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The 5th Overall Pick: Ivan Demidov + Laine E4?

June 18, 2024, 6:41 PM ET [7006 Comments]
Brandon Smillie
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hello again Habs fans!

The Stanley Cup presentation may finish up a fantastic 2024 NHL season tonight and then the focus will fully turn to the 2024 NHL Draft. With that the energy will shift from watching what the leagues best have done this post-season to what the have nots of the NHL will be doing to turn their franchises around.

With that in mind, please have a read of my latest profile of a potential Montreal Canadien...

Ivan Demidov.

Demidov just today had some meet and greet time with his potential new business partners and appeared to impress off the ice (as he is currently healing from an apparent ankle injury). One of the noticeable talking points from today is that Demidov is most certainly at least 6' tall and filled out more than people knew. He also is very well versed in English and had no need for interpreters. There has been blame placed on many avoiding going overseas to properly scout the prospect as to why these are revelations today, but is just sounds like lazy scouting with a mix of politics sprinkled in to me. Either way, with the picks from 2-8 appearing as locked in as Rory McElroy's putting on the 16-18 holes this past weekend at Pinehurst #2 we can speculate on a potential draft slider due to "being born in Russia".

Demidov is listed on EP as 18 years old (Dec. 10, 2005), 5'11" (which will likely be updated by this evening if they get official numbers), and 168 lbs. From the X posts today people are speculating that he is at least 6' tall and likely more than 168 lbs so it will be interesting to see how much physical development he has had this season. Ivan expressed disappointment with not spending much time in the KHL this season and it appears that after his contract is expired next season he will be coming to North America. All this combined with speculation he could be the most offensively electrifying player in the draft should mean he is a top 5 pick but sliders happen, Demidov has been mentioned many times as a potential slider due to bias against his nationality and the absurdly strong defensive class this season. Could he be gone at #2/3/4? Very possible, but I would argue that the Hawks need a future blue line top pair D and there is much speculation that they would love to land Levshunov. The Ducks could take him and ease their mind about trading Zegras away, or they could take a player like Silyev and project him with Mintyukov for the next 12 years. Columbus (rumored today by Ek to be working on sending Laine to MTL) would also be a potential landing spot for Demidov but I could also make the case for them to take the high potential power C in Lindstrom or even the supremely skilled Catton or add another blue chip D to their bursting treasure chest of blue chip D prospects. Should Demidov slide to MTL you would hope they don't pass like they did with Michkov available. Comparatively, they posted very similar numbers/pace in their pre-draft seasons except that Demidov as all MHL this past season while Michkov put up 20 pts in 27 KHL games to Demidov's 60 pts in 30 MHL games. Michkov is also listed as slightly smaller than Demidov, physically.

Why would the Habs take Demidov over some of the players we have profiled so far? It is likely that whomever HuGo takes with 5th overall won't be playing meaningful minutes in MTL next season so Demidov working through his contract isn't an issue. It is also evident that the MTL D pool is much, much deeper than their potential game breaking F pool, so taking someone who may be an elite offensive weapon makes all the sense. Habs boast Suzuki, Caufield, and Slafkovsky up front as our long-term top 6 leaders. There are some interesting names in the system that have had some big seasons in small leagues that will need chances for looks but outside of Josh Roy, I don't see many that scream potential star. I'm not saying none of their current group could do that, just saying that if the Habs take Demidov in a couple weeks he's instantly their top prospect. Should Demidov be the real deal as some speculate then the top 6 of Suzuki, Caufield, Slafkovsky, Demidov with all those blue chip puck moving D propsects developing could be the makings of a highly competitive team in 2+ seasons.

Side note, if the Habs keep their late 1st and Lane's brother Cole Hutson is available I'm all aboard the Hutson Hab Family train. End of note.

I think there's a 33% chance Demidov makes it to MTL but if he does it could be a chance for another huge draft day steal akin to when the Habs landed Caufield, except the potential could be much higher for Demidov. What do you all think? Demidov a slam dunk at #5, if there, or would you prefer another direction?

OVERTIME: OK, Laine to the Habs E4 today. So, that probably means the late 2024 1st, a D prospect, and a F prospect or someone like Anderson goes back for Laine.... Oooffff...... I used to be a big Laine supporter and he clearly has skill. What he lacks appears to be high speed internal motor, desire, and an ability to stay healthy. We already wasted a 1st and good D man to pick up a band aid disappointment in Dach. I wouldn't make the same mistake here. If Hugo and Co. are destined to move that late 1st to try and turn the corner faster then I hope it's on someone like Zegras (who has ins with his bud Caufield) rather than a very high priced, high risk/reward reclamation project. If players like Gallagher and Anderson are still Habs in October then I can't see how Laine works out once he gets called out for not skating or playing hard. It will end up like Laine always ends up, on his own island looking for a way out. Don't waste the assets or the spot on the team. Habs could turn this rebuild corner hard within 18 months + and we don't need any lazy, high priced players affecting the young guns development.
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