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Montreal Canadiens Not Done Clearing Cap Space, More Moves Coming



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens started their purge of high-priced contracts bogging down their salary cap structure with the Shea Weber trade, but more moves are expected to come.

When asked to comment on the reasoning behind the trading of Shea Weber‘s contract to the Vegas Golden Knights, Hughes confirmed that he was looking for financial flexibility under the cap for the future. With Weber’s contract carrying a $7.8M cap hit for another four seasons, it was the length of the contract, coupled with the cap Hit, that worried Hughes and prompted him to move. After his trade with the Vegas Golden Knights, Hughes believed both teams were satisfied with the outcome, but that he still had more work to do.

“It was a trade that works for both clubs. It gives Vegas flexibility. For us, it gives flexibility in the future. I’m expecting us to have more of a need for flexibility in the future,” said Hughes on his priorities moving forward.”We’re having a lot of conversations and exploring many ways where we can gain flexibility.”

According to Hughes, his goal is not necessarily to free up cap space for this upcoming season, but to ensure that he has flexibility for the subsequent years to follow. With the influx of young players coming into the lineup over the next few years, and key youngsters to sign in the coming months like Cole Caufield and Alexander Romanov, Hughes needs to ensure he has the money to sign them and keep them.


Players The Montreal Canadiens Could Move

After he confirmed that much work was left to be done to acquire the kind of financial flexibility he was comfortable with, Hughes began to address the status of some of his higher-priced players going into the off-season. Jeff Petry is a name that has been in NHL trade rumours for months but was ultimately a player that would likely have to be moved in the summer, due to his $6.25M cap Hit for the next three seasons. Although some teams have expressed interest in the past, like the Dallas Stars or the Pittsburgh Penguins, a trade for the veteran defenceman doesn’t seem imminent, but that doesn’t mean it wonèt eventually happen.

“I don’t think there’s an imminent trade for Jeff. But I won’t rule out that there could be a trade. Teams are evaluating their needs right now. We’ll see. I can tell you my phone is ringing more this week than last week.”

Petry’s name wasn’t the only player that was brought up, as Josh Anderson is another veteran whose name has been floating around in the background since the trade deadline. Unlike Petry, the Montreal Canadiens aren’t openly shopping their power forward, but they are listening to what other teams have to offer, as they continue to try to improve their team.

“I think we have to listen. We’re in 32nd place. We have to listen to all options to improve the teams,” said Hughes on whether or not he’d trade Anderson. “We had many teams call on Josh, up until the TDL, and some have called recently too. That should tell you how much we like Josh.”

Hughes didn’t shoot down the possibility of making a trade for either player, but ultimately seemed content with letting teams come to them with offers they simply couldn’t refuse. Hughes plans on being active on many fronts this off-season, with other players like Mike Hoffman or Joel Armia could also be sacrificed to gain more flexibility under the cap. Who goes next is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for certain: the Montreal Canadiens appear far from done in their efforts to clear cap space this summer.

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