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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Could Take Advantage Of Thinning Rental Market



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens may not have much momentum heading into the NHL Trade Deadline, but the rapidly thinning rental market could quickly change things.

As of this junction, Bo Horvat, Ryan O’Reilly, and Vladimir Tarasenko are already off the board.

Jonathan Toews has confirmed that he will not be traded, due to the lingering effects of long Covid, while Patrick Kane will have a very limited list of interested buyers.

Compared to past years, the market is drying up quickly on potential buyers, meaning that new players will have to be targeted; especially with the Eastern Conference’s ongoing Arms Race.

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes, who many believe will be quiet on NHL Trade Deadline, could pounce on the needs of his rivals, as he has so many times in the past.

It just might not be how it was initially drawn up at the start of the season.

Middle Ground

The Sean Monahan situation is not looking good.

If the Montreal Canadiens could get Monahan back on the ice and playing games, he would have a very interesting market with every other top-six, rental centre now off the board.

Although head coach Martin St-Louis believes the player has plateaued in his rehab, there is still hope within the Canadiens organization that Monahan could return to play before the NHL Trade Deadline.

That hope is dwindling of late, as Monahan did not attend Canadiens practice and isn’t travelling with the team this week.

If, and that’s a big if, he does return, a deal that includes a conditional draft pick, that will vary according to Monahan’s ability to play, could make sense for some buyers and the Habs.

A New Challenger

Although Monahan would have been the logical choice for a trade, given his expiring contract, there is another player that could generate some interest now that the centre market has thinned out.

Christian Dvorak has been playing some of the best hockey of the season of late, centering veterans Jonathan Drouin and Joel Armia.

The trio has been the Canadiens’ best line since being put together, and Dvorak has seen an uptick in his offensive chance creation.

Dvorak’s controlled shot ratio has notably increased of late, going from roughly 41% of controlled shots while on the ice to 49% in February. Even his expected goal totals have increased at the perfect time, going from a low ratio of 39% to a much more respectable 47% in the last month.

The 27-year-old forward currently sits fourth on the Montreal Canadiens in scoring with 23 points in 56 games, the offence, or lack thereof, is in line with the rest of the team’s dried-up offensive contributions.

Dvorak’s points percentage compared to his teammates, in conjunction with his 52% faceoff efficacy rate, prop him favourably within the team’s structure; hinting that there is potential for a scoring hike on a stronger, more balanced club.

Given his $4.45M cap hit for another two seasons, the Canadiens could take on salary in the short term to make it work. In the right situation, he could be of interest around the league as clubs look to improve themselves down the middle in the immediate and mid-term.

Dvorak will have an eight-team No-Trade Clause kicking in this summer, which could also prompt the Canadiens to take their chance in moving the rugged centre, given the emergence of Kirby Dach at centre and the great performance of Alex Belzile of late.



All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick.