season.

2022 NHL Draft Lottery Montreal Canadiens First Overall
Bill Daly announces the Montreal Canadiens’ #1 overall draft position during the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Now Hughes has the task of figuring out what prospect he will pick, not only in the first overall spot, but also in the other two picks he has in the top 33. Fans and the media have made suggestions to trade the top pick or package the next two picks they own in order to draft higher in the first round — giving them two choices in the top 10 or 15. Whatever Hughes decides to do, it will be for the team’s betterment and what they think is the best choice.

Wright Believes He Should Go First Overall

Since last year’s draft, Shane Wright has been the defacto number one pick in this year’s draft, and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. For the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Wright has 94 points and 32 goals this season in 63 games. He followed his regular-season up with 14 points in 11 playoff games before the North Bay Battalion eliminated his team. Many feel that Wright isn’t a lock for the top spot in this year’s draft, and any of the top five prospects eligible could go number one.

Shane Wright Kingston Frontenacs
Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs (Brandon Taylor/OHL Images)

Wright, however, is confident in himself, and believes he deserves to be drafted first overall.

“It’s definitely really important to me. “I think that based on all the work this past year and in my past as well, I think that I deserve to be the first overall pick.”

Shane Wright

Wright also says he would love to be drafted by the Canadiens because of their historic franchise, and the fact the draft is in Montreal. The last time a team picked first overall in their home city was when the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Wendel Clark in 1985, and now 37 years later, the Canadiens get the chance to do so. Other players have a reasonable opportunity to be drafted first overall, like Logan Cooley, who played in the United States Development Program (USDP). Cooley scored 75 points in 51 games with the under 18 team and 36 points in 24 games with the United States National Team Development Program (USNTP) Juniors. Juraj Slafkovsky is another player who could be drafted first overall. He broke the goal-scoring record at the Olympics when he scored seven goals for Slovakia, and he also had 10 points in 33 games for TPS in the Liiga Finnish league.

Canadiens GM Hughes Has Tough Task Ahead

Now that the Habs have the first overall pick, everyone is trying to find out what general manager (GM) Hughes will do with it. Does he draft Wright? Cooley? Does he trade it and move back? He keeps everything close to his chest and does not give anything away. The only certainty he provided was that he wouldn’t be drafting his son, Jack Hughes, first overall. Depending on your draft ranking, the younger Hughes is expected to be drafted anywhere between 24th and 70th, but the consensus is late first-round or early second.

The actual first pick will be a more challenging decision. Although Wright is likely the choice, the Canadiens must do their homework and pick the right player for the club and the best player available. Hughes is in his first year as GM, and he needs to make this draft successful, especially when he has the chance to pick three players in the first 33 selections. Adding to the pressure is that the draft is in Montreal, and the fans and media will be expecting him to make all the right moves. Drafts are not as easy as they look, and Hughes and company will do everything to draft the best players.

Canadiens’ Anderson Alternate Captain for Team Canada

At the World Hockey Championships, Canadiens forward Josh Anderson was named an alternate captain for Team Canada along with Pierre-Luc Dubois, Adam Lowry, and Damon Severson, with Thomas Chabot named captain. Anderson had a mediocre season with the Canadiens, scoring 19 goals and 32 points. Other Habs players declined to play in the World Championships (WC), like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

Related: Canadiens’ Kent Hughes Hiring–New Direction for an Old Franchise

Anderson is looking to have a good WC and be more prepared for next season. So far for Team Canada, Anderson has three points in two games as Canada defeated Germany 5-3 and Italy 6-1. He had one point in the first game, but was named player of the game for Canada in game two against Italy, scoring a goal and ending the game with two points. Canada’s next game is May 16 against Slovakia.

Canadiens Hire Boucher to Head Analytics Department

Gorton and Hughes kept their promise to bring the organization into the future by hiring Christopher Boucher as director of advanced statistical analysis. He formerly worked with Sportlogiq, a sports analytics and artificial intelligence firm, where he was director of hockey services and analysis. Boucher had spent the last two seasons with the San Jose Sharks as a professional scout. Gorton mentioned that he would like to have an analytics department when he was hired. Under the old regime, GM Marc Bergevin hired outside organizations to help the club with analytics. this will be the first time the Habs had their own analytical department.

Canadiens goalie prospect Fredrik Dichow is also playing in the WC for Denmark. Dichow played this season with Kristianstad IK in the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan league posting an 18-9-3 record with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. So far in the WC, he has played 40 minutes, allowing five goals.

Mike Hoffman is having a charity gala next month in Waterloo, Ontario. The proceeds from the gala will go towards purchasing state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging machines for St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital. The Gala will be in June, and you can go here for more information.

That’s the news for this week; enjoy the playoffs, and let’s see what happens in July at the draft.

Sign up for our regular 'Habs Newsletter' for all the latest.

Latest News & Highlights