Trade Deadline: A Fresh Mindset

By JD Lagrange – While hopes for success entering this NHL season were never very high for Canadiens’ fans and media members, the prospect of having a few pending UFAs brought them some hope for trade deadline. Unfortunately for General Manager Kent Hughes and his team, the anticipated story didn’t develop as planned.

Their pending UFAs had a bad season and injuries have taken their toll on those who might have fetched a good return. And to make matters worse, the Florida Panthers, who looked like they were out of luck for a playoffs’ spot halfway though the season, are now in playoffs’ contention. The Canadiens own the Panthers’ first round pick at the upcoming NHL Draft, pick acquired in the Ben Chiarot trade a year ago.

Lower value

Sean Monahan

There was hope that pending UFAs Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov, playing on a contract year, would perform to their talent. Both had a horrible season… up until recently. But have they done enough to catch the interest of a contending team, to give up assets in hope that they receive the recent players and not the players from the first half of the season?

Sean Monahan, the team’s other UFA, was having a bounce-back start to the season. But he has been out of the line-up due to a foot injury since the first week of December. He was on pace for 20 goals and 56 points season prior to being injured. There were question marks going into this season as Monahan was coming back from two hip surgeries and his health remains a huge question mark for any contender wanting to acquire him.

With the surprising performances of Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Arber Xhekaj, the Canadiens then turned their hopes on Joel Edmundson as a possible trade target. The big veteran defenseman missed training camp due to a bad back and has been out of the line-up for a few weeks for what is thought to be the same reason.

Many were hoping that Mike Hoffman would have a good enough season to draw positive attention from other teams who were looking for secondary scoring. He started the season really slow but has been heating up lately. The issue is that he has one more year after this one, carrying a cap hit of $4.5 million.


Now here’s the reality of the situation. The Canadiens need to get something in return for some of those players, not so much on some others. Kent Hughes must try to find trade partners for pending UFAs Drouin ($5.5M cap hit) and Dadonov ($5M cap hit) for sure, possibly even Monahan ($6.375M cap hit). The nice thing about Monahan is that he came with the Flames’ first round pick so while the Canadiens might miss on getting another first, they are not losing in that trade with a lesser value at trade deadline.

As for Edmundson, the Canadiens don’t have to trade him. He has one year remaining at an affordable $3.5M cap hit, and he’s a great veteran to have around for the young defensemen on the team. Further, with the injury to Arber Xhekaj, the Canadiens may want to keep the veteran. If he remains healthy, Edmundson could become a great asset at next year’s trade deadline. And the same goes for Hoffman.

This brings me to Josh Anderson. I’ve written plenty lately about him and the trade speculations:

You may not read them all but there is research in all of them, proving why a guy like him is so wanted by other teams and, at the same time, why he’s not being shopped around by Hughes and the Canadiens. That doesn’t make him untouchable, but it means that it would take a King’s ransom to pry him off Montreal’s hands.

In conclusion, fans and media will have to do like Kent Hughes and readjust their expectations at this year’s trade deadline when it comes to both the number of trades, and the return on any trade completed. The unfortunate reality is that the off-season has now become a more important time for the Canadiens’ future.

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Habs Boxing Day Sale

By JD Lagrange – As stores across the nation are liquidating their inventory now that the Christmas rush is over, the Montreal Canadiens will be doing the same as trade deadline is in sight. And like in most stores, the Canadiens have a good selections of items ranging from very valuable pieces to… scraps, for lack of a better word.

So without further ado, let’s have a look at the Boxing Day flyer for our beloved Habs, and the potential price tag for each one.

50% OFF

Those are the Habs’ door crashers! Get them for a song, and the Canadiens will even keep 50% of their salary until the end of their contract! Either that or buy one, get one free! Loaded with talent, they might still have some gas in the tank on their expiring contracts, to help you qualify for the playoffs or more. At that price, what do you have to lose?

Evgenii Dadonov: Not far removed from his 20-goals seasons, you may get more motivation from him on a team that’s more competitive, with an incentive to make the playoffs and even make a push for the Stanley Cup. Not known for his defensive acumen, coach St-Louis trusted him even on the penalty kill this season.

