Heart to… Hart

By JD Lagrange – Carey Price’s health issues have left the Canadiens scrambling in net for years to come… and it doesn’t appear that there is a solution coming anytime soon. Jake Allen was brought in by Marc Bergevin to be Price’s back up goaltender. He’s now the starter. Samuel Montembeault was picked off waivers and is doing okay. But he’s unlikely to be the solution long term. Cayden Primeau is taking his sweet time to develop and other goaltenders in the organization haven’t even turned pro yet… at least not in North America.

The situation in net for the Canadiens is a position of weakness. This is why it is so important for Kent Hughes and the Canadiens to find a solution and find one quickly. As the team is showing great progress with the young players drafted and acquired via trades since the 2018 Reset, the team won’t be able to take the next step without a suitable keeper.

Changes in Philadelphia

As Daniel Briere has taken over as interim General Manager for the Philadelphia Flyers, changes are coming. They always are after a new GM takes over. Briere himself hinted that while there wouldn’t be a wholesale change over, some key changes will be happening in the off-season.

Jeff Marek addressed concerns about Carter Hart’s future with the Flyers, given the emergence of goaltender Samuel Ersson. If they’re going to go through a rebuild, Marek wondered what Hart could fetch on the trade market and if the 24-year-old netminder wants to spend the best seasons of his career with a rebuilding Flyers.

NHL Standard career statistics
Goalie Stats Scoring
Career5 yrsNHL19418679822653856895151.9052.9741088690.48436103-14.33.1130.70112
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/12/2023.

Hart has one more year left to his contract, carrying a cap hit of $3.98 million. He then become a RFA with arbitration rights.

Why not the Habs?

The Flyers want to rebuild on the run and there are many reasons why the Canadiens would be a great trade partner with them.

  • The Habs’ cupboards are stacked with quality prospects, having drafted about 50 players since Marc Bergevin’s 2018 Reset, and 11 more in the upcoming NHL Draft. You can only sign so many…
  • Hart has an affordable cap hit for next season and has yet to have a great season to justify a huge pay raise
  • Standing at 6-foot 2-inches, he has good size
  • He’s only 24 years of age, so close to coming into his own
  • He grew up idolizing Carey Price, who is still under contract. Perhaps Price could help him out a bit?

My personal observation of Hart is that he is very mobile and athletic. He covers the bottom of the net very well. When he gets into trouble, it’s often because he tends to drop on his knees too quickly and doesn’t make himself big enough when in a butterfly position. A good goalie coach will get him to stand tall on his knees instead of crouching forward. Everything else, he has, including the talent to be a good franchise goalie.

Of all the names that have been thrown out there for potential young goaltenders for Canadiens’ trade targets, Carter Hart would be, by far, my favourite. My second favourite would be Flames’ prospect Dustin Wolf.

What Have They Done?

By JD Lagrange – It’s been a record-breaking year for this trade deadline when it comes to the number of trades. Not because of trade deadline day itself, but most big trades have happened int he 14-days window leading up to the deadline.

I don’t know about you but when there is that much player-movement, I find difficult to keep track of who is where. Even more difficult is to attempt judging which teams have improved the most, as all give up assets in order to get the new players. And that’s particularly true when every team is so tight against the salary cap.

Let’s have a look at what contenders (and pretenders) have done in an attempt to gain an edge for the upcoming NHL Playoffs. Those are teams that are either in a playoffs’ position or are still within reach for a playoffs’ spot.


