Canadiens Prospects That Could Be Dangled In Potential Trades
The Montreal Canadiens are looking to acquire top-end talent and picks to build for a better future, and sacrificing veterans might not be their only means to achieving that goal.
As it stands right now, the Montreal Canadiens prospect pool has a significant amount of depth, but lacks quantity when it comes to the top-end talent that a rebuilding team needs to put them over the edge.
Montreal can count on some impressive youngsters like Lane Hutson, Sean Farrell and Joshua Roy; but others are quickly being passed by younger prospects and could be used as trade bait to piece together bigger deals.
Be it through the swap of prospects or the inclusion of a prospect in a bigger deal that could bring more long-term value, it presents a more strategically sound avenue than simply stockpiling all the prospects possible.
A clear example of such a strategy was put on display at the 2022 NHL Draft, where the Canadiens capitalized on their depth on the left side of their defence to fix a long-standing need at centre.
By moving the 22-year-old Alexander Romanov for the 13th overall selection, the Canadiens were able to flip said pick and a 3rd-rounder to acquire Kirby Dach and add some much-needed firepower up front.
Here are a few options the Canadiens could sacrifice from their prospect pool to better aid their endeavour of rebuilding.
After impressive seasons in HockeyAllsvenskan and the SHL following his selection in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft, Mattias Norlinder was seen as the potential offensive defenceman of the future for the Montreal Canadiens.
Unfortunately, the 22-year-old has not had the smoothest transition to playing in North America, at least within the Canadiens organization and could possibly be afforded better utilization in another organization.
He was long considered one of Montreal’s top prospects, but has been surpassed by the likes of Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris; while the acquisition of Nicolas Beaudin and the rapid progression of William Trudeau makes him even more expendable, should general manager Kent Hughes need a defensive prospect to sweeten the pot.
With players like Lane Hutson and Adam Engstrom also looking like legitimate NHL prospects set to join the NHL/AHL ranks in the next year or two, Norlinder is a viable option for trade bait.
Mattias Norlinder puts this puck just under the bar and it's 2-1 Rocket! pic.twitter.com/xFBm3cPlFm
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 28, 2023
Oliver Kapanen is an interesting two-way centre currently developing in the Finnish Liiga for KalPa.
He’s having himself a career year so far this season, posting nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in 43 games so far this season; an enormous bump in offensive production from his difficult post-draft season.
The Canadiens’ 2nd-round pick in 2021 also performed admirably for Finland at this year’s World Junior Championship; acting as their top centre and playing a sound, two-way game.
That being said, the Canadiens have a plethora of potential bottom-six centres in the lineup, and Kapanen’s value is likely the highest it’s ever been given his recent upswing in offensive output.
The Canadiens have Jake Evans locked in for a couple of more years, and youngsters like Owen Beck, Riley Kidney, Cedrick Guindon and Vinzenz Rohrer are capable of playing such a role; making a player like Kapanen expendable.
Yksi, yksi! #Habs Oliver Kapanen nets the rebound for KalPa's first goal of the night. #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/bbiULhEHx7
— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) February 4, 2023
This may be a shocker to some, as many are already pencilling in Jesse Ylönen into the Montreal Canadiens’ lineup as of next season.
The 23-year-old is getting close to the point where the Canadiens need to make a decision in terms of where he fits in the future.
He will no longer be exempt from waivers next year and the Canadiens are projected to have an even bigger logjam at forward next season then the one they dealt with this year.
With the likes of Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Cole Caufield all being right-shooting forwards, it could make it difficult for Ylönen to crack the roster next season in anything more than a 4th-line or extra forward role.
It won’t get any easier for him in tersm of direct competition, as Joshua Roy, Emil Heineman, Riley Kidney, Sean Farrell and potentially even Filip Mesar will be jumping into the Montreal Canadiens organization full time.
That being said, if the Montreal Canadiens do decide to keep Ylönen in the fold, which would be a very agreeable decision among fans, it means that Hughes succeeded in moving out some veterans between now and the NHL Trade Deadline.
He is the least likely of the trio to be dangled, but remains a player that opposing teams could request in order to even out a much bigger trade for the Canadiens.
#Habs Jonathan Drouin interception + Jesse Ylonen pass= Kirby Dach goal vs #Predators
Assists: Ylonen, Drouin@AllHabs @RocketSports #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/WSnsV3xvrb
— Chris G (@ChrisHabs360) January 13, 2023
I’ve been saying this since the rebuild began. We need elite talent to hope to be as good or better than the team that came within 3 wins of the Cup in ‘21. The only ways to get it are finish at the bottom of the league or to somehow convince teams on the cusp of a Cup run to sacrifice a blue chip kid for a player that can help put them over the top now. An example of what I wanted to do was to add sweeteners in the form of prospects to the Chiarot trade in order to pry Spencer Knight away from Florida. We have an abundance of prospects in the pipeline, the majority of which we will not sign to contracts or keep long term. We should be packaging our quantity to bring back quality.
Your idea to snare Knight is a good one. He’s heir-apparent to Bobs now.
