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Potential Waiver Targets For The Montreal Canadiens

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Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes isn’t coy when it comes to discussing his team’s needs, and that includes his ongoing search for a defenceman.

He’s taken a patient approach thus far, owing to the lack of quality players on waivers, but as the regular season quickly approaches, the availability of defenceman, which has been quite limited, should grow exponentially.

It appears the team has done its homework, identifying a few organizations that could yield interesting options on the blue line.

“We’re watching the organizations we know that have too many defencemen, that aren’t going to be able to get into a 23-man roster without exposing somebody,” Hughes told The Athletic.

It’s become a game of waiver-wire chicken, particularly for teams that have serviceable defencemen who are currently signed to a reasonable contract.

Teams such as Pittsburgh simply have too few spots available and too many players who require waivers in the lineup. They’ll have to decide between P-O Joseph, who was offered in a trade to 31 other teams, and Mark Friedman.

Given his ability to play both sides of the ice, Friedman fits the bill perfectly, though Joseph, a Laval native, would bring a little more potential to the table.

The Minnesota Wild still have 9 defencemen at camp, including Calen Addison, who is waiver-exempt but is currently enjoying a great preseason audition with the team. If Addison earns a job on the Wild’s opening-night roster, 31-year-old Andrej Sustr could end up on the waiver wire.

Sustr only has one year remaining on his current contract, which pays him just $750,000 per season. It’s also worth noting he’s a right-handed defenceman, making him the ideal waiver-wire target Hughes.

The Calgary Flames also have an excess of bodies on the blueline, and with Michael Stone seemingly on the verge of exchanging his professional try-out for an NHL contract, mobile defender Juuso Valimaki may soon be available.

The left-handed defenceman is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, with his current deal carrying an average annual value (AAV) of $1.5 million.

As for right-handed defencemen, Nicholas Meloche could become a legitimate target. The Lasalle native carries an AAV of $950,000 on a one-year deal set to expire at the end of the season.

And finally, the Anaheim Ducks still have 10 defencemen at camp, including the newly-signed Nathan Beaulieu. If they choose to assign Jamie Drysdale to the AHL, they could mitigate the risk of losing a player, but given his current form, it’s unlikely they go that route, meaning either Josh Mahura or Simon Benoit could be exposed to the waiver wire.

It’s unclear which team will flinch first, however, at this point they’re surely aware Kent Hughes is ready to pounce, circling their defenceman like an eager seagull in a McDonald’s parking lot hoping to see a delicious french fry emerge from a car window.

As the team that finished 32nd in the standings last season, the Montreal Canadiens will maintain waiver priority over the rest of the league until Nov.1, at which point the teams will be reseeded in the waiver-wire priority queue according to their position in the standings.

(Contract information via Capfriendly)

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Dave

Would have been better off signing subban so he didn’t retire.

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