Jonathan Drouin: This perennial 45-50 points talented winger has been hampered by injuries the past few seasons but he is starting to show signs of life since returning to the line-up in mid-December. He could be a great complement player to provide offense on the middle-six of your formation, with spot duty on the top line in case of injuries. He can also be useful on the power play.

40% OFF

Here, we have very serviceable players with some term left to their contract. So they will not be simple rental players, but will bring cost certainty for next season as well, being able to replace some players your team might want to let go in the off-season.

Mike Hoffman: After a slow start to the season, this sniping winger has found his scoring touch again. While he will never be nominated for the Selke trophy, he has somewhat improved defensively over what we saw of him earlier in his career. We can attest that the rumours of him being a cancer in the dressing room in Ottawa are unfounded since in Montreal. He will provide some secondary scoring on the middle-six, and a threat on the power play with his shot.

Joel Armia: Don’t be fooled by the fact that he has yet to score this season. He missed training camp due to injury and he’s just starting to catch up now, as he’s had his share of scoring chances the past week or so. It’s just a matter of time. Proven playoffs’ performer, this 6-foot 4-inches, 218 lbs winger is loaded with skills and he defends very well. He can also help on the penalty kill. At 29 years of age, he has two more years after this one to his contract, so you are getting cost certainty.

30% OFF

The following players’ asking price is a first round pick and a good prospect, or two good prospects, or one great prospect. They are extremely valuable to any team, particularly those pushing for the playoffs or take a run at the Stanley Cup.

Joel Edmundson: A Cup winner, this giant 6-foot 5-inches, 224 lbs 29 year old comes with a bonus: an extra year to his contract at a very affordable $3.5 million cap hit. A good skater for a big man, he oozes leadership qualities and can log big minutes against the opposition’s top lines. He will also help your penalty killing units and provide a steady physical presence on your blue line. He was instrumental in the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup run of 2021.

Sean Monahan: This quality veteran center needs no introduction. The question marks about his recovery from hip surgery are all but dissipated, and he is currently nursing what is believed to be a foot injury. Savvy defensively, he is an excellent playmaker and has a good enough shot to beat any NHL goaltender. He can play in all situation, including both special teams. A great leader in the room, he’s as low maintenance as it comes and he will win you a majority of the faceoffs that he takes.


Joel Edmundson

These players are not on the sales’ tables, but it doesn’t prevent teams from inquiring. The price is relatively high, and they have long term deals in their back pocket. They will both bring leadership, competitiveness and grit to any line-up.

Brendan Gallagher: Who doesn’t know Gallagher in this league? He needs no introduction. He’s the type of player who will go through a brick wall to win, and will be a pest to any opponent’s defenseman and goalie. You win with guys like that in your line-up. He is as fiesty as they come.

Josh Anderson: This 6-foot 3-inches, 227 lbs powerhorse is not for sale by any means. Only 28 years of age, he is entering his prime as a rare breed of power-forwards in today’s NHL. He can skate with anyone out there. He hits hard, and he hits often. He will drop the gloves if or when needed and can hold his own against the best heavyweights. A 25 goals scorer since joining the Canadiens, he has even been killing penalties for Martin St-Louis. You better open your cheque book if you want Kent Hughes to even listed to you about trading Anderson.


Need cap space to finish the season and/or for the next few years? The Long Term Injury Reserve funds are very popular in today’s NHL (ask the Vegas Golden Knights). Well, the Canadiens have exactly what you need. In both these cases, those players cannot come out to say that their career is over as they are collecting disability insurance. But it is rather clear that their odds of ever playing in the NHL again are slim to none.

Carey Price’s contract: Maximize your LTIR slush fund with this $10.5 million contract, good until the end of the 2025-26 season!

Paul Byron’s contract: If you only need some cap space until the end of this season, this $3.4 million contract expires this upcoming summer and could help you acquire a secondary scorer. If you want, the Canadiens can even create a package deal for you including one of the names mentioned previously in this sales pitch!

There you have it folks. Of course, there are some smaller deals that could be done, with prospects and/or picks as well, but this is what the Canadiens have to showcase for this Boxing Day month sale. But don’t wait, as more and more teams like to jump the gun prior to trade deadline!

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