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What Number will Grigorenko Wear?

Stranger things have happened …

It is too bad Mike Milbury is not a G.M. any longer. If so – the chances of the Montreal Canadiens landing Nail Yakupov would be enormous! Sadly, Milbury has been resigned to rough up Pee Wee hockey players who dare cross his son …

The draft is coming this Friday. The Canadiens, barring a Milbury- esque move by the Oilers or Columbus; will select third. According to a source, the Habs will select Mikhail Grigorenko with their pick – they would be stupid not to.

Consider the choices.

Yakupov will end up number one and become a Gretzky alma mater. Columbus desperately requires a defenceman so Ryan Murray will end up in Columbus. Edmonton also needs someone to keep the puck out of the net, a scenario is the Oilers and Bluejackets flip- flop their picks. Plausible yet unlikely.

Which leaves Grigorenko, Forsberg and Galchenyuk.

Filip Forsberg is a power forward who has said he will not play in the NHL for at least a year. Forsberg is not what the Habs need right now. They have an abundance of power- type forwards. Pacioretty, Bourque, Cole to name a few. The Habs do not need someone to create chaos, they need someone to create open ice. Which brings us to …

Alex Galchenyuk is a big strong talented kid. Some say better than Grigorenko. Think of Mario Lemieux with Bobby Orr knees. That is the problem. The Montreal Canadiens have a golden opportunity to pick a player who can lead the team offensively for many years to come. They have an opportunity to buy a Porsche. Do they need a car with a dented fender?

Mikhail Grigorenko is the perfect fit for the Habs. Young, talented and a natural goal scorer. Take away his bout with mono – the only player of the three who arrives ready to play. Add the fact he has played in Quebec and has an idea of what to expect in Montreal. Patrick Roy was his coach, be sure the former Hab goaltender has spoken to Bergevin et al regarding the kids’ character among other things. Be sure Roy has spoken to Grigorenko of Montreal and what he can reap if he stays focused.

The only thing Montreal must do is to ensure Grigorenko does not fall into the same void Price did. The Habs need to babysit the kid and make sure he is kept away from the nightclubs. This is the reason the team has hired Lapointe et al. Player development means to grab a guy like Grigorenko by the hand until he is able to collect his first Art Ross trophy.

The draft is on June 22.

Stranger things can happen …

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