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NHL Trade Rumours

NHL Trade Talk: Canadiens Players That Could Be on The Move – Part 1

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NHL Trade

The NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, and the Montreal Canadiens will still make more trades before the clock strikes 3 PM ET on Monday.

After trading what was their most tradable asset in Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers last Wednesday, the Canadiens saw arguably the two biggest trade assets remaining get dealt on Saturday. The Philadelphia Flyers traded forward Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers and the Anaheim Ducks sent defenceman Hampus Lindholm to the Boston Bruins.

With the market now shifting to second and third-tier players, of which the Canadiens have plenty to offer, Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes can sit back and field even more offers and as promised explore every avenue to improve his team for the long haul. With the exception of working with Jeff Petry to facilitate the trade he requested earlier this season, Hughes has remained open-minded about who to trade and who to keep, as well as what he can gain on the NHL Trade market.

“Where there are opportunities, to continue to help us improve on a more sustainable level,” said Hughes about his NHL Trade Deadline strategy. “There’s not one specific player we would right now, other than Jeff Petry, who has a specific family situation right now, but we’re only going to do that if it makes sense for us. The thing we’re looking at is our room under the Salary Cap and see if there’s any move to give us more flexibility.”

On that note, here’s a list of Canadiens players that could achieve that cap flexibility, stockpile picks, replenish the prospect system, and in some cases even improve the current roster:

Artturi Lehkonen

If Artturi Lehkonen wasn’t a hot name on the trade market before Friday, he is now.

Before market-altering Brandon Hagel trade Friday afternoon, TSN Insider Darren Dreger took to Twitter to discuss the potential price point that would entice the Canadiens to let go of their veteran winger. Dreger believed the Canadiens and general manager Kent Hughes were weighing his value to the team in conjunction with the potential trade returns that are being proposed to them by interested teams. With the Hagel trade happening a few hours later, the Canadiens’ evaluation just got a little more complicated.

The ask for Lehkonen was already high, reported to be at least a 1st round pick, but the talk was that teams were hesitating to give the Canadiens such an offer. Dreger confirmed the interest in Lehkonen around the league is high, and, with Hagel off the board, it would seem like a 1st round pick or top prospect is simply the base of any viable offer for Lehkonen.

If the deal is too good to pass up and includes a return similar to that of Blake Coleman in 2020, a 1st round pick and a top prospect, then the Canadiens must consider the deal very carefully, as that may be too rich a return to pass on. Lehkonen is a coveted player across the league, and the Hagel and Calle trades have now set the price point for a player of Lehkonen’s ilk. That being said, Hughes will ultimately decide whether or not Lehkonen is more valuable to the club’s long-term success than the packages presented to him. Like the Chiarot trade, he will make a timely decision if the offer is right.

 

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Brett Kulak 

For years, Brett Kulak has been one of Montreal’s most serviceable defensemen, playing an underrated game focusing on transitional efficacy and good defensive hockey.  In a perfect world, Hughes would prefer to retain Kulak and doesn’t appear to be in a rush to move their 28-year-old defender.

‘’We like Brett Kulak, we don’t have an interest in moving the player. If there’s an offer we can’t refuse, we’ll consider it. But I can tell you we aren’t actively calling teams to move Kulak.”

An offer the Canadiens can’t refuse appears to be that of a 2nd round draft pick or equivalent, and Hughes seems rather content in keeping Kulak if that price point isn’t met, which puts more pressure on buying teams who are seeing the clock tick on their NHL Trade Deadline shopping window. Kulak’s improved play under St. Louis, especially last night against the Senators, is bound to catch the eye of rival teams and might force them to up the ante with top defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Chiarot off the market, but don’t expect Hughes to give him away.

Edmonton Oilers beat reporter for TSN, Ryan Rishaug, confirmed today that the Edmonton Oilers, who have had a scout in attendance at the Bell Center for the last two weeks, have interest in Kulak. It reamins to be seen if Oilers general manager Ken Holland will be willing to pay the price currently being asked by the Habs.

Jake Allen

Jake Allen has been a serviceable 1B goalie for the Canadiens in relief of Carey Price over the last two seasons, and rival teams have taken note.

“There’s got to be interest in Jake Allen on the trade front,” said TSN Insider Darren Dreger last week on the Montreal Hockey Now Podcast. “Given the resume, the history of Jake Allen, any of these middling teams like Toronto or Edmonton, teams that don’t have the Cap space to go big game hunting[could be interested]. You can kick tires all day on Marc-André Fleury, that’s just managers doing their due diligence, but Jake Allen would make sense to me.”

Allen could potentially move due to the improved performances of Samuel Montembeault, who has been able to keep the Montreal Canadiens afloat during Allen’s absence, increasing his value in the eyes of management. Montembeault’s play makes Allen expendable for the right price, and the Canadiens would do well to explore this avenue right now, especially if Carey Price is aiming for a return in April.

More to come..

 

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Dylan (The guy with poutine as his profile pic)

More to come indeed, Marco.

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