Montreal Canadiens fans haven’t had much to be excited about this season. Missing the playoffs and finishing fourth last in the entire NHL has many Habs fans angered and calling for general manager Marc Bergevin to be fired. While that’s not about the happen, there is something for Habs fans to be excited for. The NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday, April 28th.
What Winning the Draft Lottery Would Mean for the Montreal Canadiens
Every year there is always a debate over who will be chosen first overall. Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine. Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick. However, this season is a little different. While there is some high-end talent in this year’s draft such as Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina and Brady Tkachuk, there’s one player who stands out above the rest, and that’s Rasmus Dahlin.
Dahlin is the clear cut number one pick in this years draft and is a generational talent. He possesses all the skills needed to be a top pairing defenceman in the NHL. The Canadiens have the 4th best odds at winning the lottery this season. Winning the lottery and getting the chance to draft Dahlin would be a complete game changer for the Canadiens organization.
Dahlin is a generational talent. His skating ability is astonishing. Not only is he fast, his acceleration allows him to pick up speed quickly, so he’s able to chase down opponents and close the gap very quickly. He’s very agile and has outstanding edge work which allows him to transition from offence to defence effortlessly.
Dahlin’s offensive abilities are elite. He has elite vision which allows him to execute the breakout with great efficiency, even when it seems like there is no play to be made. If Dahlin doesn’t see an opening, he is able to rush the puck out of the zone on his own and then slow things down once he gains the line. Dahlin has an outstanding shot with a quick release, and can also quarterback the powerplay. He’s a threat every time he’s on the ice.
Defensively is much of the same for Dahlin. He has great positioning and tends to keep his opponents to the outside. While he’s not the most physical defenseman, he’s not afraid to use his body in the corners to win puck battles. Dahlin has very good stick work, allowing him to strip opponents of the puck or poke the puck away very efficiently. His skating ability also allows him to close the gap on his opponents, making him very hard to play against.
Perfect Partner for Shea Weber
Winning the rights to draft Dahlin would answer the Habs questions as to who will play with Weber next season. Currently, the Habs don’t have a player who’s fully capable of being a top pairing defenseman on the left side. Dahlin would fill this role perfectly. His speed and puck moving ability would make him the perfect compliment to Weber’s shut down style of game. They would certainly be one of the hardest defence pairs to play against for years to come.
Injection of Youth
Adding Dahlin to the defence group would inject some more youth to the Habs defence group. Dahlin would be the third member of the Habs defence under the age of 22 as he would join Victor Mete (19) and Noah Juulsen (21) on the back end. With the NHL moving towards speed and skill, this would solidify each defence pair with just that. The Habs would be moving forward with a solid defence group that would look like this next season:
Rasmus Dahlin-Shea Weber
Help Bring in More Top Talent
Going into free agency, teams have to be able to sell themselves to the top players as to why they should sign with their respected team. Getting a player of Dahlin’s calibre sells itself. Free agents will look at who is already in the organization and if they are players they would like to play with moving forward. Every player wants to play with elite players like Dahlin. He makes everyone else’s job around him so much easier and makes everyone else around him better. This would give the Habs an edge when trying to sign such players as John Tavares this off-season.
Habs Fate Revealed Saturday Night
As Hab fans all over the world anxiously wait for the announcement of who will pick first overall, one thing is for sure. Winning the lottery would be a game changer for the Habs organization. Dahlin is in a class of his own and would solidify the defence for years to come. It would breathe a sigh of relief to Marc Bergevin and company and would allow them to shift their focus to other team needs to turn them into a Stanley Cup Contender next season.
Main Photo: TORONTO, ON – JULY 6 – Prospect Rasmus Dahlin during the practice.
Don Meehan’s agency, Newport Sports Management, held a camp for his top prospects for the 2018 NHL draft. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)