First-round picks trades in the works ahead of NHL Draft!  

First-round picks trades in the works ahead of NHL Draft!

With the lottery in the books, top picks are being discussed on the trade market.

Chris Gosselin

It is pretty much set in stone that the San Jose Sharks, who won the NHL Draft lottery, will select top prospect Macklin Celebrini with the first overall pick in June. What isn’t so sure is what other teams in the Top 10 heading into the Draft will do with their respective selection, and there are more and more talks that one or more first-round picks will be traded ahead or during the draft in Las Vegas.

According to Hockey News’ Michael Augello, teams like the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres could consider parting with their high first-round picks.

Augello wonders if immediate veteran help could be what the Sabres need, seeing that there is an impressive pool of young developing players in Buffalo, notably in former first-rounders Zach Benson, Jiri Kulich , Noah Ostlund , Isak Rosen , Matthew Savoie and Ryan Johnson. If the Sabres and new head coach Lindy Ruff look to enter a “win-now situation”, they could turn to teams like the Vegas Golden Knights , Winnipeg Jets , St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets, looking for cap relief.

As for the Canadiens, they are still in a rebuilding mode, but Augello’s colleague, Chris Galanopoulos reminded fans how general manager Kent Hughes himself indicated he could be open to a trade if it helps his team. There is a sense however that Montreal would only part with that pick if it were offered a young, established NHL scoring forward in a trade.

Earlier this season, rumours had emerged that the Canadiens could be interested in Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks. Back then, Anaheim GM Pat Verbeek insisted he’s not shopping him, but things could change if the fifth overall pick is on the table.

I guess we will find out more closer to the 2024 NHL draft, which will be held on June 28 and 29 at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

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