Moments after drafting Juraj Slafkovsky No. 1 overall at the NHL draft, the Montreal Canadiens orchestrated a series of stunning moves to land former third-overall draft selection Kirby Dach from the liquidating Chicago Blackhawks.
First Hughes sent Alexander Romanov and the No. 98 overall selection to the New York Islanders for the 13th pick. The Canadiens then flipped that lottery selection, plus the 66th overall pick, to the Blackhawks for Dach.
To Montreal: Dach
To Chicago: Pick Nos. 13, 66
To New York: Romanov, Pick No. 98
It's a series of moves that fit the mandates, at least loosely, for all three teams, but the Islanders' involvement is somewhat peculiar. Though he does fit the Islanders' timeline better than a future draft selection, Romanov's value has diminished after two seasons at the NHL level. He's struggled to meet the lofty expectations laid out for him, most notably showing a lack of offensive upside, and therefore might not be ready for the role Lou Lamoriello seems to have him earmarked for.
It was also believed that the Islanders were involved in trade discussion for J.T. Miller, who would have represented a far more palatable return in a deal involving such a valuable futures asset.
As for Montreal, it lands an impact centre to pair with Nick Suzuki after controversially passing up on Shane Wright at No. 1. Between Slafkovsky and Cole Caufield, both Suzuki and Dach will have an impact winger to work with as the Canadiens assemble an impressive forward core under the age of 22.
Finally, Chicago is headed scorched-earth, and even 21-year-old prospects just exiting entry-level status apparently aren't safe. Just hours earlier, GM Kyle Davidson acquired a first-round draft pick by sending Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for the No. 7 overall selection. The return on Dach offers management two lottery selections after entering the day without a single pick in the first round.
The Blackhawks used the No. 7 overall pick to take defenseman Kevin Korchinski from the Seattle Thunderbirds, and turned the aforementioned No. 13 pick into U.S. development program center Frank Nazar.
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