The Montreal Canadiens will be selected first in the National Hockey League (NHL) draft for the first time since 1980.
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This event eagerly awaited by fans sometimes becomes the scene of major transactions... but the Habs are rarely involved in these.
In his second draft at the helm of the team, general manager Bob Gainey sent Mathieu Garon, a Quebec goalkeeper who was struggling to establish himself in the Bettman circuit, under the Californian sun. Although Radek Bonk and Cristobal Huet did not have long careers in the Quebec metropolis, they left their mark there in their own way. The Frenchman maintained a record of 58-39-9 with the CH, in addition to serving as a first mentor to Carey Price. As for him, Bonk has rendered great service to the Habs as a support forward, collecting 44 points in 135 games. For his part, Garon left the Kings organization after two seasons, ultimately playing 341 games in the league.
The Canadian has almost always been reluctant to trade his first-round picks. Gainey was right, however, when he used the 25th overall pick in 2008 to get his hands on talented Quebec forward Alex Tanguay. Even though he only played 50 regular season games with the CH, annoyed by injuries, the native of Sainte-Justine proved to be an excellent rental player by collecting 41 points. For their part, the Flames have opted for pivot Greg Nemisz, who has only played 15 games in the NHL, with the selection of CH. However, the story could have been very different if the Alberta team had taken a chance with a talented defender chosen two ranks later by the Washington Capitals: John Carlson.
Many Habs fans cried genius when Marc Bergevin got such a comeback for a pivot who averaged 29 points per 82 NHL games. Although one of the choices obtained, traded to the Edmonton Oilers, ultimately led to the selection of American back Jordan Harris, now considered one of the best hopes of the CH, the "Caps" are emerged winners from this transaction. Eller was an integral part of Washington's Stanley Cup win in 2018, amassing 18 points in 24 playoff games and being given important defensive responsibilities. Aside from Harris, the two other prospects obtained in this transaction, Samuel Houde and Joni Ikonen, will probably never play an NHL game.
A crowd favorite in Chicago, Shaw came to Montreal with two Stanley Cup rings and a lot of character, much to Bergevin's delight. Annoyed by injuries, the winger missed 64 games in three seasons with the Canadiens, before being sent to the Hawks for a similar comeback in 2019. However, the Illinois team got their hands on the sniper Alex DeBrincat in the draft with the Canadiens' pick. He is now the Blackhawks' best player, with a season of 41 goals and 78 points in 2021-2022.
If you forgot, the 2020 auction took place in the fall due to the pandemic. The CH took the opportunity to send the game manufacturer Max Domi, who had just experienced a dizzying drop in production, to Ohio in return for the speed merchant Josh Anderson. Some 107 games later, the Jackets all but gave Domi to the Carolina Hurricanes, while Anderson established himself as a point guard in Montreal. One can question the creativity and consistency of whoever was dubbed the “Power Horse,” but certainly not the team that won this one-sided trade.