Canadians: Hughes keeps the secret

MONTREAL | Kent Hughes remains a rookie general manager, but he has a wealth of experience in the player agent business. In his old life, Hughes hasn’t been shouting his strategies for negotiating the next deal of Vincent Lecavalier, Kristopher Letang or Patrice Bergeron from the rooftops.

• Also read: Vincent Lecavalier: in the shoes of choice

• Also read – NHL Draft: The Canadian’s future in a pick

As GM, Hughes took a similar tactic three days before the NHL draft, which will see the Canadians pick first for the first time since 1980.

The 52-year-old kept his options open, such as trading the first pick, getting another top three pick or improving his lot with the second pick (26th overall) in the first round.

As for the identity of the future First Class, Hughes has merely confirmed what we have suspected for several weeks. With Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley there are three candidates.

“Yes, it’s between the three strikers,” said Hughes.

“We really want to evaluate players, we want to predict a player’s future,” he explained. The question is how far a player could go. We need to look at where he is now and where he can go in his NHL career. We don’t want to determine who is the best player at 18, but who will be the best player at 22, 23 or 24. We have to find out who can help us in a long way and who will make us a better team for several seasons. »

Similar experiences

Installed to Hughes’ right, his former agent Vincent Lecavalier also answered media questions. In 1998, Lecavalier was fortunate enough to be the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first overall pick.

24 years ago, Lecavalier wore the colors of the Rimouski Oceanic and dreamed of a long career in the NHL. Lecavalier, who is now the CH’s special adviser on hockey operations, shared his experience with Wright, who has long been in the spotlight with the Kingston Frontenacs.

“It’s not easy, you have pressure every night,” recalled the former center. You’re only 17, not 25 or 30 with ten years of experience. In my last season in Rimouski I had a lot of ups and downs, especially mentally. Everyone tells you about it, you can’t get away from it. I learned a lot about him, he’s a good person. »

Three players, three different realities

Hughes, Jeff Gorton, Martin Lapointe, Nikolai Bobrov and the other Habs hockey men will continue their discussions to determine the organization’s trusted pick. While there is still debate among Boy Scouts, Hughes has since admitted that he prefers one of the three tenors. At the 22nd question with a similar angle, he winced a little.

“We will all be with the recruiters for the first time on Monday evening. I have a certain preference. But I want to hear from everyone. I don’t have all the answers in the world. I want to listen to everyone. »

The CH has to choose between three players who have experienced different realities. Wright captained the Frontenacs in the Ontario Junior League, Cooley played for the United States U18 program, while Slafkovsky spent the year targeting men with TPS Turku in Finland or with the Slovakia team at the Olympics and World Cup skating

“You have to look at projections and think about what will become of them. Not in 2023, but in three or five years, Lecavalier said. We’re talking about three different players, but three good players. »

Possible transactions

Despite presenting the draft at the Bell Center, Hughes didn’t check the option to trade the first choice.

“I’m aware it wouldn’t be the most popular decision,” he replied. But if consolation happened tonight, we would call up a player. It is my responsibility to continue to work for the good of CH in the future. We look at the options. »

“The chances are greater that we will advance with our second choice in the first round (26th) than to swap our first choice altogether,” the DG specified a few minutes later.

On paper, the Habs have 14 draft choices, including eight choices from the first 100 choices (1st, 26th, 33rd, 62nd, 66th, 75th, 92nd, and 98th).

If Marc Bergevin had the mentality of getting as many darts as possible in a draft, Hughes logically should prioritize quality over quantity.

Leave a Comment