After the 2022-23 season, a modified no-trade clause will kick in for the six-year contract Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak signed with the Arizona Coyotes on August 9, 2018. With a very reasonable cap hit at $4.45M and this being the last offseason that the Canadiens have full control in any NHL trade for Dvorak, it’s no surprise that the 26-year-old Dvorak has become a buzz name in recent NHL trade chatter.
“His name’s out there,” an NHL source confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now Thursday. “I’m not saying the Habs are shopping him, but from the sounds of what I’ve heard lately, teams are thinking of inquiring, if they haven’t already.”
It’s no secret that Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry, who has three years with a $6.2 million cap hit left on his contract, is being shopped and has been shopped on the NHL trade market since he requested a trade out of Montreal midway through the 2021-22 season.
“We had conversations with a group of teams. As you know, when you’re working on a Trade Deadline, most of the teams looking to acquire that kind of player are close to the Cap,” said Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes shortly after the NHL Trade Deadline when discussing the difficult task of moving Petry’s contract mid-season. “Acquiring a contract for multiple years at that number becomes a challenge; it’s probably more likely an offseason move. We did have conversations, and there was one team in particular that we thought might materialize and make sense for both clubs, but in the end, Jeff’s here.”
According to the same NHL team source above, his team, and others did inquire about Dvorak prior to the NHL Trade Deadline but it likely was a similar situation to that of Petry.
Christian Dvorak, like Petry, picked up his play after Martin St. Louis was hired on Feb. 9. Christian Dvorak was doing more of what the Canadiens envisioned him doing when then-Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin traded for Dvorak back on Sept. 4 in exchange for a first round pick in the upcoming 2022 NHL Entry Draft and a second rounder in 2024.
In the 34 games he played under former head coach Dominique Ducharme, Dvorak put up seven goals and nine assists, a 56-percent faceoff percentage in an average ice time of 18 minutes a game. Dvorak then put up three goals and 12 assists for 15 points in 21 games and a 58% faceoff percentage under Martin St. Louis. Dvorak finished the season with 11 goals and 22 assists in 56 games last season.
So what could Dvorak net the Canadiens on the NHL trade market other than cap space?
“I would think a 1st. Or a prospect and a 2nd or 3rd. Not high first. Mid to lower,” another NHL source said.
Petry and his $6.2M cap hit will very likely end up somewhere on the NHL Trade market and be off the books for the Montreal Canadiens at some point this offseason and the Canadiens will look into plenty of scenarios to free up cap space on the NHL trade market and get out from the -171,309 hole they’re currently in.
Now the question could be, does Hughes decide to free himself from the $4.4M cap hit of Dvorak on the NHL Trade market or hope that he can continue with an upward trajectory under St. Louis?