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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Salary Cap Outlook To Impact Buyout Strategy



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens want to maximize their cap space in the long term, making the potential for buyouts increasingly less likely.

General manager Kent Hughes has been adamant from the start, they aren’t going to make any moves that could potentially jeopardize their cap flexibility in the future.

It was a stance that was made evident last summer, as the Montreal Canadiens held off on trading Jeff Petry’s $6.25M contract until they were able to move it to a club without any salary retention.

They took back Mike Matheson’s $4.8M deal in the process, but he quickly proved to be a better version of Petry at a fraction of the cost.

Those are the kinds of moves one could expect from Hughes as he looks to free up the Montreal Canadiens from negative impacts on their salary structure.

With the likes of Jonathan Drouin, Sean Monahan and Paul Byron all coming off the books, the process has already begun.

However, with Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia and Christian Dvorak still taking up important cap space for the Canadiens, Hughes’ work is far from over.


The issue with buyouts is not the immediate impact, but the long-term impacts on a team’s salary cap.

In most cases, 66% of the remaining value of a contract is spread over multiple years, acting as an anchor for a team that is looking to utilize every dollar to be competitive.

The Montreal Canadiens’ most recent buyout, Karl Alzner, is still on the books for the Canadiens until the end of the 2023-2024 season; counting $833,333 against their cap space next year.

Buying out any of Armia, Hoffman or Dvorak wouldn’t make much sense, especially Hoffman, as they only have two years left on their deals;  two years in which the Montreal Canadiens don’t plan on being overly competitive.

Alternative Outcomes

There are other options that Kent Hughes could look at to move some of these salaries.

Hughes expressed his desire to leave one of his three retention slots open, in case a team is willing to get creative leading up to the 2023 NHL Draft.

Players with one year left on their deals, like Hoffman or Joel Edmundson, could be moved with salary retained to save in cap space and return an interesting asset or two.

The Canadiens also have a glut of mid-round picks for the upcoming draft that they could use to entice a team to take off some of their contracts.

It’s far more likely to see the Canadiens head toward the trade route to free up some roster spots to make room for youngsters, thereby freeing up cap space in the process.

It truly seems that the Canadiens have sworn off the idea of buyouts from the start; choosing to take this time to wipe the slate clean and fill the team with value contracts, like those of Kirby Dach and Mike Matheson.

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Sure hope you are right. I hate buyouts. All one has to do is think about the fact that we’re STILL paying Alzner all these years later and any ideas about future buyouts should immediately cease.


Unless I read the article wrong, Hoffman only has 1 year left in his contract, not 2.


Disregard the previous message.

Armia can hopefully be moved for a 4th liner making half the cap hit. Would be nice to trade him with Dvorak and a 2nd rounder 2024 for dubois and that salary dump.


A buyout of Armia seems reasonable. There have been more than one article on this website showing as much.

The others mentioned would need to be traded.

But, I am so freakin’ tired of this comment:

two years in which the Montreal Canadiens don’t plan on being overly competitive

STOP IT ALREADY!!! Did ANYONE see the NJ Devils game last night??? Did ANYONE see this team being in this position right now last year at this time? Are they much further ahead in the process than expected?

So it can and does happen! You play to win the game (Herm Edwards)! There is no reason why the Habs can’t make the playoffs next season (depending on some offseason moves AND staying relatively healthy). Both the highest seeded team ever and the def cup champs are out in the first round!!!

“Anyone Can Cook” (Remy, Ratatouille)


The. Devils have been building for a while now . Since 2016 they drafted top 20 a total of 8 times , 5 of them are top 10 picks . They have five on their roster now and Nemec and Holtz developing in the AHL . The Habs have three top 20 picks with the team from those years . So we’re a ways behind .


The Dach trade gives the Habs a fourth top 20 player (drafted) from those years.


Not sure I fully agree. With all that “top 10 talent” you say they have, they still were projected to be about where Buff was – just out of the playoffs. They blew away expectations because they are ahead of the schedule. Which is my point. There isn’t a magic number of years, it NEVER goes by that.

And I continue to say that the Habs would have been some 15 pts better in the standings if CC, Guhle, Monahan, Matheson, and Dach were not significantly injured this season! We are NOT “a ways behind”. One good offseason of drafting/moves/etc – and finally avoiding the injury bug – probably gets the Habs into the playoffs next season…I don’t care what anyone says.

Last edited 1 month ago by morrisk

The rebuild is only in year 2 . To get to where these other teams are takes time if it’s to be sustainable. The Sabres , Ottawa and Detroit and Devils are building since 4-6 years . The first 3 went from 75,73 and 74 points to 91 , 86 and 80 points last year . New Jersey added players because their young kids were ready . That’s the only way to make it sustainable by drafting and developing before adding players like the Devils did with Palat , Meier etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by Habbotsford
john harmsworth

If you’re corect about where we are, I would say that in order to accelerate that we would need to take chances on trades that I would not be comfortable with. We need to be more careful the farther along we are. The last couple of pieces will either put us over the top or sink us on CAP or injury issues.

Ron Barry

In what world is $4.8M “a fraction” of $6.25M? Answer: None. And, while I agree with your take on Hoffman, Armia and to a lesser extent, Dvorak, why steer clear of the albatross that is Gallagher’s contract (4X$6.5M)? With Price tucked away on LTIR, the Gallagher contract is the cut that’s the deepest. You also cite Hoffman as having two years left on his deal before correctly looping him in with Edmundson, fyi. Finally, Allen’s 2X$3.85M extension was a rare misstep by Hughes – it was unnecessary, especially for a team – as you suggest – doesn’t plan on being overly competitive during the duration of Allen’s deal.


Allen’s extension was NOT is misstep…it was necessary. They are paying him only $3.85M per for just two more seasons. Where else are you going to find a decent goalie for less $$$?

john harmsworth

He also provides leadership and mentoring for the young goalies. He’s worth every penny and we should consider making a spot for him as a coach or in the development team going forward.

john harmsworth

It appwears that Winnpeg has attitrude issues in their dressing room. Gally would be a good addition there to help set a new tone. Tey need to conduct a reset, moving Scheifele and Wheeler at least.

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