Hughes: « We try to assess the player’s throw line »

BROSSARD – General Manager Kent Hughes and Special Advisor for Hockey Operations Vincent Lecavalier spoke to the media at the Bell Sports Complex on Monday afternoon.

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During the press conference, Hughes confirmed that the Canadiens have not yet decided on the player they will call in the very first row.

Three players are currently being considered by Habs management, namely forwards Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovský and Logan Cooley.

Hughes said a consensus on the first choice has not been reached because he would first like to hear the opinion of all the club’s scouts, now gathered in Montreal for preliminary meetings.

The Canadiens GM hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trading the first-ever pick if a must-have offer arises, but if the Draft takes place tonight, he’ll step up to the microphone and announce the long-awaited decision.

Here are some excerpts from the media availability:

Hughes on the selection criteria for first overall choice:

It’s really to evaluate the players. What we’re trying to do is predict the future of a day; we are looking at where he is now and where he could go as a player in the National League. It is really at this level that we make our assessments. It’s not a question of who is the best player at 18, it’s to see who could be the best player at 22, 23 or 24 and who can help us have a team capable of winning year after year. year.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Choosing the best player for the future. #GoHabsGo | #NHLDraft

Hughes on being able to trade the first pick:

I’m aware that wouldn’t be the most popular move with fans. If the Draft was tonight, we would draft a player. But, at the same time, my responsibility is to work for the good of Canadians for the future, so we will certainly always look at our options.

Hughes on the details the team needs to discuss:

We try to assess the player’s throw line. You can look at a hockey player and say, “This is how he is as a player right now, where he’s playing. « Players play in different leagues, at different levels, and we try to observe them and estimate: « This guy is able to do this at this level, but can he do it at the next level? ? There is the hockey aspect. There is also the aspect of position. There are all these things to assess. Can he play this position to the next level? You also have to take into account that it is difficult to be 17 and to be scrutinized, as Shane is and as others have been before him. But it’s probably even harder to be the first overall pick in Montreal. So in our assessment, we don’t just look at the hockey player, we assess his character and his ability to deal with this kind of pressure on a constant basis.

Hughes on building for the future, with 14 choices at his disposal:

Having the first overall pick is exciting. I expect our choice to be used, but I can’t promise that would be the case even if we received a phone call and the offer was too good to refuse. We have the ability to add one or more important elements to our organization because we have several draft picks that we hope to see for the next 10 or 15 years in the organization. As for the possibility of making trades or modifying our formation, the thing that we are clearly trying to do – and that’s why we exchanged Shea Weber’s contract – is to achieve some financial flexibility to be able to agree with the players we have and to perhaps add other players along the way.

Hughes on the process of analyzing a player’s potential:

We watch games. We assess what is in their game and what they need or could improve. Identifying what they need to do to become better hockey players is easy. But to assume that all players have the will to learn and the ability to learn and translate that into matches, which are very instinctive and reactive, would be unrealistic. I often made this mistake when I started. I would look at a player and say, “With good coaches, this guy is going to be an A, B or C.” But sometimes that’s not the case. Ultimately, we try to see the complexity of the changes necessary for a person to reach their full potential. Who’s the best right now? Who has the most potential? The level of risk and benefit of these choices is assessed. We don’t hesitate that much. We simply want to invite our group to have an opinion and to better understand how it evaluates and thinks.

Hughes on the character traits he looks for in a prospect:

We do interviews, so we discover their character. We speak with many people who know them from different times and journeys in their lives. Then there is a facet of a player’s character that you see when he plays. It’s not long before you understand what temperament Brendan Gallagher a when you look at it on the ice. We see its competitiveness. Character is important to us. I don’t think talent is enough for most people. Mario Lemieux could probably have relied on his talent alone, but he is in a very small group of hockey players. We value hockey flair, but to me it also includes being able to understand your skills and your best assets, and how they can have maximum impact in the game.

Lecavalier offers his most valuable advice to the first choice overall:

That’s something I would tell anyone at the Draft. It doesn’t matter what position you’re drafted from. As soon as the draft is over, whether you’re first or 200th, everyone’s goal is now to make it to the NHL. Being a first-round pick might give you a chance to show off sooner, but basically forget the Draft and move on to the next step. Now you have to tell yourself that: “You are part of the team and your one and only goal is to be part of the formation as soon as possible or when the time comes. “I advise you to enjoy the day, but after that, you have to get to work and do everything in your power to achieve your dream.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: A few words of wisdom from Vinny. #GoHabsGo | #NHLDraft

Hughes explains that the first pick doesn’t have to be ready to jump into the NHL right away:

We will be patient. The most important thing with all prospects is that they realize their full potential as hockey players. And if all our players reach their potential, I think that, as an organization, we will be more successful in the future.

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