The Montreal Canadiens pick Slovak Slafkovsky first in the NHL Draft

The Slovak Juraj Slafkovsky, voted best player of the Olympic tournament this winter, was chosen in first position for the 2022 NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens on the night of Thursday to Friday.

Many Montreal Canadiens fans hoped their franchise would select Ontarian Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL) in first place in the 2022 NHL Draft. Finally, the Habs, who inherited the first draft pick for the sixth time in their history after a disastrous season (last in the League), preferred Juraj Slafkovsky (TPS, Finnish Liiga) to him on the night from Thursday to Friday. Elected best player of the Olympic tournament this winter, during which he scored 7 goals in 7 games and won a bronze medal, the Slovak became the highest drafted player from his country in NHL history, ahead of Marian Gaborik (3rd choice in 2000).

The amazement was even greater at the Bell Center in Montreal a few moments when the name of Shane Wright, long favorite of observers, was once again not pronounced. It was another Slovak, defender Simon Nemec (HK Nitra, Slovak Extraliga), who was the second choice of the evening, that of the New Jersey Devils. Finally, the Canadian was drafted in fourth position by the Seattle Kraken, behind the American Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes). Not enough to redo his evening, evidenced by his dark gaze cast towards the table of Montreal leaders.


This is the second time in history that the first two draft picks have been born outside of North America. In 2004, Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) and Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins) were selected in first and second positions.

Montreal picks up Dach in Chicago

Kent Hughes, general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, had not finished surprising his world after the selection of Juraj Slafkovsky. About 20 minutes later, the former agent once again made CH supporters react when he sent commissionaire Gary Bettman on the scene to announce not one, but two exchanges involving Montreal.

The misunderstanding then took place in the spans of the Bell Center when the name of Alexander Romanov was pronounced. The Russian, darling of the Montreal public, was traded to the New York Islanders for the 98th and 13th draft picks. But the atmosphere quickly heated up when the details of the second transaction were announced: thanks to the first acquisition a few moments earlier, the Canadians went to seek the center of the Chicago Blackhawks, Kirby Dach, drafted in 3rd position in 2019.

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