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I’m going to completely contradict myself but several days after my confused and less than optimistic response to the firing of head coach Dominique Ducharme, and the hiring of Martin St. Louis, I think that I now know what Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes are up to.

They are quietly telling us that, at least for 2022, that former Leaf GM Cliff Fletcher was right when he said, “Draft Schmaft.” They’re just smart enough not to say it out loud.

Gorton and Hughes have done their due diligence and must see that this summer’s upcoming draft is simply nothing worth tanking for. Keeping Ducharme therefore, served no purpose.

Indeed, if anything, keeping him around might have further harmed the Canadiens’ already fragile mindset and thus undermined their ultimate plan of trading their way out of this trainwreck of a season.

Every scouting report that I have read says that there is no generational talent player to be found in this year’s crop. They must see the top five selections as being second liners at best. There is no Connor McDavid to land who’s worth risking the careers of the Cole Caufield types already in the system. Just a few days after the hire of St. Louis, I now believe that Gorton and Hughes are “Wright” on this matter.

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that COVID-19 is the main culprit for what originally was touted as a bumper crop draft. Many of the players aged 15-17 during the last few years have had stunted development due to lockdowns. These are critically formative years that can’t be made up again.

Likewise, players in their early 20s such as Cole Caufield, Ryan Poehling, Alexander Romanov, and to a lesser degree Nick Suzuki, need mentoring during their final development years.

Ducharme was not making enough of a difference on these young men. A Hall of Fame player, turned coach with Rockyesque street creds, has the credentials to command their respect. When St. Louis talks shop, players listen. Over the next two months at least, he will become their ultimate consigliere.

St. Louis also has the motivational potential to boost the trade value of Montreal’s veteran players. This is even more essential than continuing the tank.

Athletic success and psychological well-being go hand-in-hand. Thanks to COVID, the player’s mindsets are fragile and most want a change of scenery living and working in lockdown/curfew-leading Montreal.

The work environment has become toxic. Look at Jeff Petry. He clearly looks burnt out – and he’s a seasoned vet. Imagine what the last few years have done to the younger, more vulnerable players on Montreal’s roster.

The Canadiens are a team in need of a blood transfusion. Fresh, new faces, young ones, would do wonders for this club.

The rot has started to set in and it’s best that the Petry’s on the roster be let go. They need to be set free. Wherever most of them land, they will thrive along the same lines as Max Pacioretty.

There are five to seven players who could, if their trade value increases, land potential Nick Suzuki-type prospects and thus, speed up the rebuild.

Despite the purge when Marc Bergevin and his lieutenants were let go, the Habs’ premiere pro scouting department has remained intact. I, therefore, have faith that they, in tandem with Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, can land prospects who are two to three years away from maturation similar to the recently-acquired Emil Heineman.

We all know that major trades are coming – we have already seen one this week with the Tyler Toffoli trade. The multi-million dollar question though, is how?

Will the Habs, when trading, subsidize/retain player salaries in order to obtain quality prospects from contenders?

Will they trade in twos to Western Conference contenders and start a mini-arms race? If they did, this too could boost the trade value of Montreal’s veterans.

Will the Canadiens even trade their first pick from this year’s draft for a more certain 20-22-year-old prospect?

Of course, all that I’ve said here is speculative. I’m not a fly on the wall in Montreal’s upper management offices. What I do know is that neither Gorton nor Hughes strike me as being incompetent. They are very good chess players. Their first move of taking out their coach is whispering something.

And, if my ears are correct, I hear the words, “Draft Schmaft.”