Trade Scenarios With 7 Teams

By JD Lagrange – With the news coming out that the Canadiens have acquired 23 year-old left-handed defenseman Nicolas Beaudin, giving up on center Cam Hillis in the process, we can expect anything to happen. Further, last night at the Bell Centre, there were several scouts in the stands taking on the game against the Minnesota Wild.

The acquisition of Beaudin, aside from his place of birth, is rather mind boggling. With the likes of Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, Otto Leskinen, Mattias Norlinder, Lane Hutson, Jayden Struble, William Trudeau, Adam Engström and Petteri Nurmi already in the system, the Canadiens need another young left-handed defenseman like they need a hole in the head.

Having three scouts from Anaheim, and two from both New Jersey and Edmonton is very intriguing. Off those teams, we will touch on Edmonton further down, as an option. The other two are not Cup contenders and of the two, only the Ducks have plenty of cap space available to take a contract. I’m not sure what the Canadiens would want from the Devils but keep an eye on Max Comtois, who has one goal and is playing less than 12 minutes a game.

Options on RD

Deep on left defense and on the wing at all levels, the combination of Marc Bergevin’s drafting and Kent Hughes continuation has added much needed depth at center as well. Even with the play of Johnathan Kovacevic, and the developing of Justin Barron and Logan Mailloux, the Canadiens’ glaring need, for now and in the future, is clearly for right-handed defensemen.

And that’s what we’ll be focussing on more in this article. The following options are in no particular order by the way. Well, my “out of left field option” at the end is where my heart truly is…

VEGAS Option

TARGET: Daniil Miromanov

Surprisingly enough, the Golden Knights have been very stingy defensively so far. But they don’t score enough goals on offense. The issue is mostly on their bottom six, where the production simply isn’t present. The third line of Amato, Howden, Kessel have combined for two goals all season.


TARGET: Nick Perbix

Few expected this, but the Lightning needs help with secondary scoring but also, they allow too many goals. On 2nd line, Stamkos has 7 goals but his linemates, Namestnikov and Killhorn, have one goal combined. The third line of Colton, Paul and Maroon have two goals amongst them.


TARGET: Tyson Barrie

Tyson Barrie

The Oilers score goals as easily as another team in the NHL. It’s defensively that they are struggling a bit more. Yet, their defense has much improved over the past few seasons and much like the old Flyers, they have yet to address their need in net but the Canadiens can’t help there. Good defensive forwards or a better defensive defenseman would go a long way for the Oilers. Edmonton has Evan Bouchard and Cody Ceci on the right side as well, and neither is a third pair defenseman.

For the Canadiens, Barrie would be a great stop-gap until Barron or Mailloux are ready. He would help with this anemic power play and he comes at a very reasonable cap hit too.


TARGET: Ethan Bear

The Canes have a great defense and Bear cannot find a spot and wants to play. It’s on offense that they could use some help with secondary scoring. Second line center Kotkaniemi has no goals and only two assists. The bottom six forwards have a combined two goals together.

For Montreal, Bear is an improvement over everyone currently on the right side except maybe Savard, but he has a higher upside than the Canadiens big defenseman obviously.

LA KINGS Options


The Kings could use help both with goals’ scoring and defensively. They allow way too many goals right now and we know that it’s not a goaltending issue. They could use some secondary scoring and an improvement on the left side of their defense.


TARGET: Samuel Girard (LD)

Newhook is the Avs’ second line center (0 pts, 30.4% FO), Compher is their third line center (1 pts, 47.7% FO). Due to Gabriel Landeskog’s injury (out at least 12 weeks), Lehkonen is filling in on top line left and as well as he is playing, that’s not his seat, particularly not for that long.

As mentioned before, the Canadiens don’t need a left-handed defenseman. But Girard is still young, so he fits in with the core, and he brings more offense than what they already have.

Out of left field


Seth Jones

TARGET: Seth Jones

I know that this won’t sit well with many people in the Canadiens’ fan base but much like Shea Weber while in Nashville, Jones is my favourite defenseman. He brings much of what Weber brought to the table with his all-around game. Yes, he has a high cap hit but sometimes, you must pay for what you have. The Cap will be going up and Jones, in my opinion, would be a great investment. A true number one defenseman for years to come. A Guhle-Jones pairing for years to come gets me drooling…


The likeliness of any of those trades being consummated are very slim, admittedly. Completing trades between now and trade deadline is not an easy task, particularly not with having 19 teams with less than a million dollars of cap space.

The Canadiens have a huge surplus of wingers, left-handed defensemen and they still hold 11 picks at the upcoming NHL Draft. That’s a lot of assets to complete a substantial trade to address a need.

More reading…

Depth on Defense And Trade Option

By Bob Trask – It’s very early in the NHL season but the Montreal Canadiens currently sit 12th in the league in goals against average. What makes it remarkable is that the feat has been accomplished with four rookies and two veterans in the lineup on defense. Two defensemen that the team was counting heavily on this season, Joel Edmundson and Mike Matheson, have yet to play a game. Both are left-handed defensemen.

