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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Deadline Review: Disappointing Yet Understandable



Montreal Canadiens hughes

The Montreal Canadiens’ trade deadline day ended with not a bang, but a whimper.

And though the overwhelming majority of Canadiens fans were disappointed with the results, it’s only fair to point out that Kent Hughes and Co. were handcuffed by several issues.

Issues that were, for the most part, out of his control.

Injury Problems

The Canadiens led the league in man-games lost for the second season in a row.

And while it certainly merits a review of the training regiment put in place by the team, there’s no way to pin the issue on Canadiens management.

Unfortunately, the injury bug removed their two best trade deadline assets from the equation, Sean Monahan and Joel Edmundson.

You can argue the Canadiens should not have let Monahan play two more games following his homecoming in Calgary, and you’d have a relatively valid argument on your hands, but matters of health come down to team doctors and the players in question, not management.

The Canadiens could have forced the issue, but by doing so, they’d be sending the message that they do not trust the experts they hired to make informed decisions.

The most surprising aspect of Hughes’ post-deadline press conference was the admission that he could have traded Edmundson but preferred to keep him on the team for leadership reasons.

At face value, it’s incredibly illogical to keep an aging asset on the team for leadership reasons when the club is set for another poor finish in the standings, especially when the asset in question has chronic back problems and has played a little over 60 games in the last few years.

Players like Matheson, Gallagher, Suzuki, and Savard, among others, should be able to provide ample leadership, especially since the team is not at risk of qualifying for the playoffs any time soon.

However, if there was simply no interest in Edmundson due to his endless stream of injuries, there was not much Hughes could have done to change the situation.

And seeing as Edmundson is under contract for another season, there is a possibility the Canadiens may get a decent return if they choose to trade him.

A very slim possibility.

Edmundson’s back issues have kept him out of action for long stretches in the last two seasons, but if he does manage to return to form, there’s an outside chance he may gain more value on the NHL Trade Market.

Historically speaking, however, back injuries are difficult to overcome, especially once a player is on the wrong side of 30.

Good Value

The Deadline itself was rather quiet, but Hughes did manage to find some value in the trades he made.

Fredric Allard will bolster the Laval Rocket’s defensive core as they push for a playoff spot, and the 5th-round pick the Canadiens acquired by facilitating a trade between San Jose and Pittsburgh was a tidy bit of business.

MUST READ: Canadiens Act As Salary Cap Brokers In Bonino Trade

They aren’t significant trades, but they were net gains nonetheless.

The real key to the deadline, or rather, the week leading up to the deadline, will be the outcome of the Dennis Gurianov trade.

As it stands, Gurianov seems poised to convince the Canadiens he’s a player that merits an investment, both in time and money. The sample size is rather small, but the team is giving Gurianov all the opportunities possible to prove himself.

In addition to playing him alongside Nick Suzuki, Gurianov has had more shifts in either of his two games with the Canadiens than he had with the Dallas Stars all season.

Consistency down the stretch will be key, but if the Canadiens manage to turn the speedy forward into a serviceable player that provides a sustained source of secondary offence, suddenly, their 2023 deadline would quickly fall into the ‘excellent’ category, especially when you consider they traded an expiring asset for his rights.

Brass Tacks

If you look back to the start of the season and circle which players the Canadiens needed to trade to maximize their asset value, you are probably disappointed at the lack of movement on Friday.

The team did not get better, either in the short or the long term.

But you’d also be hard-pressed to point blame the management group for the lack of action.

There were some questionable decisions, but for the most part, the context led to a complicated trade landscape for Hughes and Co, one that gave the Canadiens’ general manager very little leverage.

It was a disappointing deadline, but given the variables in play, it’s easy to understand why there was a lack of movement in Montreal.

With fewer expiring contracts on the books and little more salary cap flexibility in play this summer, the real test will begin.

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At least 1 or the 2 D acquired yesterday shoots R. 😂

The thing that I took away from the press conference that caught my attention was when Hughes mentioned that he wants to make a trade every day, and that it’s Gorton that has to reel him back. That sounds like Gorton is really the guy with the patience and pulling all the strings imo.


i think it was intended as humor


I agree, but I bet there’s a bit of truth to it, otherwise why would he even have mentioned it that way?


Kent Hughes knows has to show patience. But he doesn’t have to while playing his sons on nhl 23. 😁

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