Every year, you have teams trying to load up for a playoffs’ run. And every year, you have teams trying to cash in on desperate GMs willing to pay an astonishing high price to acquire some help for their team in hope to win the Stanley Cup. This upcoming season won’t be any different and the Canadiens are setting themselves up to benefit from it for a second year in a row.
At the past trade deadline, rookie GM Kent Hughes traded away Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Brett Kulak and Artturi Lehknonen. In return, he obtained the following:
- William Lagesson
- Tyler Pitlick
- Justin Barron
- Ty Smilanic
- Emil Heineman
- 2022 1st round pick (CGY – #26 – Filip Mesar)
- 2023 1st round pick (FLA)
- 2022 2nd round pick (EDM – #62 – Lane Hutson)
- 2024 2nd round pick (COL)
- 2022 4th round pick (NYR – #127 – Cedrick Guindon)
- 2024 4th round pick (CGY)
- 2023 5th round pick (CGY)
- 2024 7th round pick (EDM)
2022-23 Trade Candidates
With the Canadiens picked by most to finish dead last in a stronger Atlantic division, it sure seems like Hughes is setting his team up for yet another solid trade deadline. Based on the current roster, which obviously could still change, here are his best assets, players that should draw plenty of interest in February and March 2023.
1- JONATHAN DROUIN – Also in the final year of his contract ($5.5 million), Drouin has only played two games under Martin St-Louis and he represents an interesting project for the new head coach. Offensively gifted, it will be interesting to see how he does and what the Canadiens decide between trading or extending him.
2- EVGENII DADONOV – Acquired from the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the salary cap dump of Shea Weber’s contract, the 33 year-old Dadonov has been a perennial 20-goals’ scorer. He is in the final year of a contract paying him $5 million.
3- JAKE ALLEN – It is being reported that teams are calling for Allen, who is entering the final year of a contract paying him $2.875 million. But with the unknown status of Carey Price and the Canadiens almost burning prospect Cayden Primeau by bringing him up too soon last season, Hughes would be wise to hang onto Allen until trade deadline.
4- PAUL BYRON – It seems like his hip surgery hasn’t brought the anticipated relief for Byron. The 33 year-old veteran is likely going to start the season on the injured reserve and his future is uncertain. If he can return and prove that he can contribute, he could be a trade bait.
5- MIKE HOFFMAN – He’s the only one on this list with term left as he will have one more year remaining after this one, with a cap hit of $4.5 million. So his situation would be very similar to Tyler Toffoli last season. With most of this season’s salary paid by trade deadline, he would offer good secondary scoring for one more year at a decent cap hit.
As you can see, it is conceivable that Hughes could get another strong trade deadline and add some other young NHL-ready players, prospects and picks which, hopefully, would accelerate the ‘re-whatever‘ the team is doing. With an already rich bank of prospects and counting 11 more picks so far at next summer’s NHL Draft, the future could be even brighter.