Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has let it be known that he’s looking to deal prior to the start of the season, and it seems he’s there’s been an uptick of activity over the last few days.
According to a well-placed NHL executive, Hughes has left no stone unturned in his quest to make a deal. The Canadiens’ general manager is focused on trying to gain as much cap space as he can prior to the start of the season to change his strategy regarding the Canadiens’ LTIR situation. If the Canadiens were able to clear some $2M in cap space before the start of the season, they may be able to remove Carey Price from off-season LTIR and further maximize their LTIR relief pool after the start of the NHL season.
Notwithstanding their current cap situation, there is a strong desire to unload a forward prior to the start of the season. Despite the unknown regarding the health of Paul Byron, Sean Monahan and Jonathan Drouin, Hughes would still like to part with a forward to allow for some fluidity in his forward ranks, especially if a rookie like Juraj Slafkovsky impresses at training camp.
The Canadiens are also in the market for a right-shot defenceman that could bring a veteran presence into the locker room and help bring along the youngsters that will be rotating in and out of the lineup. Although this information has been divulged openly by the general manager in the past, he’s been far more active in seeking out a trade than was previously thought.
According to the source, the Canadiens are looking to move some of their excess of forwards at the moment, but general managers aren’t yet ready to start moving around pieces of their roster until they get a clearer idea from their players at training camp. The usual suspects of Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia and, to a lesser extent, Christan Dvorak are among the players the Canadiens have been shopping this summer.
Jake Allen In High Demand
Although the Montreal Canadiens would prefer to move a forward, one name that teams continue to ask about when Hughes calls is Jake Allen. It was recently reported that the Canadiens had entered into preliminary contract talks with their current No. 1 goaltender to see where how close (or far) they stood concerning the terms of a possible extension. With so many teams continuing to ask about the availability of Allen, the source believes that the Canadiens could indeed be weighing the pros and cons of extending their 32-year-old goaltender, like they did Artturi Lehkonen at last season’s trade deadline.
It would be shocking to see the Canadiens move on from Allen before the start of the season, especially with Price now out for the year as well. The Montreal Canadiens have resisted so far and remain in talks with Allen to see if they can get a team-friendly deal done to buy the Canadiens some time to come up with a sustainable succession plan in nets.
The NHL betting odds on a Canadiens trade before the season starts on Oct. 12 are high. Hughes is weighing all the possibilities and as it stands; but the expectation is he’ll find a partner, if not partners, before the start of the season.