Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is actively working the phones on a deal with a few teams, but who is looking to deal right now?
Based on information Montreal Hockey Now has been able to gather across the league, the Canadiens are one of at least five teams actively looking to make a move early in the season.
Here are four teams that have been connected to the Canadiens recently:
The Senators were dealt a heavy blow last week when centre Josh Norris was announced to be out of action, possibly for the whole season, due to a recent shoulder injury.
The Senators have seemingly stumbled out of the gate so far this season, sitting last in the very competitive Atlantic Division.
Although Derrick Brassard has performed admirably in an enhanced role, Ottawa has struggled recently with their defensive game and would like to alleviate some of the defensive responsibility on Shane Pinto.
Enter Christian Dvorak.
Multiple sources confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that the Ottawa Senators had significant interest in Dvorak during the summer.
General manager Pierre Dorion was in Winnipeg last night to take in the game between the Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets and sources confirm Dvorak is still a player they like.
Nothing appears to be imminent, but the Senators are at a make-or-break point of their rebuild, and missing out on the playoffs is simply not an option.
Add to the fact that Ryan Ellis isn’t expected to play this season and James Van Riemsdyk is expected to miss six weeks, and the Flyers are going to have a time sustaining their early-season success if they don’t use their extra space to add to their roster, especially at centre.
After the acquisition of Sean Monahan last, the Montreal Canadiens have a surplus of centres, while the Flyers would have Kevin Hayes as their No. 1 centre in the absence of Couturier. Monahan has proven to be an effective centre for the Canadiens during his time with them so far this season and perhaps giving him the opportunity to run his own line could further help spread the offence for the Canadiens.
This could allow the Canadiens to dangle Dvorak in a trade.
Although he’s been slow to produce the offence so far this season, Dvorak continues to excel in two areas the Flyers are struggling in: penalty kill and faceoffs.
As we currently speak, the Flyers are 26th in the NHL in the faceoff circle with an average of about 46%, while Dvorak continues to be his reliable self with a 53.7% success rate so far this season.
With one win in their last five games, the Flyers are seemingly cooling after their hot start to the season, and general manager Chuck Fletcher is going to feel pressure to make a move sooner than later.
With the recent news that general manager Kent Hughes has been working the phones as of late, Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan seems to have been one of his more substantial callers.
Having recently lost forward Connor Brown to a season-ending injury, the Capitals are in need of another top-9 forward with experience in their lineup. They’re currently testing youngster Connor McMichael and free-agent signing Sonny Milano in that role, but if neither can stick, they’ll be getting on the horn rather quickly, given the incredibly competitive landscape of the Metropolitan Division.
For the Montreal Canadiens, moving a player like Evgenii Dadonov or Jonathan Drouin, whom are on expiring deals, seems to be the easiest solution, because the Canadiens have the flexibility to retain those contracts.
An NHL club can retain salary on up to three contracts at the same time, and the Canadiens have all three retention slots available at this time. If they feel like they would rather bite the bullet and retain 50% on Dadonov ($5M) or Drouin ($5.5) now, rather than the trade deadline, they could make that move. The other point here is, for teams like the Capitals or the Canadiens, who are using LTIR, making a trade now or later in the season changes nothing to their cap space, because they don’t accrue extra space while on LTIR like you normally would if you were cap compliant.
There is certainly potential for a move of this magnitude right now; as many teams are beginning to get antsy about their position in the standings.
With Washington playing .500 hockey as of late; you can expect that they won’t wait too long to remedy their depth issues right now, as reinforcements aren’t due back for a little while longer.
Sources have confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that the Anaheim Ducks are looking to make a deal.
At the Montreal Canadiens’ most recent home game, the Ducks sent three members of their organization, including assistant general manager Rob DiMaio in attendance.
The Ducks have, even after losing Josh Mahura to waivers and Jamie Drysdale to injury, still have too many bodies on defence, while missing some scoring punch at forward.
Cap space is also not an issue for the Ducks, as they currently have $14.5M in cap space right now.
Veterans like Jonathan Drouin or Evgenii Dadonov, whom the Anaheim Ducks almost acquired last season, could make sense for them to look for to give them a boost offensively and add some much-needed experience. However, Dadonov likely still has Anaheim on his no-trade list, so Drouin or even a Mike Hoffman could make more sense here.
General manager Pat Verbeek continues to be in dialogue, and, like Kent Hughes, is actively looking to improve his club according to NHL sources.