Habs fans criticize Quebec media for comment over team's lack of homegrown picks

Austin Kelly
July 9, 2024  (3:02 PM)

Montreal Canadiens 2024 first round draft pick Michael Hage
Photo credit: The Hockey News

Habs Fans pushed back after Quebec-based sports outlet TVA Sports criticized the Montreal Canadiens lack of regional representation in their selections at the 2024 NHL Draft.

TVA questioned the lack of Quebec players being drafted by the Canadiens, which historically has had strong Francophone representation, including in the draft.
In the past, Montreal benefited in the early NHL by plucking many top stars from their backyards, including Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau & Bernie Geoffrion, without needing to go through the draft process.
Although despite popular belief, the Canadiens did not have sole rights to all Quebec-born players, but were able to gain an advantage to local non-NHL talent. In the days of NHL draft, such advantage is lost.
This year, Montreal did not take a player born in Quebec or the Maritimes with a pick, much to the upset of TVA.
In past years, Montreal has drafted from the QMJHL, taking goalie Quentin Miller last year. Also currently in the Habs prospect pool from the league are Joshua Roy, Rafael Harvey-Pinard & Riley Kidney.
Current local players include Samuel Montembault, Mike Matheson, David Savard and Alex Newhook, the latter from Newfoundland.
Fans were quick to point out that first round pick Michael Hage's family is from Quebec, and in fact spoke in French with the very same network.
Matt Drake, an editor for 'Habs Eye Of The Prize', argued it was an issue itself within Quebec hockey to have a lack of appealing draft options.

The CHL's 'America' Problem

No player from the QMJHL has been drafted in the first round of the NHL Draft since Nathan Gaucher went 22nd to Anaheim and Maveric Lamoureux went 29th to Arizona in 2022. The last QMJHL lottery pick was Alexis Lafreniere going first in 2020. The top Quebec-born player, Sacha Boisvert, opted out of the CHL route for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL.
Tynan Lawrence, the #2 ranked player in the 2024 QMJHL Draft, took the same path, committing to Muskegon as well.
The USHL's ability to take talent from Canada doesn't just extend to Quebec and the Maritimes, but across the whole country. The 2024 Draft saw multiple Canadians who ditched the CHL for America, including Hage, Boisvert, Dean Letourneau, John Mustard & Phillipe Veilleux. EJ Emery, a first rounder of the USA National Team Development Program, was a B.C. born player who grew up playing in Western Canada, although to American parents.
Other successful Canadians to cross the border include top picks Macklin Celebrini, Owen Power, Adam Fantilli & Cole Sillinger.
The issue isn't just the American leagues taking talent, but also the performance of junior leagues. In the QMJHL, only one player, Antonin Verreault, had over 100 points, leading the league with 107 points, compared to 10 WHLers and 5 OHLers reaching triple digits.
For draft eligibles, Berkly Catton led the WHL with 116, Zayne Parekh in the OHL with 96. Leading the QMJHL, Justin Poirier with 82. Poirier, who is 5'8, was a fifth round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.
In terms of the junior levels, there is a noticeable discrepancy in stats. In the GTHL U16, the most prominent Ontario Minor Hockey League, Adam Valentini led the league with 67 points in just 32 games. Two players tied in the the Western CSSHL U18 with 64 points in 30 games.
In the Quebec U18, the leader, Jérémy Loranger, had 64 points in 42 games, the league having a noticeably lower PPG among its top players vs the high scoring Ontario and Western programs.
Habs fans criticize Quebec media for comment over team's lack of homegrown picks

Should the Canadiens have drafted a homegrown player in the 2024 Draft?

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