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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens Free Agent Strategy Hints To Offseason Plans



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have been careful about how they spend their money of late, which will likely impact their offseason strategy.

For the first time in years, the Habs will not be going into next season right up against the salary cap or over it.

They’re currently projected to have north of $9M in actual cap space, with 20 players already signed on for next season.

However, that includes Carey Price‘s $10.5M, meaning the Canadiens could utilize up to 19.5M this summer by placing their veteran goaltender on offseason LTIR.

There could be other moves for players like Mike Hoffman, Joel Edmundson and Joel Armia to liberate move cap space down the line.

Despite this newfound flexibility, the Montreal Canadiens have already indicated that they aren’t going to be looking to take on long-term salaries or sign players in their late 20s in free agency to better the team in the short term.

“We’re going to look into signing a player or making a trade to improve this team, without sacrificing the long-term success of this team,” said general manager Kent Hughes. “If it’s just a move for this season, it’s not in the cards.”

Instead, the Canadiens will look to weaponize their cap space just like they did last summer in the Sean Monahan deal.

“If we can use our cap, like last year when we found out Carey wasn’t able to play and acquired Sean (Monahan), we will,” said Hughes regarding his offseason strategy during the Canadiens’ end-of-season press conference. “Wherever possible, we would look to use cap flexibility to our advantage, as long as it doesn’t tie us up long term. Be it taking a contract and adding prospects or picks, we’ll look into that for sure.”

The Montreal Canadiens want to use their flexibility to continue adding top-end assets like high picks or intriguing prospects to further improve their team for the long haul.

They’re very aware that the immediate future is not important, looking to continue their developmental road to eventually keep up with the increasingly competitive Atlantic Division.

“I certainly see that the Atlantic Division is going to be better. We’re mindful of it, but we’re just concentrating on what we’re doing,” said VP of Hockey Ops, Jeff Gorton, “We’re trying to get guys to improve incrementally.”

The Montreal Canadiens management team doubled down on their desire to continue to accumulate young assets and develop them for sustainable success down the line; meaning that big-time acquisitions of players over the age of 25 are pretty unlikely, outside of a cap-centric trade.

For the organization, they want to maximize its opportunity this summer, without cutting any corners and rushing the process for short-term success.

“We’re trying to build this thing the right way. If we just take shortcuts, just to be a little better, I don’t think that’s going about it the right way. Building, developing and letting it happen organically is the way to go. ”

It’s a refreshing viewpoint from a Montreal Canadiens management staff; breaking away from the yearly notion of just squeaking into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and hoping for the best.

It would be surprising to see the Canadiens go out and spend money on their own, but rather, take advantage of their rivals for some of their very bad decisions.

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I like that they’re being up front and just telling all the rumour-mongers to forget about all the free agent home run swings that we hear about in the lead up to July 1st every year. I wish they’d even go a step farther and say, “We’re not going to sign a single free agent this summer because we are already overstocked on forward and defence with the present roster. We are looking to move out multiple bodies to make room for all the kids that need an opportunity to continue their development. That’s what a rebuild is, and we’re committed to that. If we can squeeze a top prospect or 1st round pick out of a contender with a cap dump player, then we’ll do that. Thanks, and have a great summer, everyone.” 😁


As per your comment, Hab fans know this is the plan already. Reclamation projects are 50/50, like Gurianov vs Dach. Monahan was a great grab, but the infamous injury bug was stinging the team. If a Dach deal pays off, great! They don’t all have to. Not all the prospects can be kept, either. But the better the pool is the better deals can be made down the road, too. It’s a gradual, cumulative process.

Big-time UFA signings can just lead to cap logjams and in retrospect can be head-scratchers. We’ll see over the next 2 seasons much of the roster rebuild in place, and then more pieces will be rotated in without having to play 6-8 rookies in a season!

Last edited 4 months ago by IshArt

Agree. What’s your opinion on the probability and need for Dubois as a UFA in 2024?


Can I play too? I say wait to see another year when he is an UFA. If they waste resources on him now they have to sign him and accede to HIS contract demands. It puts him in the driver’s seat and could hurt MTL’s salary cap for the future. Next year when he is a FA, MTL will have more competition BUT if he is serious about coming to MTL then he will compromise on his demands and if not then he was just using that statement as a bargaining tool. Also PLD is a talent, but he isn’t a game changer that automatically puts a team over the top. MTL is getting stronger at center. Suzuki has only scratched the surface of his talent;so has Dach. Beck is developing nicely and I expect that the Habs will draft a C with the 5th pick this year. There might not even be a need for PLD especially given his higher price tag, when Beck, Dach and whoever they draft this year are tied to decent to excellent contracts.

John Spearing

I would consider trading for PLD if these 3 conditions align:
1 – Michkov is the prospect that falls in our lap at 5… as a non center with an elite ceiling adding him and PLD together does make some sense, but if we draft a center we don’t even need PLD in our future plans…
2 – PLD is eager to sign an 8 year team friendly extension with us after a trade… this is a huge piece in any potential deal otherwise it makes no sense to trade for a player we could potentially get for free with a little patience…
3 – the trade itself includes a salary dump in the return and is a fair price… something like Florida’s pick, one of our extra LHD kids, and an Armia or a Hoffman…

IF those 3 things align, I’m Ok trading for PLD but it’s still not my preference… I rather wait even if we want him, but like I said if we draft a C at 5, I don’t even think I want him 😉


There’s no way I would want to trade anything for a player we can have free in a year. And I’m definitely not giving up a 1st and/or one of our LD kids to do it. I agree, if we draft a C at #5, the need for Dubois drastically diminishes. Although, he could play C while the new kid learns the ropes. Drafting Michkov definitely increases the odds Dubois is in our plans, but to waste assets on him to get him a year early, especially when Michkov isn’t available for a few years yet because of his KHL contract. From the draft in Nashville this year to free agency in 2024 is going to be a critical year in the rebuild. If we get Michkov and Dubois in that time, we take a monumental leap forward. If we only get 1 of them, we’re moving in the right direction. If we get neither, buckle your seatbelts and settle in, this is going to take a while and the results might not be good enough to compete in the Atlantic division.


Agreed. Plus, the assets we don’t waste in needlessly acquiring Dubois a year early, can then be used to shore up other areas once he’s here and we’re ready to compete.


Agreed. Also the long history of free agents shows that they are overpaid and usually on the downside of their careers and so end up hurting a club that signs them.


Dvorak , Armia and Florida’s first is a fair price to move armias contract and giving them a centre with term
for a player they will lose for nothing. That’s my max or let them deal him elsewhere. Ok, Maybe a 2nd rounder too or norlinder, but that’s it.