The Montreal Canadiens were almost involved in a sign & trade with the Edmonton Oilers this summer.
On the most recent episode of 32 Thoughts, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman spoke about how the Edmonton Oilers tried very hard to find a way to get John Klingberg on the team, but ultimately could not afford his salary demands. In a creative attempt to try and get Klingberg his money and also fit him within their salary structure, the Oilers had talked to the Montreal Canadiens about facilitating a move that would have been a league first.
“Before he ended up in Anaheim, I do think they (Edmonton Oilers) were looking at Klingberg and they were trying to do something with another team, potentially Montreal,” said Friedman on the potential deal that fell through between the Canadiens and Oilers. “Klingberg would sign there (Montreal) and then get traded to Edmonton. Montreal would have retained a bit and the Oilers would have added a sweetener and maybe they’d have to move a player or two. I do think that was talked about.”
Unfortunately, the deal fell through between the Oilers and the Canadiens, and Montreal then turned their attention toward working on the eventual Sean Monahan trade, which came with a valuable 1st round pick. It would have been interesting to see the kind of sweetener the Oilers would have had to provide the Canadiens and whether or not one of the players that Friedman thought would go Montreal’s way would have been Jesse Puljujarvi; a restricted free agent that Montreal has shown interest in recently.
Although such a deal would have been interesting, it further confirms that Kent Hughes was very active this summer in trying to turn any potential cap space into valuable returns for the Montreal Canadiens. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if this is a trend that will continue all the way up to the NHL trade deadline, as the Canadiens will have all three of their retention slots available to work around the cap now that Carey Price is on LTIR.