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Habs VP Jeff Gorton cagey on who Canadiens are looking at in draft

Jeff Gorton Montreal Canadiens Jeff Gorton - The Canadian Press

While Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has proclaimed loud and clear that he would like to select a forward with the fifth pick of the NHL draft, his boss, vice-president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton, was more cautious in his comments on the eve of the first round.

Gorton merely said that he prefers the philosophy that the team picks the best player available, not the one who fills a void at a position.

"I know that Kent has made it clear that he wants a forward to have a little fun with you," said Gorton during a press scrum at the chic Fontainebleau Hotel on Thursday. "We're on the eve of the draft and there are a lot of cameras and people here. To say exactly what we're going to do, I'm not comfortable with that. I'm of the philosophy that we want to take the best player available. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

Gorton acknowledged that it was difficult for his group to guess which players would be selected before they were given the floor.

"If there's consensus on the top spot, with the San Jose Sharks expected to select Canadian forward Macklin Celebrini, rumors go in all directions after that," said Gorton.

Several good defensemen are available, such as Russian Anton Silayev, Belarusian Artyom Levshunov, American Zeev Buium and Canadian Zayne Parekh. Other forwards in the top group include Canada's Cayden Lindstrom and Russia's Ivan Demidov.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 27, 2024.