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Monahan Key To Canadiens Reaching Goal For 2023 NHL Draft



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes would like to add a third 2023 1st round pick before the end of the season, and shopping Sean Monahan may be his best way to get it done.

In a recent interview with the Athletic‘s Marc-Antoine Godin, Hughes spoke candidly about his goals for the upcoming season.

“We’ll make moves here. We could do it in October, we could do it in January, we’ll do it at the trade deadline, but we’ll make moves, generally speaking, and those moves are going to be to acquire either prospects or picks again,” said Hughes to Godin. “We have two first-round picks. In a perfect world, we end up with three first-round picks. And then we use that collateral to see what we can do in terms of moving up to have higher picks or whatever, depending on what we see at the draft.”

Hughes’ desire to add yet another 1st round pick comes at the best possible moment, with the 2023 NHL Draft upcoming. This upcoming class boasts a top-10 that could arguably rival that of any draft in the last 15 years at this rate, with Connor Bedard, Matvei Michkov, Adam Fantilli, Dalibor Dvorsky, Zachary Benson, Leo Carlsson, Brayden Yager and more to chose from.

Big Market For Centres

At this time, Sean Monahan is the only pending free agent displaying the kind of play that would tempt a team to sacrifice a 1st round pick in the right deal come NHL trade deadline. He’s looked good in every game he’s for Montreal. He’s been great on faceoffs, creating plays out of nothing and complementing the top line of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield quite well.

The longer Monahan spends showcasing on the Canadiens’ top line, the higher his overall deadline value is likely to become. At the very least, even if the line continues to produce, but fails to improve its underlying numbers, Monahan’s value should increase.

Monahan does have a $6.375M cap hit, which could be tough to swallow right now, but the Canadiens have the ability to not only retain 50% of his cap hit in any trade, they could likely take on an expiring contract to make the money work with any interested team.

When looking at the available free agent centres across the league, Jonathan Toews and his $10.5M cap hit is at the top, followed by the likes of Monahan, Dylan Larkin, and Bo Horvat; meaning the pickings for an affordable top-6 centre will be slim. One could doubt that the Red Wings, who are just starting to turn the corner on their rebuild, would entertain moving Dylan Larkin, meaning that Toews, Horvat and Monahan could be part of a very exclusive market come NHL trade deadline.

With other pending free agents like Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Drouin still needing to pick up their games, and Joel Edmundson once again on injured reserve, Monahan may in fact be the Montreal Canadiens’ best trade chip to acquire a third 1st round pick before the end of the season.

Early Look At 2023 NHL Draft Should Get Canadiens Fans Excited

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If you were the GM Marco, would these be the kinds of moves you would make?

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