The Montreal Canadiens have had their NHL Trade Deadline plans diminished due to untimely injuries, but they do have some options with veteran Sean Monahan.
After weeks of uncertainty, it appears that the Montreal Canadiens may be delivering an update on Sean Monahan over the coming days.
He’s been out of the Canadiens’ lineup since early December after being spotted with a walking boot during the Canadiens’ Western Canadian road trip and seemingly tweaking something against the Vancouver Canucks on December 6.
Since then, it’s been a very difficult situation to read for both the organization and the Canadiens fanbase, as Monahan’s injury was only supposed to keep him out a few weeks.
That was three months ago.
On a recent segment of 32 Thoughts, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman broke down the situation with Monahan, indicating that there still is hope for the Canadiens.
“I think it’s possible he could be out for a while. It might not knock him out for the entire season, but it could knock him out for a little bit,” said Friedman regarding Monahan’s situation. “It’s a situation where a team will try to add him and hopes that he could get healthy sometime around the playoffs.”
Monahan’s health status is going to be the driving factor in the next steps for the veteran winger; giving the Montreal Canadiens a few options to consider.
Let’s take a look:
It’s a similar situation that the Columbus Blue Jackets are facing with veteran Gustav Nyquist, who is out for most of the season with a shoulder injury.
The 33-year-old forward will likely come back right before the NHL playoffs and is likely a player Columbus could move despite the injury status.
The same could apply to Monahan, who could be moved for a conditional draft pick, likely in the mid-range, that could increase based on the acquiring team’s playoff performances and Monahan’s percentage of games played in that process.
As an example, the Canadiens could receive a conditional 4th-round pick that becomes a 2nd-round pick if the acquiring team reaches the Conference Finals and Monahan plays 50% of the games.
It’s certainly a possibility, as a healthy Monahan would be a massive help to any prospective team looking into his services; it all comes down to his health.
If Monahan is healthy, a conditional draft pick and a roster player, to even out the money, for Sean Monahan at 50% retained could be the best the Canadiens could hope for in this case.
But, if the Canadiens were to conclude that Monahan can’t return this season, they could be better off keeping him.
If Monahan is out for the rest of the season, it would be a huge blow to the Montreal Canadiens’ original trade plans, but it does present them with an additional advantage.
Monahan’s $6.375M cap hit is current on the Canadiens’ Long-Term Injury Reserve List (LTIR), and is currently sustaining their cap structure.
The Canadiens have $4.14M in cap space thanks to Monahan being on LTIR, but, if Monahan were to suddenly become healthy, the Canadiens would instantly need to shed up to $2.25M in cap space.
They could also send down Jesse Ylönen to the Laval Rocket in the form of a paper transaction, until the Canadiens sort out the health situations of Joel Armia and Kirby Dach, to maximize their cap structure by another $880,000.
That being said, if Monahan were out for the season, and there wasn’t a market for the Habs’ forward where the Canadiens could get a conditional draft pick in return, keeping him may be beneficial.
The Canadiens could have upwards of $7.5M in potential cap space if they hold onto the injured Monahan.
If there is a chance that Monahan can come back this season, then the Canadiens would be wise to make the trade and recoup whatever assets they can.