REPORT: Canadiens Edmundson Still Of Interest On Trade Market
Montreal Canadiens defenceman Joel Edmundson still remains of interest on the NHL trade market despite his recent rash of injuries.
On the one hand, he’s been a very effective top-four defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens in the past, who is a leader in the room and a mentor to the young Canadiens.
But on the other hand, his injuries over the last two years have made it difficult for him to get consistent playing time with the Canadiens.
During those long periods out with injury, youngsters like Arber Xhekaj, Kaiden Guhle and Jordan Harris have all seemingly taken the next step in their development and looked like bonafide NHLers in Edmundson’s absence.
Couple that with Mike Matheson emerging as a leader on the Habs’ defensive brigade and their unquestioned quarterback on the blue line, and things begin to get tight for Edmundson.
The Canadiens have a wealth of youth on the back end coming up in the next couple of years in Lane Hutson, William Trudeau and Adam Engstrom as well; making the timing for the deal quite ripe for Montreal.
Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has publicly admitted to having a surplus of left-shot defencemen, and has said he’s willing to use it to his advantage.
“Yes. We, of course have many prospects on the left side of our defence. We have Mike Matheson, (Kaiden) Guhle, (Jordan) Harris; we have Arber (Xhekaj); so we have a surplus of left-shot defencemen,” said Hughes during his mid-season press conference. “It’s one of the reasons we felt comfortable trading Alexander Romanov, even if we liked him very much.”
The big issue has been Edmundson’s four-week hiatus due to an injury, keeping him at the worst possible moment.
But things may change in a hurry if he can prove he’s ready to return to play.
Edmundson Still Of Interest
Teams like the Edmonton Oilers were reportedly interested in acquiring a player like Joel Edmundson, as he fits exactly the mould of a rugged, structured defenceman that the Oilers need.
Although some analysts believe the market has cooled on Edmundson due to his injuries, Darren Dreger confirmed that the Oilers and Canadiens remain in discussions regarding a possible Edmundson trade.
Montreal Hockey Now has also learned that, although some teams may appear apprehensive, a select few remain interested in Edmundson and would be willing to talk if he’s 100% healthy.
It’s now a question of ensuring that he’s able to withstand the rigours of the playoffs and making sure his rehab is done for good.
With Edmundson making the trip to California with the Canadiens, the hope is that he can get into Tuesday and Thursday’s game to shake off the rust and give prospective teams a look at his play to prove his rehab over the last month was a success.
He was seen at Canadiens practice on Monday with a practice jersey.
Edmundson carries an extra year on his deal, worth $3.5M annually, but, given his role on a competitive team, teams will likely be spending more than that on similar defencemen on the free agent market.
The 29-year-old has a wealth of NHL experience, lining up for 455 games in his career, along with an invaluable 75 games of NHL playoff experience, including two appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals.
MUST READ: Suitors For Canadiens Joel Edmundson On NHL Trade Market
Especially for a team like Edmonton, that is so far against the cap, having a player like Edmundson could make more sense than Mattias Ekholm ($6.25M) from a fiscal and asset management perspective, despite Ekholm being the better player.
The other added benefit is that the Canadiens, who will be shedding significant salary this summer, could always retain up to 50% of Edmundson’s salary ($1.75M) to sweeten the pot and extract some good value, despite his recent injury struggles.
However, that doesn’t mean a deal is necessarily imminent at all. Teams are waiting to see how the market shakes out, as well as Edmundson returning to play.
The added year on Edmundson’s contract means the Canadiens also have the leverage point of telling teams they’ll wait out for a better offer.
They could always move Edmundson before the NHL Draft or during the summer after some teams strike out in free agency.
But, with the arms race going on in the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference teams that have expressed interest in Edmundson could be inclined to make a serious pitch closer to the Trade Deadline.
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So much for the Edmundson to Edmonton rumours. I was reading this article when That’s Hockey came on and I heard about the Ekholm deal. 🤷🏻♂️