The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline will be huge for the Montreal Canadiens, as they look to be one of the busier clubs in the lead-up to March 3.
With the Canadiens not likely to compete for a playoff spot, they’ll likely be sellers at the trade deadline, and, like last season, they’ll have a shopping list of what type of assets they’ll want in return.
Last season, the Canadiens were able to fill a major organization need when they traded Artturi Lehkonen to Colorado in exchange for a right-shot defenceman in Justin Barron. It may have been hard to let Lehkonen go, but Barron filled a huge hole on the right side of the defence at the time and more trades of the sort are likely in order over the next year.
So here’s what the Canadiens are likely to target at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline
Threes A Charm
Hughes hasn’t wavered in the slightest when it comes to his end game this season; he wants to capitalize on what is supposed to be a rather deep draft in 2023. Already owning two 1st-round picks, their own and that of the Florida Panthers via the Ben Chiarot trade, Hughes would like to add another 1st round pick before the end of the season, as he feels this is the kind of draft that could set the Canadiens on the right path.
“Ideally, yes,” said Hughes in an interview with TVA Sports when asked about his desire to acquire a third 1st round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. “We have some good youngsters within the organization and it would be important to get our hands on some quality assets that will be able to keep up with them in the future.”
Although Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov seem to be the talk of the draft, for now, there is a strong contingent of talent all the way through the 1st round of this upcoming draft, and Hughes believes that one more strong haul of talented youngsters could put the Canadiens on the path to contending down the line.
Adding a third pick in the top 32 would likely be a game-changer for the Canadiens organization, as it would be the biggest influx of top talent the organization has seen in
Future In Net
The Montreal Canadiens are looking to address their goaltending future, with some young goaltenders across the league as potential targets.
Cayden Primeau has unfortunately been unable to put up consistent performances so far this season, which will prompt the Canadiens to look elsewhere to determine the future of such a vital position. The Canadiens bought themselves a little time by extending Jake Allen for an extra two years, but they’ll need to have a successor in place and ready to take No. 1 duties before then.
They have done a good job of adding goalies to the prospect pool in every draff like Frederik Dichow (2019), Jakub Dobes (2020), Joe Vrbetic (2021) and Emmit Croteau (2022), but ultimately lack that can’t-miss prospect at that position that would be the heir apparent for the No.1 goaltender position. That is not to say that any of the goaltenders listed above couldn’t eventually develop into an NHL starter, but they’re far from sure things at this moment.
Like last trade deadline, the Canadiens had mentioned they were looking for 1st-round picks or an equivalent asset in the form of a highly-touted prospect.
It was said that the Canadiens wanted a 1st-round pick for Lehkonen before moving him to Colorado, and they were able to compromise in the acquisition of Barron, who was a former 1st-round pick and further along in his development.
In the event that the Canadiens aren’t able to extract a 1st-round pick from teams, due to the high quality of the 2023 NHL Draft, there may be prospects included in trades for top players like Sean Monahan or Joel Edmundson, which could help speed up the Canadiens rebuild.
After having addressed their defence last NHL Trade Deadline, it would seem the Canadiens could be targeting scoring forwards moving forward.
One player that fits this bill for the Canadiens is Oilers prospect Xavier Bourgault, but he’s only one of many potential options that could present themselves once the true negotiations begin to take place after the All-Star break.