The Ahtletic: Ryan Poehling and Jesperi Kotkaniemi among Habs’ worst draft picks

We were obviously keeping an eye on the Montreal Canadiens section as there were unfortunately several options on the table to choose from.

In fact, the Habs have made a number of mistakes in the past, some of which still sting to this day, and clearly affect the team’s performance.

The first mistakes of the Tricolore, mentioned by Eric Duhatschek of The Athleticare two that date back to the early ’80s, when the Habs took Doug Wickeneiser first overall in the 1980 draft over Denis Savard.

Savard became a great hockey player in Chicago, while Wickeneiser never reached the level expected of a first overall pick.

Mark Hunter’s selection at No. 7 the following year is also a tough pill to swallow when you realize that Hall of Fame goaltender Grant Fuhr was selected right after at No. 8.

And more recently, it was the picks of Ryan Poehling in 2017 and Jesperi Kotkaniemi in 2018 that caught The Athletic ‘s attention as one of the Habs’ worst draft mistakes.

In the case of Poehling placing 25ᵉ in 2017, it was not a bad choice at the time, especially since a few months later he won the title of MVP of the World Junior Championships.

But in the end, aside from his hat trick in his first NHL game, Poehling never really developed with the Tricolore and today is nothing more than a fourth-line center in the NHL.

He’s a late first-round pick of the Habs and therefore somehow less important, but when you look at the player who was selected right after him, it hurts.

It was Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger who was drafted immediately after, an excellent NHL goaltender at this time who clearly would have helped the Habs in their post-Carey Price era.

And at No. 39, the Dallas Stars got their hands on one Jason Robertson.

In short, the Habs really could have added a complete player to their team, but in the end it was the Stars who added two in the same draft.

And as for the selection of Kotkaniemi, well, everyone in Montreal knows today that his selection was a mistake, as it left Brady Tkachuk on a silver platter to a division rival, the fourth-place Ottawa Senators.

Tkachuk quickly became a headliner in Ottawa, even becoming the team’s captain, while KK will likely never be more than a third-line center, or even a fourth-line center considering his struggles in Carolina .

We can even talk about Quinn Hughes, who was selected seventh overall and is now one of the best defensemen in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks.

Over time

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