Summer Trade Watch 2022

The Fourth Period has released its most recent trade watch list of the NHL’s top-30 players most likely to be traded this summer. Off that list, they have two Montreal Canadiens’ players: Jeff Petry sits at number five and Mike Hoffman is number 25. The also have Montreal as potential destinations for two Quebecois players from that list: Jets’ center Pierre-Luc Dubois and Islanders’ winger Anthony Beauvillier.

Based on that list and on the Canadiens’ needs, let’s have a look at which players Kent Hughes might – or perhaps should – have some level of interest for. In no particular order…

Tyson Barrie

TEAM: EDM
AGE:30
POS:RD
GPGAPTS+/-TOI/GPCAP HIT
7373441+318:58$4.5M until 2023-24

Yesterday, we mentioned a few right-handed defensemen available on the free agents’ market. Barrie is a trade option as the Oilers are trying to shed some cap space, and already have Evan Bouchard and Codi Ceci on the right side. He has two years left to his very affordable contract which lacks trade protection.

He puts up points on a consistent basis like few other NHL defensemen thanks to his mobility, offensive instincts and an ability to quarterback the power play. It’s important to note that last season was the first time since 2013-14 that Barrie played under 21 minutes per game, due to sharing time with Bouchard and Ceci. He is clearly a capable top-4, although not known for his stellar defensive play.

Pierre-Luc Dubois

TEAM: WIN
AGE:24
POS:C
GPGAPTS+/-TOI/GPCAP HIT
81283260-618:56RFA ($5M)

I won’t hide it, I’ve always liked Dubois and I still do. Some are concerned that it would be his third team in a short period of time but he was playing under John Tortorella in Columbus, hated by most players. In Winnipeg, there’s something wrong in that dressing room. Blake Wheeler and Mark Sheifele don’t have the best reputations and head coach Paul Maurice abandoned the team (and his guaranteed contract) in mid-season. The only reason why the Jets would trade him is because he won’t re-sign with them beyond his UFA year and according to Elliotte Friedman, speaks openly in the dressing room wanting to play in Montreal.

Dubois, who just turned 24 in June, is 14 months older than Nick Suzuki so it would give the Habs a one-two punch at center immediately, which is not the case if they draft and develop another center. He’s a lefty (Suzuki shoots right) giving options for offensive zone faceoffs. Big, strong and talented, he owns excellent offensive instincts and can play either center or wing. He has the strength and speed to get to the front of the net and the skill to finish, and he is also a good passer. His 28 goals would have topped the Habs last year and his 60 points are one single point back of Suzuki who was best on the Canadiens.

Dylan Larkin

TEAM: DET
AGE:25
POS:C
GPGAPTS+/-TOI/GPCAP HIT
71313869-1819:40$6.1M until 2022-23

While the Red Wings are not actively shopping their captain, Steve Yzerman has just about everyone available including Larkin. Young veteran center with a 52.3% faceoffs success rate, he can play in all situation. He has speed to burn, making him a breakaway threat any time he has the puck in open space. He will go to the net and get his nose dirty. In his case though, he only has one year left to his contract so buyer beware. Better do your homework and see if you can extend him first.

Pavel Zacha

TEAM: NJD
AGE:25
POS:C
GPGAPTS+/-TOI/GPCAP HIT
70152136-2116:51RFA ($2.25M)

The sixth player taken in the 2015 NHL Draft is a late bloomer who is finally beginning to show his talents as he approaches his prime. Standing at 6-foot 3-inches and 210 lbs, his size and strength make him tough to move in the offensive zone, and he is willing to go to the dirty areas. His shot is his biggest weapon. He is playing more limited quality minutes as he is behind Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, both centers, on the depth chart.

As we reported recently, the Canadiens are open to doing a flip of first round pick with the Devils, who apparently want to ensure selecting Juraj Slavkovsky. As the Devils are deep at center, perhaps the cost of flipping the first and second overall pick between the two teams could be New Jersey adding Zacha?

Maxime Comtois

TEAM: ANA
AGE:23
POS:LW
GPGAPTS+/-TOI/GPCAP HIT
5261016-1714:08$2.038M until 2022-23

I like Comtois, I won’t deny it. At 6-foot 2-inches, 215 lbs, the Longueuil, Quebec native is a big-bodied forward who is also quick and skilled. He is reliable in all three zones, sees the ice well and generates scoring chances for himself and his linemates. He is more than willing to go to the front of the net and is useful on the power play.

He had a very tough season last year and was even a healthy scratch at times. He did manage 16 goals and 33 points in 55 games the previous season, his first full one in the NHL. I loved what I saw of him at the recent World Championship. He was one of Team Canada’s most consistent forwards.

Alexandar Georgiev

TEAM: NYR
AGE:26
POS:G
GPWLSOGAASv%CAP HIT
33151022.92.898RFA ($2.425M)

Kent Hughes is on record saying that he wants to add a veteran goaltender as insurance in case Carey Price can’t start the season. Having lost his starter’s position to Igor Shesterkin, the pending RFA Georgiev is on the trading block as the Rangers have several UFAs to sign. Reports everywhere claim that they are asking too much in return but if the asking price drops, he could be a good option for the Canadiens.

Ilya Samsonov

TEAM: WAS
AGE:25
POS:G
GPWLSOGAASv%CAP HIT
44231233.02.896RFA ($2M)

This is my personal preferred option for the Canadiens’ needs. The former first round pick has yet to live up to expectations but he has shown flashes of what he’s capable. It is not unusual to see goaltenders coming into their own between the age of 25-28 so Samsonov would be a very good gamble. And if Price comes back, Jake Allen could be used as trade bait.

