Trades, picks, signings? Habs GM confirms top three candidates

A few days ahead of the Montreal Canadiens first overall draft pick, general manager Kent Hughes says there are still three candidates in the running for the top spot.

Speaking to the press on Monday, he said it's between forwards Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley -- but the general consensus appears to be that Wright will snag the first pick.

The Burlington, Ontario-native is a 6'1", 200-pound, right-handed centreman who spent his playing days in the OHL for the Kingston Frontenacs. He's 18.

After a rough season, Thursday will be the first time in over 40 years the Habs have the first pick.

Hughes said he's looking for a player with long-term potential -- someone who can grow the team year after year.

"We're not just evaluating hockey players, we're evaluating character," he said. "It's hard to be 17 years old and be under the microscope."

Canadien's special advisor Vincent Lecavalier also addressed the media on Monday.

As a former first-pick himself, he had some advice for whoever is chosen Thursday: don't let it go to your head.

"It doesn't matter if you're first or 200th. Forget about the draft and move on. You're part of the team now."

Since 2001, the Habs have picked in the top 10 spots.

Mike Komisarek (7, 2001), Carey Price (5, 2005), Alex Galchenyuk (3, 2012), Mikhail Sergachev (9, 2016), and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3, 2018). 

Coming off a last-place, forget-as-soon-as-possible season of misery, it's safe to say the Habs could use help in just about every position, and two young stars would give fans something to salivate (or obsess) over.

Draft aside, the ongoing "will he ever play again" saga surrounding star goalie Carey Price continues, and it would come as little surprise if the Habs moved a veteran or two like Jeff Petry or Christian Dvorak (maybe Josh Anderson?).

The draft starts Thursday in Montreal. 

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