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Canadiens unsure what they'll do with No. 3 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Could shape first round after expected selections of Dahlin, Svechnikov

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

DALLAS -- The Montreal Canadiens have the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on Friday, and general manager Marc Bergevin said he isn't sure what they'll do with it.

The decision could have a ripple effect through the rest of the first round.

As for whether Montreal can get a player at No. 3 who will provide help right away, Bergevin said Thursday, "It's hard to tell. There's always a possibility but that's why you have training camp.

"I could tell you, there's not one GM right now or one scout that can tell you five years from now who is going to be the best player. I mean, there are guys ahead now but you'd like to look at projection, where they're going to be at the end. There's no clear-cut [choice] right now as we speak."

 

[RELATED: Dahlin, Svechnikov unanimous 1-2 in final 2018 mock draft]

 

The first round of the draft is Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 are Saturday (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS).

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin from Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League is almost certainly going to the Buffalo Sabres at No. 1. The Carolina Hurricanes are expected to pick right wing Andrei Svechnikov from Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League at No. 2. So the intrigue really figures to begin with the Canadiens at No. 3.

Do they select left wing Brady Tkachuk from Boston University? Do they take right wing Filip Zadina from Halifax in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League? Or maybe Jesperi Kotkaniemi, a center from Assat in Liiga, Finland's top professional league? 

Or do they trade the pick, which Bergevin wouldn't rule out?

Video: Sam Cosentino previews the 2018 NHL Draft

"There have been discussions but nothing concrete," he said. "It usually happens on the floor."

Other GMs are expecting things to get interesting once Montreal is on the clock. They include Stan Bowman of the Chicago Blackhawks, who have the No. 8 pick.

"Once you get to the third spot, it'll be hard to predict 3-7 what's going to happen," Bowman said. "We've had discussions about potentially moving up but a lot of teams in the 3-7 range … they're unsure they want to move down because they may get someone they value highly at their spot."

The Canadiens finished sixth in the Atlantic Division (29-40-13, 71 points) and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Montreal has 10 picks, the most since it had 11 in the 2003 NHL Draft. 

Bergevin said he will do what he can to make the Canadiens better now, but that he also has to consider their long-term future.  

"I'm very excited," Bergevin said. "It's a hefty price to pay to get that pick and we did our homework and we're ready to go."

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