Hughes and the Canadiens may have made a big move and pulled off a steal by adding young defenseman Bogdan Konyushkov
BY DAVID ST-JEAN JULY 30, 2023 (5:15 PM)
In addition to Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, and Justin Barron, all of whom have already played with the Canadiens, the organization also has talented young defensemen such as Lane Hutson, Logan Mailloux, David Reinbacher, and Adam Engstrom.
However, one defenseman is often overlooked by fans and analysts, and that is Russian defenseman Bogdan Konyushkov. The 4th-round pick in the last NHL draft has the potential to surprise and, according to Marc Dumont from the website Montreal Hockey Now, he could even surpass Logan Mailloux.
In a recent "Habs Mailbag" column, Dumont, who has also worked for the Canadiens in recent years, projected the future defense of the team when all players reach their maturity. You might be surprised to see that he envisions Logan Mailloux becoming a seventh defenseman and Konyushkov being slotted on the team's third defensive pair.
Here is his projection:
Konyushkov, who was recently signed until the end of the 2025-2026 season with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL, will arrive in North America fully prepared. During his first season with Torpedo, he recorded two goals and 23 assists, totaling 25 points in 64 games, and added 5 points in 10 playoff games.
Take a look at how he performs against men, right here:
You can also note in Dumont's projection the absence of Justin Barron, Arber Xhekaj, and Johnathan Kovacevic. The journalist believes that the Canadiens will find new opportunities for these players in the coming years to make room for the younger prospects who are pushing for a spot.
In my opinion, prioritizing Jordan Harris over Arber Xhekaj would be a mistake, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. We saw what happened in the absence of the player nicknamed "Wi-Fi" last season, as the team really missed his physicality and tenacity.
We will see what the future holds, but Kent Hughes might have a higher potential return with Harris than Xhekaj, and thus retain the services of a physical defenseman.
Dumont includes another underrated defenseman from the organization in his projection, William Trudeau. He had an impressive season with the Laval Rocket in 2022-2023 and will be a key player for the organization in the upcoming campaign. Seeing him as one of the extras in this projected lineup is well-deserved for someone drafted 113th overall in the 2021 draft.