We’ve seen this season how the injuries have racked up again even among the young players. There is a long list of prospects coming, sure, and Ylonen may be the most viable trade bait. He still has more to learn, to play more in the center of the ice, but he’s intriguing. Once Roy and Beck arrive on the scene things will get spicy to be sure. But depth is still key for a contender. Once the draft is over this summer we may see much more movement on the trade front.
Unfortunately, we missed our opportunity. Last year is when we should have went all out to get Knight. It’s too late now. Florida signed him to a bridge deal, and Bobrovsky is 1yr closer to being finished that albatross contract. Last year, when Florida won the President’s Trophy for finishing 1st overall, and actually thought they were Stanley Cup contenders, was the time to steal Knight. Florida was in win now mode, however delusional that may have been. But now that reality has set in and they know they’re not as good as they thought they were, they have to think about the future more. That’s why they signed the RFA Knight. It’s too late now. Had we sent Chiarot, Allen and something else to Florida, we might have been able to get our goalie of the future. Everyone is dancing in the streets because we got an unprotected 1st in this draft (which is great), but at the time, the better move would have been to go for a more sure thing, and grab Knight for whatever it would have taken.
Acquiring Knight in the Chiarot trade would have been a steal for the ages, considering that Chiarot was a rental. . Getting a 6’3” , 200 lb. top ranked NCAA goalie , 20 years old and 13th overall pick wasn’t going to happen . Hughes probably got more than we could have ever expected and the 2023 pick will still bring a top talent , goalie or otherwise .
It’s funny that you say that because most people think we did get the steal of the ages with an unprotected 2023 1st. But remember, I wasn’t suggesting that Chiarot alone would have gotten us Knight. We had to add to him in order to try to pry Knight away. It would have to have included Allen too (to replace Knight in the here and now) and then another piece to give something for the future to Florida as well. A pick or a prospect.
Teams rarely let a high end young goalie go . The Panthers traded a young Roberto Luongo to the Canucks and they regretted that move , then getting him back to Florida later in his career. They learned from that and wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
In general, definitely. But the management that traded Luongo are long gone. There have been multiple management changes since then too. Plus, teams that think they’re right on the cusp, especially if their franchise has never won a Cup, tend to really go all in and make moves that other teams wouldn’t. That’s why we had to make Florida an offer they couldn’t refuse with Chiarot + more.
Chiarot wasnt the end all be all for FLA
He was just the cheapest option
If MTL would have raised the price DAL would have got what they were asking for Klingberg . Instead FLA didnt step up and DAL kept Klingberg despite the trade request for 1 final run as no one wanted to pay 1st + Top Prospect + other signifigant piece the insiders said that DAL was asking.
Only reason MTL got what we did was we moved Chiarot to RD for the first time since he came to MTL and he went 9 points in 9 games before being traded. If he failed to produce on RD no way we get the same return
I wasn’t looking for a bigger return for Chiarot alone. I was hoping to add stuff with Chiarot to get Knight.
Acquiring Knight in the Chiarot trade would have been a steal for the ages , with Chiarot being a rental. Getting a top ranked, 6’3”NCAA goalie , 20 yo and 13th overall draft pick wasn’t going to happen . As it went down Hughes got more than we could have hoped for . The 2023 pick should turn out to be another top Canadiens prospect or it could be flipped for another great young player, possibly a goalie as we saw happen in the Dach acquisition at last year’s draft.
Knight is going nowhere.
Agreed, as usual Tyrone pretends he knows what he is talking about. He does not. His arrogance is in full display when he states “what I wanted to do” as if it actually means something.
Agreed. We missed the opportunity. It should have been done last year by adding to Chiarot with assets like Allen and something else, to take advantage of a Florida team that thought they could go all the way that year. Once they got taken out in the first round and then signed the RFA goalie, we lost our shot. But that’s the type of deals I felt we should have been making last year. We had extremely desirable assets for the short term aspirations of Cup contenders like Chiarot. We had excellent assets with term/control as well, like Toffoli, Petry and Lehkonen. We should have pulled out all the stops and packaged those guys with the quantity of prospects we had, to bring back the top prospects from those franchises. We did ok for the most part getting draft picks, but I think we needed to strive for better by using ALL the resources we had at our disposal. This year we don’t have near the quality of assets to move, so the likelihood of prying away another team’s top prospects is extremely unlikely. Opportunity lost. 🙁
Askarov though might
They’re not moving Saro’s for Askarov anymore than they were going to move Rinne for Saro’s back in the day. Plus Saro’s/Lanikainen is a younger tandem with good chemistry and numbers.
Askarov is good but i think if the pick to acquire Hrbal is available in a package this draft that they’d pull the trigger on a deal to buy themselves 2-3 years to make a choice on Goaltending plus given them a 6’6 Goalie with Askarov numbers.
NSH where they are now need Prospects especially on Defense.
We could help them there without them taking a bump in quality Goaltending wise just because Askarov is ready now
Tyrone you need to stop. Nobody cares what YOU wanted to do. We like discussing realistic ideas, not your fantasies. Besides, the Habs may not need a goalie. Monty has shown more than enough this year to be given a shot at the starters role. I agree that he has not played enough to prove himself worthy yet, but I think he definatly deserves the opportunity to prove himself.