Pittsburgh Penguins
Mikael GranlundTeddy Blueger
Peter DiliberatoreBrock McGinn
Nick Bonino2023 2nd (PIT)
Dmitry Kulikov2023 5th (PIT)
2024 3rd (VEG)2023 7th (PIT – Cond)
2024 3rd (PIT)
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tanner JeannotVladislav Namestnikov
Michael EyssimontCal Foote
2023 3rd (TBL)
2023 4th (TBL)
2023 5th (TBL)
2024 2nd (TBL)
2025 1st (TBL – Cond)
Ottawa Senators
Jakob ChychrunNikita Zaitsev
Julien GauthierTyler Motte
Patrick Brown2023 1st (OTT – Cond)
2023 7th (NYR – Cond)2023 2nd (OTT)
Future considerations (CHI)2023 6th (OTT)
2024 2nd (WAS – Cond)
2026 2nd (OTT)
2026 4th (OTT)
Carolina Hurricanes
Shayne GostisbeherePatrik Puistola
Jesse Puljujarvi2026 3rd (CAR)
New York Rangers
Vladimir TarasenkoVitali Kravtsov
Patrick KaneJulien Gauthier
Tyler MotteSamuel Blais
Cooper ZechAndy Wellinski
William LockwoodAustin Rueschhoff
Niko MikkolaHunter Skinner
2026 7th (VAN)2023 1st (NYR – Cond)
Future Consid. (NAS)2023 2nd (NYR – Cond)
2023 7th (NYR)
2024 4th (NYR – Cond)
2025 3rd (NYR – Cond)
2025 4th (NYR)
Washington Capitals
Craig SmithDmitry Orlov
Andrei SvetlakovLars Eller
2024 3rd (BOS)Garnet Hathaway
2025 2nd (BOS)
2025 2nd (COL)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan O’ReillyPierre Engvall
Noel AcciariRasmus Sandin
Luke SchennJoey Anderson
Erik GustafssonPavel Gogolev
Jake McCabeAdam Gaudette
Sam LaffertyMikhail Abramov
Josh Pillar2023 1st (TOR)
2023 1st (BOS)2023 3rd (TOR)
2024 3rd (NYI)2023 3rd (OTT)
2024 5th (CHI – Cond)2024 2nd (TOR)
2025 5th (CHI – Cond)2025 1st (TOR – Cond)
2025 4th (TOR)
2026 2nd (TOR)
New Jersey Devils
Timo MeierAndreas Johnsson
Scott HarringtonFabian Zetterlund
Zachary EmondNikita Okhotiuk
Santeri HatakkaShakir Mukhamadullin
Timur Ibragimov2023 1st (NJD – Cond)
Curtis Lazar2024 2nd (NJD Cond)
2024 5th (COL)2024 4th (NJD)
2024 7th (NJD)
Boston Bruins
Dmitry OrlovCraig Smith
Garnet Hathaway2023 1st (BOS)
Andrei Svetlakov2023 5th (BOS)
Tyler Bertuzzi2024 1st (BOS – Cond)
2024 3rd (BOS)
2025 2nd (BOS)
2025 4th (BOS)
New York Islanders
Bo HorvatAnthony Beauvillier
Aatu Raty
2023 1st (NYI – Cond)


Vegas Golden Knights
Teddy BluegerPeter Diliberatore
Ivan BarbashevZach Dean
Jonathan QuickMichael Hutchinson
2024 3rd (VEG)
2025 7th (VEG)
Colorado Avalanche
Lars EllerAndreas Englund
Jack Johnson2025 2nd (COL)
Los Angeles Kings
Joonas KorpisaloJonathan Quick
Vladislav GavrikovBrendan Lemieux
Zack MacEwen2023 1st (LAK – Cond)
2023 2nd (LAK)
2024 2nd (LAK)
2024 5th (LAK)
Minnesota Wild
Gustav NyquistAndrei Svetlakov
Marcus JohanssonJosh Pillar
Oskar SundqvistAndrej Sustr
John KlingbergNikita Nesterenko
2025 4th (TOR)2023 4th (DET)
2023 5th (BOS)
2024 3rd (MIN)
2025 4th (MIN)
Edmonton Oilers
Mattias EkholmTyson Barrie
Patrik PuistolaReid Shaefer
Nick BjugstadJesse Puljujarvi
2024 6th (NASMichael Kesselring
2023 1st (EDM)
2023 3rd (EDM)
2024 4th (EDM)
Dallas Stars
Evgenii DadonovDenis Gurianov
Max DomiAnton Khudobin
Dylan WellsJacob Peterson
Scott Reedy2025 2nd (DAL)
Winnipeg Jets
Nino Neiderreiter2024 2n (WIN)
Vladislav Namestnikov2025 4th (WIN)
Seattle Kraken
Jaycob Megna2023 4th (SEA – Cond)
Dryden HuntRadim Zohorna
Nick RitchieBrett Ritchie
Troy StecherConnor Mackey

The first thing to notice is that the Eastern Conference teams were a lot more agressive on the trade market this year. So many teams have loaded up yet, only one of them will make it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. That will make for several teams disappointed and having invested a lot… for nothing. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs may appear to have added a lot, but they have also given quite a bit. They have reinforced their bottom-six forward group and bottom pairing defensemen, with more experience. But aside from Ryan O’Reilly, not much will help bring grit to their top lines. Time will tell if adding Tarasenko and Kane will pay off for the Rangers…

I like what the Penguins have done and the Bruins will be a force to recon with. The Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche were modest but added a couple of experienced elements, and they should have Gabriel Landeskog back on time for the playoffs. But I quite like what the Edmonton Oilers have done, bringing in Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad. 

Which team has improved the most in your opinion?