Conclusion

There are a few more trade options that didn’t make TFP’s list and that I would strongly pursue. Guys like Vitali Kravtsov in New York, for example, or John Marino in Pittsburgh, Ethan Bear in Carolina, or even Filip Zadina in Detroit.

So if you include the list of pending unrestricted free agents we put together yesterday, combined with this list today, it provides a pretty good pool of good candidate to not only improve the team next year, but for years to come.

More reading…

Seravalli’s Top-25 Trade Targets Should Have the Habs Looking

By JD Lagrange – You have pretenders and you have NHL Insiders. While all of them can be off, the difference is true, legitimate insiders have a proven track record of having legitimate sources around the NHL. In Canada, the most prominent ones are Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger, Elliotte Friedman and Frank Seravalli, although Kevin Weekes, Chris Johnson and Jeff Marek are making a push to join them.

One of them released his top-25 trade targets recently. Alex DeBrincat tops Seravalli’s list but the Montreal Canadiens have three names on that list: Jeff Petry sits at number 11, while Shea Weber’s contract is number 20 and Josh Anderson (?) is number 24. In Anderson’s case, Serevalli mentions that the Canadiens are not trying to trade him but they have resisted some generous offers so far and they may be tempted if the offer is too good to pass.

Interesting for the Habs

Analyzing the list, there are some very interesting candidates on there, and some surprising ones too. Many young players made it to the list, making you wonder why those players are available. Some of them could be of interest for Montreal so let’s have a look at some of them.

Alex DeBrincatCHILW2482GP, 41G-37A-78Pts$6.4M, 1 Yr

Seeing DeBrincat’s name up there is rather shocking. But hey, who are we to question one of the NHL’s best Insiders? If he’s available, the Canadiens must do their due diligence and call the Blackhawks to find out what they’re looking for. One would think that the Hawks would want the Habs’ first overall pick though…

Kevin FialaMINLW2582GP, 33G-52A-85PtsRFA

Another surprising name on that list, this one very much salary driven. Hard worker, he has plenty of playmaking ability, skates well and is also a good finisher. It seems like he would fit extremely well into what the Canadiens are wanting to do. It would also allow to trade one of Jonathan Drouin or Mike Hoffman.

Jakob ChychrunARILD2447GP, 7G-14A-21Pts$4.6M, 3 Yrs

The Canadiens are very deep on the left side of the defense but few have the offensive potential that Chychrun brings. If the Habs are high on Slafkovsky or Cooley, could something be worked out for a swap of first round pick (Arizona has the 3rd overall pick) and Shea Weber’s contract?

#2 Overall PickNJD

Of course, the Canadiens must do their due diligence and at least enquire about the asking price for that pick. But anything short of Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield won’t do it for the Devils, not when you have established young players available on the market. And no, quantity never equals quality so don’t even try.

Tyson BarrieEDMRD3073GP, 7G-34A-41Pts$4.5M, 2 Yrs

Up until recently, we didn’t think that Barrie would be available but like Montreal, the Oilers are trying to shed some salary. Barrie is not only a right-hand shot, but he can help the Canadiens on the power play too. At $4.5 million, he brings a good quality-value aspect ratio.

Pavel ZachaNJDC2570GP, 15G-21A-36PtsRFA

With Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier ahead of him eating up key minutes at center, Zacha is not able to fully flourish in New Jersey. Acquiring him could allow Hughes (Kent, that is) and the Habs to contemplate trading Christian Dvorak in a cap saving move.

John MarinoPITRD2581GP, 1G-24A-25Pts$4.4M, 5 Yrs

After John Klingberg, Marino is my favourite option, perhaps equal to Barrie mentioned above. The Penguins’ defenseman is very much unknown and highly underrated by many. He is on an affordable contract for a long time, and would allow for Logan Mailloux to develop properly, buying him time to do so.

Semyon VarlamovNYIG3431GP, 10-17-2, 2.88GAA, .912Sv%$5M, 1 Yr

Kent Hughes wants an insurance policy, a veteran goaltender in case Carey Price can’t go. If the Islanders are willing to eat up some salary, Varlamov is a possibility. Although my personal choice would be Ilya Samsonov, in Washington. Younger and cheaper, with some potential.

Filip ZadinaDETRW2275 GP, 10G-14A-24PtsRFA

Along with Kravstov, Zadina has been on my radar for some time now. Still young, he played in the QMJHL so he’s familiar to Quebec. He was upset that the Canadiens and Senators passed him on at the Draft and he has some untapped potential. At 22, he’s worth the risk. Could a deal involving Petry be worked out?

Ethan BearCARRD2458 GP, 5G-9A-14PtsRFA

If Marc Bergevin was still in place, this would be a non-starter. Although I’m sure that Tom Dundon still holds a grudge against Geoff Molson about the Aho offer-sheet and the whole Kotkaniemi fiasco, new management in place in Montreal should not prevent hockey trades. Bear has very good potential but on a deep Carolina defense, he cannot find his spot. In Montreal on the right side, he would be a shoe-in. And the price to acquire him shouldn’t be too high.

Two young players who are surprisingly not on that list are New York Rangers’ own Vitali Kravstov and Anaheim Ducks’ Maxime Comtois, who also should be targets for the Canadiens.

More reading…