The Montreal Canadiens were rumoured to be involved in several different trade negotiations ahead of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
And while most fans were expecting some news regarding a possible Pierre-Luc Dubois trade, the Canadiens opted to take another route to reinforce their centre depth
The Canadiens announced they traded the 31st and 37th overall picks at the upcoming Draft in exchange for Colorado Avalanche forward Alex Newhook. Prospect Gianni Fairbrother is also part of the package heading to Colorado.
The Canadiens acquire the rights to forward Alex Newhook from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Montreal's 31st (previously acquired from Florida) and 37th overall picks in 2023 and defenseman Gianni Fairbrother.#GoHabsGohttps://t.co/LwT8geUq6A
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 27, 2023
Newhook, 22, scored 14 goals and 16 assists in 82 games for the Avalanche last year, a small regression in his overall production compared to the previous season. His underlying numbers were slightly above average last season, however, he also improved his results in every important statistical category this year.
It’s worth noting that Newhook is a former client of Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes, therefore it’s reasonable to assume familiarity played a part in the trade.
Newhook will provide centre depth, and given that he’s still rather young, there’s also a significant amount of untapped potential. He’s also an excellent centre, which should fit in well with the type of roster the Canadiens are attempting to build.
The Newfoundland native is currently a restricted free agent.
This is Alex Newhook.
This is his shot.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) January 23, 2022
Newhook is a good player, and he should give Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis more options up front, especially now that the Canadiens have also re-signed veteran Sean Monahan. Suddenly, the Canadiens went from one of the teams with the weakest centre depth in the league to a team that should be able to compete with other teams in terms of quality down the middle of the lineup.
But he did not come cheap.
The 2023 NHL Draft is one of the best draft classes in recent history, which means the Canadiens will lose an opportunity to draft two very talented players in Nashville.
It seems rather clear that Hughes is attempting to re-create the Kirby Dach trade, though, for now, Newhook projects as a third-line player with second-line upside.
It’s always tempting to immediately declare a winner in NHL trades, much like the Dach trade, we’ll have to reserve our judgment on this deal until we can evaluate Newhook’s play with the Canadiens.
The good news is that he’ll likely have more opportunities to shine in the Canadiens roster, and he fits the age group of the core players on the roster, which should lead to significant chemistry once the Canadiens decide their rebuild is over.
We can also safely assume the Canadiens are no longer in the running for Dubois, though the reported trade between the Jets and the LA Kings is yet to materialize.
I like it for both sides.
Newhook is likely a 3C over his career who gets some time as a 2C. 40 point guy.
A late 1st and an early 2nd. The hope for the Avs is to find another Newhook type player there with the picks.
— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) June 27, 2023