What should Canadiens do with No. 3 pick?

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With the draft coming up a week from Friday, there’s a lively debate over whether the Canadiens should try to move up – or down – from their No. 3 position.

Given the talent available this year, No. 3 appears to be a good spot. While there are a handful of players with the potential to be useful NHL players, there’s no Sidney Crosby, no Evgeni Malkin. Nail Yakupov has emerged as the consensus No. 1 prospect, but there’s a case to be made that defenceman Ryan Murray is closer to play in the NHL or that Alexander Galchenyuk would have been No. 1 if he hadn’t been injured.

Because there is little to choose from among the top five prospects, there seems little reason to contemplate giving up an asset to move up.

There might be more of an argument to be made for trading the pick or moving down. But the only way that makes sense is if the Canadiens get an established NHL player in return.

There is some precedent for this route, but it falls into the you-should-learn-from-your-mistakes category.

In 2008, the Canadiens might have had a shot at John Carlson, Tyler Ennis or Justin Schultz, but they traded their first-round puck to Calgary for Alex Tanguay. He was so underwhelming as a Canadien that general manager Bob Gainey let him go after one season.

No matter which way the Canadiens go, the one thing they shouldn’t do is trade defenceman P.K. Subban. I’m sure this idea isn’t being thrown around when Marc Bergevin assembles his braintrust, but the idea seems to have some traction on fan websites and there are a few folks in the media who feel this would be a better team without Subban.

[pacman]

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