By JAG – This trade started out as a puzzle, the terms of the deal took forever to come out and, for a while, it looked like a Cap dump like Vegas did with Max Pacioretty. For all I knew, Sean Monahan was still injured and would be for the upcoming season. The convoluted first round pick acquisition was just a reflection of Calgary wanting to keep the best picks possible and leave Montreal with a late first round pick as a pay off for the Cap dump.
What a fool I was! Kent Hughes being Kent Hughes, he had insider info to which mere mortals like us have no access. First up, Carey Price will be on LTIR for most of next season, if not all. The decision to spend the year juggling with the Cap space and all its constraints was made for them. But it also means that Montreal can afford a healthy Sean Monahan and then some.
So, this is not a Vegas type Cap dump at all. Calgary knew that Sean Monahan was healthy when they traded him …. And Kent Hughes knew it too! Sean Monahan mentioned in interviews that he trains every summer with Jake Evans. I have to think that Kent Hughes talked with Evans before the deal was made. With Monahan healthy, the first rounder becomes a valuable asset and Kent Hughes is a genius! If this trade works, it will be a game changer for the Habs!
I live in Canucks country and I’ve seen Sean Monahan play a lot. Before his hip injuries, he was an absolute force on the ice! If he is healthy, I mean strong and without pain, there is every reason for him reaching the same level of performance he demonstrated at his peak. He will be 28 coming this October, this is prime time for a center. Despite being injured, he still played 195 games in the last 3 years, regular seasons and playoffs combined. He didn’t lose touch with the speed and the quickness required in the NHL and should have no problem adjusting, especially if he starts the season with the rest of the team.
But this trade is still a puzzle, so many questions remain while interesting ones have come to the fore:
- The Habs still have to sign Dach and Primeau. Signings should be coming soon?
- As one of my colleagues stated, the Habs have too many wingers. And now, they have too many centers, I’m confused!
- BTW, Jake Evans is a better winger than half the ones they already have so who do they keep?
- I still don’t understand why Calgary would trade him like they did. In my view, a healthy Monahan is younger, cheaper and can withstand a comparison with Nazem Kadri, why do it?. This puzzle me!
- Assuming a return to form for Monahan, who’s your number one center now? Monahan had 82 points in 78 games in 18-19, that would make him the first center on most team…. And he is very capable in the face-off circle! In any case, regardless of who is number one, a Suzuki/Monahan one-two punch is a definite upgrade to this team.
- With five NHL capable centers, we have to assume that one of Evans, Dach or Dvorak will become available. With Monahan as the experienced veteran, is Dvorak available?
- How does this trade affect the reconstruction agenda? The team is certainly one player closer to being competitive if Monahan pans out.
- Do the Habs pull the trigger and sign an Anton Stralman type defenseman and make a push for the playoffs this year? They are not that far on paper. They may only be two trades away from having a playoff shot and they are sitting on a ton of assets. I strongly believe that the best way to develop new NHLers is by giving them a winning environment …. Or at least a fair shot at winning! Go for it I say!
- BTW. Why spent so much time on wresting away a late first rounder? I would have gone for Oliver Kylington instead. In fact, I would have added player(s) and/or picks just to get him.
- Maybe the Habs need that extra late round first rounder to complete the reset of the team … Is that really what the Habs need? I’m all for increasing the number of first round picks, but this seems like a lot effort, unless?
- Unless, it is needed to complete a very big deal …. Like …. Hello Pierre Luc Dubois fans!
This story is not over.
Keep your stick on the ice, the puck is coming!