The Montreal Canadiens continue to acquire offensive players that are soon-to-be free agents, giving them interesting options for next season’s trade deadline.
The Montreal Canadiens now have Sean Monahan, Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin, Jake Allen and Paul Byron as impending free agents for this upcoming season, on top of a player like Mike Hoffman, who will have one year left on his deal after this season. The Canadiens will have plenty of ammunition when it comes to making trades at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline comes around, at least much more than was previously thought at the start of the summer.
Montreal Canadiens To Be Open For Business
The Canadiens will also have the ability to retain salary on up to three of those contracts, likely for the bigger contracts like Monahan ($6.3M), Dadonov ($5M) or Drouin ($5.5M), should the right offer come along. With the Canadiens utilizing LTIR space this season due to the injury of Carey Price, they will not be able to accrue cap space throughout the season. This means that every time the Canadiens retain salary in a deal for whichever player they choose to move, it will give them more fiscal flexibility after each trade (unless the trade includes more salary and a sweetener coming back as well).
The ability to move out these future free agents will have the second option of providing the Canadiens with even more financial flexibility to take on salary on the short term leading up to the deadline, in a similar way to the Monahan trade with Calgary. Being a potential cap broker would allow the Canadiens to secure extra picks or potentially even prospects from teams that are close to the cap and desperate to make some very necessary moves, as we saw from Brad Treviling earlier this week. An example of such a deal could be the trade between Boston Bruins and Anaheim at the 2020 NHL trade deadline, which saw the Bruins trade their 2020 1st round pick, a prospect and David Backes for Ondrej Kase. By taking on salary and also trading a coveted player, the Ducks were able to optimize the return from the Bruins, and the Canadiens could be in a position to do the same come February 2023.
Trade a Few, Keep a Few?
The Canadiens will also have the luxury of picking which of the players they would like to re-sign, as it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that they would like to keep some of these players that perform and gel with the club’s young core. For example, should Monahan return to his scoring ways prior to his injury troubles, general manager Kent Hughes may decide to sign the big centre to an extension, given he’s still young a 27 (then 28) years old. The same can be said for goaltender Jake Allen, who will now be heavily relied upon as the Montreal Canadiens’ No. 1 goaltender moving forward. With the lack of an heir apparent in nets, Allen may be extended on the short term to allow the Canadiens to prepare for a sustainable transition at such a vital position.
It will ultimately depend on the offers available to Hughes and the Montreal Canadiens throughout the upcoming season, but the Canadiens will not be lacking options this season when it comes to moving out assets.