5 Predictions For Habs Off-Season

By JD Lagrange – The Montreal Canadiens have some major cap space that will be freed up by July 1st through free agency alone. Between Sean Monahan, Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron, that’s over $15.3 million is cap space being off the books for Kent Hughes and his team.

But that’s not all. Trade will inevitably happen, as will contracts signatures, which will all affect the cap. But rest assured, Habs’ fans, there is plenty of room – and solutions – that will allow for this team to improve starting next season, without compromising the development of the Canadiens’ young players and prospects.

With that in mind, I decided to get my feet wet by predicting five moves that I’m expecting to happen during this off-season. Most will be completed by the NHL Draft, so we’re only a few weeks away. Without further ado, let’s get right into it, shall we?


1- Pierre-Luc Dubois

The Canadiens will acquire him via trade on or before the NHL Draft. They will sign him to an extension at around $8.5 million long term. I’ve recently provided a list of comparable players both in trade value and in salary cost, which you can refer to here. There is just too much smoke not to be fire with this situation.

Dubois is arguably the Jets’ best players in these playoffs and it’s hard to phantom someone still sticking to their guns and not wanting a 24 year-old, 6-foot 4-inches, 214 lbs center with his offensive skills, grit and wanting to play in Montreal. If I had to put odds on it, I’d say that I’m 95% convinced it will happen this summer.

2- Goaltending

Kent Hughes will acquire a goaltender under the age of 28 who will be on the Habs’ roster next season. Further, they will draft a goaltender using a second or third round pick to do so at the upcoming Draft. Of course, a decision will be made about Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau, who will now have to clear waivers to be sent to Laval.


I have already addressed the relatively low cost of goaltenders through trades, and provided in that article a list of five potential candidates.

3- Joel Edmundson

I was hesitant about putting him here as it could go either ways. But I think that he will end up being traded this off-season. My hesitation stems from the fact that keeping him, if he stays healthy, would likely fetch more at trade deadline from a playoffs’ contender. But when I look at Matheson, Guhle, Xhekaj, Harris, Struble on the left side, it is rather congested. So getting less this summer is a small price to pay when you’re freeing up his cap hit and giving the ice to the young, capable guys. Leadership-wise, you still have Savard and Matheson back there. This off-season trade seems to be the more likely option.

4- Mike Hoffman

They will try trading Hoffman early on this off-season, even offer to retain salary in the process. But if they’re unsuccessful, I have little doubt that Hughes and his team will decide to buy him out. Either way, he has played his last game for the Canadiens… in my opinion. Here’s is the cap implication for doing so:

5- Christian Dvorak

For a while, I thought that maybe Josh Anderson would be sacrificed and be sent to Winnipeg for Dubois and that may still happen. But I’m no longer as convinced that it will be necessary. The Canadiens clearly love Andy and he has expanded his game this season.

Instead, I think that Dvorak will be traded to free up salary for Dubois. Whether he’s heading to Winnipeg in the Dubois deal, or be part of another trade, remains to be seen. But with Suzuki, Dach, Evans and now Dubois in the line-up, Dvorak would become redundant and expensive… although his faceoffs’ ability would be missed.

End results

So if I’m right and the above-mentioned events do happen, the Canadiens would free up just under $28 million in cap space in the process.

Sean Monahan-$6,375,000UFA
Jonathan Drouin-$5,500,000UFA
Paul Byron-$3,500,000UFA
Joel Edmundson-$3,500,000TRADE
Mike Hoffman-4,383,333TRADE
Christian Dvorak-$4,450,000TRADE

If they resign Caufield at about the same amount as Nick Suzuki is making ($7.875M), and sign Pierre-Luc Dubois at $8.5M cap hit, that would be adding $16.375M, they would still be $11 million ahead of last year. The Canadiens would be at around $72 million in cap hit, and I’ve allocated $1.2 million each for RFAs Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Jesse Ylönen in there. This would leave them about $10 million to acquire a goaltending upgrade, not counting any salary going back the other way.

So what do you think? How “off” or “on point” are those predictions in your opinion? Do you have better ones? Leave them in the comments and we’ll discuss…

The Trade Deadline Prediction Game

By JD Lagrange – We are less than two months away from the NHL Trade deadline, which is set this year to March 3rd. With the Montreal Canadiens well out of playoffs’ contention, rumours are already swirling around the team as General Manager Kent Hughes is preparing to unload some contracts and continue working towards getting a younger lineup.

As it’s too easy to claim, after the fact, that one has predicted something with no or little proof, I’ve decided to get my feet wet so readers can throw it back in my face when my predictions don’t happen. So without further ado, here are my predictions leading up to the roster that we will see comes March 4th, the day after trade deadline.

1- Joel Edmundson

Due to the Canadiens’ depth on the left side of the defense, Edmundson will be traded by trade deadline not because they want to trade him, but because they won’t be able to resist the return, as he will fetch the Canadiens a first round pick. But as for any first round picks acquired for the 2023 NHL Draft, Kent Hughes will have to be creative and fans might have to accept less of a return in order to get their hands on one.

2- Sean Monahan

While the Canadiens are genuinely contemplating offering him a contract extension, his recent time on the injured reserve, combined with the demand for a quality veteran center, will sway the bar towards trading him. And like Edmundson, Monahan will also fetch a first round pick. Don’t be surprised though if the pick is conditional, based on the number of games he plays due to his health status. For example, if Monahan doesn’t play “x” number of games with his new team, the first turns into a second.

3- Jonathan Drouin

This will shock many, myself included, but Hughes will find a taker for Drouin. Of course, the Canadiens will have to keep half his salary, a small price to pay to unload a veteran who will obviously not be back next season. The return will be very minimal, and Hughes might have to take a bad contract until the end of the season to make it work.

3- Canadiens will acquire a young goalie

By trade deadline, there will be added depth in net for the organization. There are a few options out there but I’ll go further with my prediction to say that you shouldn’t be shocked if the goaltender they acquire is none other than Devon Levi, a Dollar-des-Ormeaux native, prospect of the Buffalo Sabres. A seventh round pick and former Team Canada Junior goalie, Levi will be yet another later rounds project. In fact, his story resembles Cayden Primeau’s a lot. But he’s smaller in stature, which seems to be an issue in today’s NHL.

4- Evgenii Dadonov

This will come across as a fairy tale story in addition to a prediction but here it goes… Dadonov will soon be given permission to talk to other teams about a potential trade, then he will be placed on waivers just before trade deadline. He will then agree to have his contract terminated once he sees that he had no takers, instead of being sent to the AHL. Either that, or he will mysteriously go on LTIR for the rest of the season. Either way, he won’t suit up for the Canadiens comes March 4th and beyond. By March 4th, the Canadiens will have 20 games remaining to their season, so Dadonov, if terminated, would forfeit approximately $1.5 million. Okay, that prediction might not happen…

5- Veterans staying put

Josh Anderson, Jake Allen, Mike Hoffman and Christian Dvorak, all in trade rumours at one point or another, will still be with the Canadiens on March 4th, after trade deadline. The Canadiens will revisit trying to move Hoffman during the off-season and if they can’t, they might even buy him out at that point. But I fully anticipate that the other three will be at training camp in October 2023… unless the Habs have a change of hearts and re-sign Monahan, then Dvorak will be traded.

6- Second round pick coming

The career-ending injury to Carey Price has put the organization in deep trouble, even forcing them to do what this new management team is doing, rebuilding. Right now, every single prospect the Canadiens has in net has been drafted in the fifth round or further and at the NHL level right now, you have a career 1B in Jake Allen and a waiver pick-up in Sam Montembeault. So my prediction is that in one of his upcoming trades, Kent Hughes will go get a an additional second round pick, and he will ultimately use one of his seconds to select a good goalie prospects at this summer’s NHL Draft.


Like with any prediction, all or none of them could come true of course. I am not one to pretend knowing the future as we too often see on social media. And that’s why I entitled it a prediction game, as games are for fun and entertainment purposes. With that in mind, I hope that you’ve enjoyed and I would be curious to know your own predictions along the same lines.

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