That begs the question of what to do when one or both return. Among the players on the all-rookie left side, who hasn’t earned their spot. Certainly Kaiden Guhle, who has drawn the toughest assignments and handled them well, has earned his spot. Jordan Harris already looks like the player everyone hoped Victor Mete would become, but didn’t. His quick feet and quicker mind have resulted in very good performances and he leads all d-men on the team in plus/minus. And then there is Arber Xhekaj who oozes confidence and charisma while bringing a physical element to the team that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Yes, they are all still a work in progress but each has taken their turn at contributing to any success the team has had. It would be a difficult choice to demote one of them, never mind two when the veterans return. And with that in mind, perhaps Kent Hughes is already exploring trade options for one of the veterans.

Trade Options

Joel Edmundson

Despite the leadership that he brings to the team, Joel Edmundson has to be the leading candidate among veteran defensemen to be traded. His leadership abilities are precisely one of the assets that interested teams would value. His size (6’5 and 225 lbs) and his play in the defensive zone add to that value. Edmundson seems to have a high panic threshold and often waits calmly to make the right play coming out of his own end. Creating offense has never been one of his hallmarks but he does chip in once in a while – averaging about five goals and 13 assists per 82 games played.

Mike Matheson is a home-town boy whose skating ability fits in well with how Kent Hughes is trying to build his team. He doesn’t have Edmundson’s size or physical presence, but he provides more offense. In the big scheme of things, Hughes would likely count on Xhekaj, Guhle and Savard to contribute the more physical elements of the game with Matheson patrolling the left side of the blueline.

When it comes to contracts, Edmundson is on a very affordable $3.5 million contract with two years remaining while Matheson is on a more expensive $4.875 million contract with four years remaining. All of this points to Edmundson as being the more sought after veteran defenseman of the two.

Trade Candidates

The Toronto Maple Leafs always come to mind as a team in need of reliable defenseman. As much as their fan base and the media would like to tell you otherwise, the Leafs’ blueline corps is full of holes and potential problems. But would the Canadiens trade an asset like Edmundson to their division rivals? It is highly unlikely!

The team that could really benefit from Edmundson’s presence, however, is the Edmonton Oilers. The are definitely in a win-now mode but have at least one glaring hole to fill. The success of the Calgary Flames also puts additional pressure on the Oilers to keep pace.

Tyson Barrie and Evan Bouchard are both offense-only defensemen who play the right side. At the same time, Ryan Murray has so far proven that he is a less than ideal defensive complement on the left side. Joel Edmundson could step in and provide that combination of maturity and physical size that the Oilers need to round out their team. Those are prized attributes, particularly when it comes to the playoffs.

The Fantasy Trade

The prime candidate for the Oilers to trade in this situation is Jesse Puljujarvi simply because his contract is within $500k of Edmundson’s. With teams tight to the cap, salary offsets become an important factor – and Edmonton would have shed even more salary to make this work. At the same time, defenseman are worth more than wingers and accomplished defensemen are worth far more than wingers trying to find their spot in the league. That means more players need to be added to the mix but Montreal can’t take on an infinite number of contracts because of the 50 contract limit.

Jesse Puljujarvi

Montreal could offer to also take the disappointing Warren Foegele and his $2.75M salary back in return, thus creating an opportunity for Dylan Holloway while trading Puljujarvi could create an opportunity in Edmonton for recently acquired Klim Kostin. But the Oilers would need to pay a price to entice the Canadiens to take on two less than attractive contracts. A mid-round pick could be one of those assets and high-scoring junior draftee, Matvei Petrov could be another. Of course Habs fans would probably be clamouring for Quebec native Xavier Bourgault but it is hard to see Edmonton giving up a former 1st round pick who is just getting his feet wet in the pro ranks.

From Edmonton’s point of view, the trade is unbalance from the point of view of sheer numbers going in each direction. I couldn’t see Hughes giving up any prime prospects but depth prospects like Gianni Fairbrother (currently injured) or Otto Leskinen. If Montreal were to take Foegele off Edmonton’s hands it would create a shortage of wingers for the Oilers. The addition speedy Rem Pitlick to the deal could help offset that loss and with a less costly contract. In fact, Pitlick might fit into the Oilers’ system better than Foegele.

In the end a lot of salary cap gymnastics would have to be undertaken by both teams in order to make any deal work but some components could be:

  • From Edmonton: Jesse Puljujarvi, Warren Foegele, Matvei Petrov, 2nd round pick in 2023 that upgrades to a first if the Oilers reach the conference finals
  • From Montreal: Joel Edmundson, Gianni Fairbrother (or Otto Leskinen), Rem Pitlick

From Montreal’s point of view they have a glut of defenseman and eventually that will have to be pared down. On left wing, moving Rem Pitlick is either opens up a spot for Emil Heineman or Rafael Harvey-Pinard…. or he is replaced by Foegele in the short term.

The Crunch is Coming

Whether or not Hughes decides to trade one of his veteran LD, the fact is that a crunch is coming when the veterans return to health. Eight healthy, NHL calibre defensemen is at least one too many for the team to carry. As Edmundson prepares to come off the injury list, the first move may be sending Schueneman back to Laval but if 6-8 weeks Mike Matheson could be ready to play. That provides Kent Hughes with a lengthy opportunity to evaluate his young defenseman, monitor Edmundson’s health and explore the trade market.

When the time comes he will be ready to make his decision and something like a trade involving the Edmonton Oilers could be in the cards.

More reading…