So as soon as you discuss YOUR idea, it’s no different than me or anyone else sharing their thoughts. That’s what this forum is for. And the idea of mine that you shoot down is exactly what Marco was talking about. And for the record, I was probably the biggest supporter of Monty last year when everyone else was dumping on him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s getting the recognition this year for the potential that I saw last year. The Spencer Knight idea I had was also for last season when it looked like we had no idea who our future #1 goalie could be. And although Montembeault is doing great this year, I’d still say to do the Chiarot plus Allen plus whatever this year to get Knight if it were still feasible. It was just an example of using an asset available at the deadline plus our depth in the pipeline to bring back a bigger prize than if we just moved the UFA alone.
Its called not having parents to make you learn Accountability.
When i talked like this growing up my mom rewarded it.
My dad on the other hand did not and explained why in detail.
It boils down to this
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions , it doesnt justify the actions nor should it erase the mistake’s made in its name” then he went on to explain Actions have Consequences and Rights arent absolute if the people are ignorant of them.
Dave obviously didnt have the same balance.
Dont apologize or feel bad because you do.
Thanks. Appreciate it. It’s funny, my parents had the same mantra, “Actions have consequences” 👍 I think Dave is HabsRule at THW. He’s an even bigger piece of work over there.
Dave its a Free Democracy so yes im interested more in his opinion then your Fascism. If you’re not going to offer something intelligent then consider everything you just projected onto Tyrone to be part of a much bigger issue with how you conduct yourself.
Agree or Disagree but never try to snuff out the conversation because free thought offends you. Growth is only met when we confront eachother’s idea’s objectively with the common goal of reaching a middle ground . Its the difference between Free Democracy and the Fascist way the Catholic Church imposed themselves as governing authorities on ever nation with and without believers.
At some point we have to pull the Dave’s aside look them square in the eye and ask why they hate their country so much?
Askarov is the least tightly held top 10 Goalie prospect in the NHL today.
While he’s coveted Saro’s and Lanikanen are a solid Tandem both in their mid-late 20’s and can be invested in for atleast 5-6 years easily .
If MTL can give them a pick to get Hrbal a 6’6 giant with better then Askarov’s numbers at his age then Askarov is all MTL’s.
Why wouldnt MTL just get Hrbal ?
His size and development Projection is on par with Dichow for 2025 ish.
Askarov has been ready all year held down as they arent moving Saro’s for Askarov anymore then they were moving Rinne for Saro’s
Askarov most important fits in with MTL as he’ll need a Tandem situation for a few years before he can take Starter full time which is right when Monty will be a free agent and gone anyways.
I’d be fine with Askarov. But I’d be even happier with Askarov AND Hrabal. 😉
Makes more sense to move Kidney over Kapanen.
Both were the final 2 picks in the 2nd round overachieving.
That said Kapanen has been doing it vs men in the top SHL league which is overcrowded since many KHL players boycotted the last 2 seasons not honoring their contracts or re-signing them because of the war.
Kidney is overachieving in a kids league where he’ll see a crash in production as 100% of all players do in the QMJHL not named Nathan Mckinon,Marc Andre Fleury or Sydney Crosby since the the 2000 draft. As outside Generational 1st overall picks everyone experiences production dips jumping from Junior to Mens League’s including Kapanen when he did a few years ago.
It all comes down to if they would have picked Roy instead of him during Dach’s WJC run then MTL would have 3 straight gold not just the 2 Roy helped bring them .More important we have a Center who did more with Less in Owen Beck who did help capture a Gold with Team Canada.
While Kidney’s good when he faces his peers he’s been suspect at best which indicates in a mens league we’d be lucky if he can make himself a bottom 6 regular. With Mesar and Farrel moving to Center it hurts the argument to keep him even more given Farrel is a top NCAA Center leading the 4th best NCAA line in a very deep league.
Kidney also has the most value today
Plus leaving Kapanen to develop in the SHL avoids our overcrowding issues next year in laval as many players age out of their leagues including 4th in WHL Scoring Jared Davidson who Leads a stacked team of 1st rounders and Gold Medalist as the top undisputed player . (His team had 4 WJC Gold medalist on the Team Canada roster alone but he’s out played them all)
It also helps former QMJHL Jean Beliveau winner and Top Center in Laval propelling Anthony ” Laval Rocket ” Richard to 3rd in AHL Goal scoring after dropping from 1st on his call up during his career high season. Mr Abbadanato has quickly risen as have many goal scorer’s around him while he himself is producing at a high level. He set to replace Jake Evans as Laval’s most productive Forward in their history and in another year will be a serious option for Call up as a full time guy. IF MTL doesnt sign him another NHL team will because of his high end playmaking and speed.
The Log jam issues at Center in AHL are a real issue in the next 2 years with MTL having 14 players rights to sign or release not including the contracts they’ll dish out for this and next years draft (usually 2-3 a year) . We’re just in a position where Mysak and Kidney probably have to go or get forced into a log jam that hurts their development and value