By JD Lagrange – Like in anything in life, there are some people who are better at their jobs than others. The Montreal media appointed at covering the Montreal Canadiens has, over the years, been the target of a lot of criticism. In some cases, it is very well deserved but unfortunately, you have some very good reporters, both in English and in French, who are automatically being lumped into the generalization in this negative tag. I could dress a list of the good ones and bad ones but I’m sure that if you’ve been following the Canadiens any length of time, you know who they are.
The same applies to NHL Insiders. I personally really enjoy watching, listening and reading guys like Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger, Elliotte Friedman and Frank Seravalli, amongst others. They are la crème de la crème, in my humble opinion.
One of them came up with a term that I really like to describe teams who are benefiting from having cap space, and that are taking on cap space while receiving a premium, like a high draft pick or a good player in return, sometimes both. Frank Seravalli called those teams “Third-Party Brokers”, a very fitting term, in my opinion.
The Canadiens, we will remember, became a Third-Party Broker when they took on Sean Monahan and his $6.375 million contract and also received the Flames’ first round pick for doing so, for “future considerations”. The Flames wanted to sign UFA Nazem Kadri but didn’t have the cap space to do so. That’s a perfect example of the description of what a Third-Party Broker is.
I strongly encourage you to read Frank’s article in the embedded tweet above as it explains what a Third-Party Broker is, the history of it and which teams are the top Brokers this season. It should come as no surprised to see that the Montreal Canadiens are not on that list as according to our friends at Capfriendly.com, they have the second highest cap in the entire NHL, trailing only the Vegas Golden Knights. The Habs are already almost $1.8 million into their LTIR reserve.
For the Canadiens to be able to be a Third-Party Broker at trade deadline, they would have to shed some serious salary. There are players available, but some of the highest salaries simply haven’t performed enough to entice teams to want to get them for free, let alone give something in return. Of course, I’m talking about Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov, but also Mike Hoffman and Joel Armia as well, and perhaps even Brendan Gallagher.
The only valuable assets the Canadiens have that could interest other teams are Sean Monahan, Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson and maybe Jake Allen. We’ve just touched on the impact the loss of Monahan has had on Nick Suzuki and the Canadiens, but unloading his contract would free up some cap space, in addition to the return he would be fetching.
Joel Edmundson is the most likely to bet gone, while it remains very, very unlikely that Josh Anderson and Jake Allen go anywhere this year. In fact, I have come up with some predictions in a recent article from now until trade deadline.
In conclusion, the odds of seeing the Canadiens becoming a Third-Party Broker at this year’s trade deadline are very slim. However, keep an eye on the upcoming off-season as between Dadonov, Drouin and a few trades, the Canadiens could easily free up as much as $20+ million. In my humble opinion, while Kent Hughes will complete a few trades by trade deadline, the summer months would be more realistic when it comes to them being Third-Party Brokers.