We already know who the Canadiens are targeting at the 2023 Draft

Published February 6, 2023 at 4:20 PM

The Montreal Canadiens are lucky to have a general manager with experience in many facets of hockey.

Kent Hughes has scouted, coached, and has been an agent for decades. He is one of the brightest minds in hockey, and that is already becoming apparent through some of his trades and moves.

He is notably good at avoiding nepotism, as he had five chances to draft his son Jack Hughes at the 2022 draft, but went for different players.

However, the nepotism discussion may come to a different level this year, as he will have the chance to draft talented centre Will Smith from the USNTDP program. Hughes coached Smith for almost three years as a junior, and is very familiar with his game.

Here is Smith talking about Hughes, who he's kept in contact with since the latter became general manager:

"He was my coach for about two or three years, but I knew Kent before from when he was in the agency world, and I knew his kids too because we all went to the same school, St-Sebastian," said Smith regarding his existing relationship with the current Canadiens general manager. "We knew his family and then he became our coach and, from there on, he was great; such a great hockey mind. You see him now, he's the GM coming from coaching our team; it's pretty cool."

"Having him around was really nice. Just having his phone number to text or call him for advice; to see if he sees something in your he wants to talk about," said Smith about keeping in touch with Kent Hughes. "He's a great resource. We've kept in touch (since Hughes became general manager)."

Smith's game is very attractive for a team like the Canadiens, who already have high-skill wingers in the system.

While there are valid questions about his pure upside, it's relatively safe to assume Smith will be a valuable second-line centre on any team - that's incredibly valuable.

His game is resonant of Logan Cooley's, who the Canadiens were notably high on at the 2022 draft. He lacks a little bit of dynamism, but makes up for it with a more powerful game.

If he's still available where the Habs are picking, the odds are looking good that Will Smith will be wearing the CH crest come July 26th.
February 6   |   428 answers
We already know who the Canadiens are targeting at the 2023 Draft

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