Sam Dickinson increased his draft stock with a great showing with the London Knights in the OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup. Online scouting websites have him ranked anywhere from third to tenth. However, Dickinson still feels like a bit of a reach at No. 5. The Canadiens have a history of reaching for a defenseman who fits their vision, but drafting Sam Dickinson may receive some backlash this year after the 2023 NHL Draft debacle.

The Montreal Canadiens had the opportunity to take Russian star Matvei Michkov last season at No. 5 overall. Instead, they took David Reinbacher, citing concerns about Michkov's contract in Russia. The move instantly faced criticism, which only intensified this week when experts reported that Michkov would be signing with the Philadelphia Flyers for this upcoming season. There is a possibility that Michkov could make his NHL debut before Reinbacher, which won't go over well with Canadiens fans.

If this year's Russian prospect Ivan Demidov is available and the Canadiens take Dickinson instead, there may be an uprising.

Dickinson may not be the best fit for the Canadiens, but that doesn't mean he isn't worthy of a top-ten selection. Dickinson is a typical new-age defenseman, demonstrating effectiveness at both ends of the ice. He is a rangy defenseman who doesn't allow forwards to make moves past him with his long reach but also moves the puck up the ice easily with above-average skating and vision.

Dickinson showed off his offensive abilities by recording 70 points in 68 games during the regular season and 17 points in 22 games during the playoffs and the Memorial Cup.

Let's examine why the Montreal Canadiens shouldn't select Sam Dickinson in the 2024 NHL Draft.

The Canadiens' defensive depth is a strength

sam dickinson nhl draft

The Canadiens taking a defenseman with the fifth overall pick would be a mistake, as they desperately need more scoring help. Montreal already has a multitude of defensemen in their system that could challenge for a spot in the NHL. Eight of those defensemen are 23 or younger, and three are older but under contract for next season.

There are rumors that the Canadiens could trade some of those older players for immediate offensive help, but even if one or two go the other way, there are still too many defensemen for limited spots.

The future of the Montreal Canadiens defense core after Mike Matheson and David Savard leave looks secure. They have Jordan Harris, Lane Hutson, Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, Adam Engstrom, and Jayden Struble on the left side. They also have David Reinbacher, Logan Mailloux, and Justin Barron on the right side.

As a left-shot defenseman, there isn't much room for Sam Dickinson to fit into this lineup, and they'd have to move on from many valuable players to make it work.

The Canadiens forward group is a work in progress, and they should trade Savard or Matheson for immediate help from a player like Trevor Zegras, Martin Necas, or Patrik Laine.

Montreal's forward depth will all of a sudden be looking a lot better with one of these scoring forwards added, plus a player like Ivan Demidov, Cayden Lindstrom, Beckett Sennecke, or Berkly Catton with the fifth pick.

Other defensemen are a better fit than Sam Dickinson

The Canadiens should remain clear of a defenseman and take a forward instead. However, if they aren't interested in any of the forwards available, there are defensemen other than Dickinson who would be a better fit. The belief is that Artom Levshunov and Anton Silayev will go second and third, leaving the Blue Jackets to choose between Cayden Lindstrom and Ivan Demidov.

The Blackhawks may also be interested in Ivan Demidov, which could allow Levshunov to fall. The better course for the Canadiens would be to take Levshunov over Dickinson, as he could slide in on the right side with David Reinbacher and form their top four for the foreseeable future. The Canadiens could roll out a right side of Levshunov, Reinbacher, and Mailloux, with Hutson, Guhle, and Harris on the left. It would put all players on their strong sides and be a more comfortable fit for everyone.

If Levshunov wasn't available, they could also take Zayne Parekh. Parekh is an offensive defenseman who could slide in on the right side. There are concerns that the Canadiens would have too many of the same defensemen, with Mailloux, Hutson, and Parekh, but the gap between Parekh and Dickinson isn't that large.

Sam Dickinson will be a great player for a long time, but he shouldn't go to the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL Draft.