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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Looking To Hit Two Birds With One Stone This Summer



Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes

The Montreal Canadiens are in the midst of acquiring young talent and overhauling the organization, but one impediment to their rebuild remains.

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has done quite well with the very little wiggle room he’s inherited since taking over.

Although the Montreal Canadiens had a strong base of youngsters coming up through the pipeline, like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, they were also saddled with one of the worst salary cap structures in the NHL.

Having the likes of Shea Weber ($7.8M), Carey Price ($10.5M), Brendan Gallagher ($6.5M), Jeff Petry ($6.25M), Mike Hoffman ($4.5M), Joel Armia ($3.4M) and Christian Dvorak ($4.45M) all on the books for years to come made it extremely difficult to orchestrate moves.

Nonetheless, the Montreal Canadiens have slowly but surely been able to rid themselves of some of these contracts over the last year.

But, for the club to take the next step in its rebuild and utilize its fiscal power to its full capacity, they’re going to need to overhaul their salary cap structure.

Movin’ Out

It’s extremely unlikely that any team is willing to take on the contracts of Price of Gallagher, leaving Hoffman, Armia, Dvorak and even Joel Edmundson as potential cap casualties to finally offer the Canadiens the excess flexibility they require moving forward.

Other rebuilding clubs have been able to use their cap space to their advantage with the NHL’s salary cap remaining flat for the last few seasons; including the Canadiens last summer with Sean Monahan.

Unlike other clubs around the league, club owner Geoff Molson isn’t shy about maximizing his spend in order to help the rebuild along; meaning that, if the Canadiens had cap space to burn, there could be more Monahan-like deals on the horizon.

Unfortunately, their cap situation this summer would be tentative at best if they don’t move out one or two of the contracts above.

They currently have roughly $650,00 after Cole Caufield’s recent extension and still have youngsters like Rafaël Harvey-Pinard left to sign; meaning they’ll likely be using up their LTIR space again this season with Carey Price’s $10.5M cap hit offering them some manoeuvrability.

By moving out an extra $3-$6M in trades over the next few months, it would not only open cap space for the club to take on more cap casualties from their rivals in exchange for additional draft picks and prospects, it would also open up spots for their prospects.

Youth Movement

The Canadiens currently have 11 forwards signed to NHL deals after having recently signed Michael Pezzetta to a two-year extension.

They also have Harvey-Pinard, Jesse Ylönen and more left to sign, which will bring the number closer to 14; and that doesn’t include a potential extension for Alex Belzile either.

The Canadiens’ current projection would leave little room for any surprises at camp or any potential addition via trade; unless a move is made.

The same can be said on defence, as the club currently has nine NHL defencemen on their roster, with five of them playing on the left side.

It’s clear that, to take the next step in their rebuild, the club will want to bring in their youngsters in waves; and not a tidal wave like last season where they played eight rookies for more than 20 games.

But to give these youngsters the chance they deserve, the gradual selling off of older talent is necessary; creating a “two-birds-one-stone” scenario.

Kent Hughes strategically retained one of his retention slots, leaving himself some trade flexibility heading into the 2023 NHL Draft, and it would be surprising if he didn’t utilize it to help move his process along.

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We aren’t really under a cap crunch though are we? Teams can go 10% over the cap in the summer as long as they’re compliant by the end of the preseason/training camp. It’s a given Price will be approved for LTIR again and then we’ll have tons of space as well. I’m not too worried about moving bodies for cap space as much as I am to create roster spots for all the non waiver-exempt kids that need to be developed. Our 5 rookie D all proved they deserved a full time spot for the upcoming season. Throw in a healthy Matheson and there’s all 6 D positions spoken for. Edmundson, Wideman and Savard have to go. They’re all good players that can provide teams with the elements they provide in their games. Wideman has an easily moveable contract. Edmundson can still bring back something and his salary is also decent enough that it shouldn’t be an impediment to move. Savard might be trickier because of the term left on his contract and the fact that he’s usually desired by teams going for a Cup at the deadline vs paying him all season long.

Mike Pare

Good comments Tyrone !


Thanks, Mike.


On D, one of Wideman or Savard cannot be traded. Right now, there is only Barron and Kova as true RD. So unless Mailloux shocks everyone and starts the season at RD, or Habs draft a top RD in first RD and he too shocks everyone and makes the roster, or we pick up another RD during free agency, either Wideman or Savard have to stay to at least start this season.

For the forwards, I look at Armia (buyout?), Hoff, and (hopefully) Anderson as trade-aways.


We have Matheson, Guhle, Harris and Xhekaj on the left side. They all must play, but with only 3 spots, one has to play on the right side, therefore Savard or Wideman are no longer necessary.


Throwing one of those four onto the right side does not fix the issue. Their games could be stunted or reduced if that happens. Almost same as “forcing” a winger to play center, or moving a left-shot LW to RW…and how has THAT worked for the Habs over the past, say 10 years???

So, why not sign Max P to a short easy contract, have him play LW on top line, and move CC to RW? Lets see how that works…

Unfortunately, Savard stays to at least start the season…

Last edited 3 months ago by Mike Klynsma

One of those 4 would we far more stunted by having to play in a rotation and not be a full time player. Matheson is a star, Guhle is a stud, Harris when combined with Kovacevic we’re our best D pairing, and Xhekaj provides something we don’t have anywhere else in the lineup. They’re all essential. They all need to play. Trading all 3 of the guys I mentioned is extremely unlikely, so yes, I believe we’ll be stuck with Savard at least until the deadline this season, and likely until next offseason or deadline in 2025.

John Stone

dont even bother .. tyrone will argue untill you agree with HIS points and veiws. i learnt to just ignore him. And its true like someobe else said.. hes killing the comments section of every article of every news outlet that allows it.. and just keeps going on a rant like hes the gm of the canadiens.. granted he does have knowledge about some things.. but acts like he has the all knowing eye implanted in his forehead!

Last edited 3 months ago by John Stone

Absolutely, I don’t disagree. Clearing bodies and salaries is definitely necessary, especially to allow for the flexibility to make moves that bring back assets for the rebuild. Price’s LTIR is our “get out of jail free” card in the sense that we aren’t truly crunched against the cap.


Ok. Good to know. Thanks for explaining that.


You really should just ignore Tyrone. He does not understand what your talking about when you say cap crunch, as is evident when with his “get out of jail free” comment. Engaging with him will lead to more nonsense from him. He is all over the place with his theories and comments. He will soon be asking you to do ting s for him. Perhaps it is good for you to have comments, but Tyrone’s input drives other readers away. It is not worth commenting to him, he just goes off with his nonsense and i have no use for it.


They could watch the waiver wire and find another Kovacevic. Harris and Kovacevic were the Habs best duo. 2 rookies

John Stone

i believe thats why hughes kept his slot. To aquire a RD if available.

Alex Barrette

One of the avenue habs should explore is finding a team that will take Carey Price’s contract. Dont know if its tradable tho.