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The Mystery of the 4th Round Draft Choice (UPDATE: SOLVED)

We all thought the Canadiens didn't have a 4th round draft choice in 2013, but maybe they do. It's very confusing.

The Wonderful Wiz
The Wonderful Wiz
Phillip MacCallum

(See Update Below)

Last June, long before I became an actual writer here, I wrote this fan post about a mystery surrounding the Canadiens possessing a fifth round draft choice - which they used to select Charles Hudon. I'll copy it into here.

The NHL, today, announced the official order of selection for the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh next Friday and Saturday. The Canadiens are scheduled to select at 3, 33, 51, 64, 94, 122, and 154. Wait, 122? That's a fifth-round selection, and it had generally been thought that Montreal doesn't have a fifth-round pick this year. So let's track the selections and see who is wrong, Habs fans, or (yikes!) the NHL.

The Canadiens' own fifth-round pick was originally #124. That pick, however, was traded when the Habs acquired James Wisniewski on December 28, 2010. The trade was: Wisniewski for Habs' second-round pick in 2011, and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2012, the condition being that Montreal reached the 2011 playoffs and that Wisniewski played at least 50 percent of its playoff games. That condition, obviously, was met, so that pick went to the Islanders.

Montreal, however, acquired Columbus' fifth-round pick from 2012 (122nd overall), when the team traded the rights to the Wiz to the Blue Jackets last summer. This pick, as well, was conditional. The condition was that Wisniewski signed with Columbus, which he did, so 122nd overall went to Montreal. As well all know, this pick was then traded to Calgary in the Cammalleri trade, in exchange for Bourque and a second-rounder in 2013.

There is also the business of the Anaheim Ducks' 2012 fifth-round pick, which the Canadiens acquired in the Maxim Lapierre trade in 2010. The Canadiens, however, returned that pick to the Ducks in exchange for Paul Mara later that season.

Now look at the NHL's release:

Round 5

122. Montreal (from CBJ)

123. Edmonton

124. Calgary (from MTL)

So, what is there to say about this? Unless I went wrong somewhere, the NHL has goofed. Let's see what happens.

After some investigative work, I figured out this issue.

UPDATE: The mystery has been solved. Per, as a part of the Islanders trade, "if that pick (Canadiens' own 5th rounder) is unavailable the Islanders will get a fourth-round pick in 2013." Therefore, for some reason Pierre Gauthier decided to trade his own 5th rounder to Calgary in the Cammalleri trade rather than the Columbus 5th rounder, thus turning the compensation to the Islanders into a 2013 4th rounder. As such, the Canadiens WILL select 122nd, in addition to picking at 3, 33, 51, 64, 94, 154.

...At least I thought.

Now, the order for the 2013 NHL Draft has been posted on, and look at this:

115. Vancouver

116. Montreal

117. Toronto (from Ana.)

Looks like we're back to square one in terms of figuring this out. Stay tuned for hopefully an update. For the sake of Habs fans everywhere, hopefully I goofed in the end and not the NHL.


UPDATE: Dee Karl of figured this out for us ... well ... kind of. You can see the story here.

One of the conditions was that Montreal needed to make the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011. That condition was not met, so the Islanders DO NOT have Montreal's 4th-round pick in the upcoming draft.

This is directly contradictory to the article that we based this all on to begin with, which stated that the condition was only for the Canadiens to make the playoffs in 2011, not to make the conference finals. But I guess somewhere the condition got translated poorly, so the Canadiens are left with their 4th-round pick, and the Islanders have only their own. We'll consider this an error in translation and say MYSTERY SOLVED.