Connect with us

Canadiens Analysis

Updated Projected Canadiens Lineup And Salary Cap Implications



Montreal Canadiens martin st-louis Kent hughes

The Montreal Canadiens recently announced they had signed forward Alex Newhook to a four-year contract extension, leaving just three players on the contract negotiation docket: Nicolas Beaudin, Lucas Condotta, and Jesse Ylonen. Newhook’s contract extension will cost the Canadiens $2.9 million per season.

Seeing as two of the remaining players will spend the majority of the season in the AHL and Ylonen is not expected to earn a significant raise, we should now be able to get a better idea of the type of salary cap space the Canadiens will have once the season starts based on the current players in the organization.

In addition to the Newhook deal, we know for certain that the Canadiens signed Rafael Harvey-Pinard to a very reasonable two-year deal, which should give the team a little more maneuverability when it comes to roster construction. The trade that saw the Canadiens send veteran defenceman Joel Edmundson to the Washington Capitals will also help the salary cap situation slightly, though the greatest benefit will be the precious time on ice it will liberate for younger players.

Approximate Projected Lineup

In our scenario, Rem Pitlick, Michael Pezzetta, and Chris Wideman have once again been assigned to the AHL to bury their cap hits.

There will certainly be pushback on the concept of sending Pezzetta to the Laval Rocket, but as it stands, it seems to be the likeliest situation. Alternatively, the Canadiens could attempt to pass Ylonen through waivers, though there’s probably a greater risk the Finnish forward would be claimed.

Or they could continue to pursue trades.

More on that later.

It’s also worth noting that in this particular projected lineup, Joel Armia, Christian Dvorak, and David Savard are not listed, seeing as they’re healthy scratches, but their contracts will still count against the 2023-24 salary cap.

We once again turn to CapFriendly’s excellent roster-building tool to give us a better idea of what Kent Hughes and Martin St-Louis are working with.

Montreal Canadiens projected roster and cap space


Salary Cap Space

The 23 players in our lineup will account for $74.7 million of the available salary cap next season. That figure includes the $10.5 million the Canadiens will receive in relief funds once Carey Price is placed on the long-term injured reserve. We also have to remove the $2 million the team has to pay Karl Alzner for the final year of his buyout and various bonus overages from 2022-23.

Seeing as the salary cap is set at $83.5 million, that leaves Hughes with almost $8.8 million in available salary cap space heading into the season.

It’s also important to note that the Canadiens’ salary cap space will not increase throughout the season, because LTIR relief funds do not accrue.

Brass Tacks

It won’t be easy, but if Hughes can manage to trade one of Armia, Mike Hoffman, or Dvorak without retaining much salary, not only will younger forwards in the lineup enjoy more time on the ice, the team will be in a much better state of affairs from a financial standpoint.

In the meantime, despite still having a few albatross contracts on the books, the Montreal Canadiens certainly have enough funds to absorb an expiring contract from a contending team desperate to create salary cap space.

When you consider cap space has become the hottest commodity in the NHL, it’s the type of trade that doesn’t just make sense from a roster construction standpoint, it has the potential to yield significant returns.

All Montreal Canadiens salary cap information via CapFriendly.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Keeping Dvorak and Savard on bench will reduce their trade value and opportunity to acquire assets


Slafkovsky has such a gigantic performance bonus that management might be saying to themselves “I hope Juraj performs well this season, but not too well”


Keeping guys like Hoff and Armia and Dvorak and Savard on the bench as healthy scratches would be a terrible idea…I hope this never comes to fruition. That’s way too much salary cap wasted by them not playing. At least two, preferably three of these, must be traded before the season starts. Unfortunately, its from a position of weakness, as other teams know the Habs have to unload these guys. Seems to me they were worth more at the draft, or just prior to it. But even if the Habs need to take on a % of these contracts to get rid of them, and the returns are not much, they should do it anyway. Its now more about clearing space for younger players than clearing cap space.

Last edited 4 months ago by morrisk

six of the 12 forwards in the above lineup will likely be part of the final rebuild. The final rebuild will likely also include Joshua Roy, Owen Beck and Luke Tuck. This is a solid lineup but doesn’t look good enough to win the Stanley Cup. So more additions will be required in the future. to build a Champion and more trades and free agent signings will be required probably along with drafting a great forward in next year’s draft.

Yvan Desrochers

I like the duos of Caulfield-Suzuki, Newhook-Dach, and Slafkovski-Monahan. Monahan is the perfect mentor for Slafkovski and Dach.

I am sure that Hoffman, Armia and Savard will be in the starting lineup on day 1, and that Dvorak will join the lineup as soon as he is healthy.

Barring injuries, Roy and Heineman should start the season in Laval, and that’s fine. There’s no need to rush them into the NHL at the start of the season and they would likely be the first call-ups when injuries occur.

I think that Dvorak would have been traded this summer if he was healthy. Going forward, I think they will trade Dvorak and Hoffman at the trading deadline in order to maximize the return.

I would prefer to keep Armia around for another year. He doesn’t get enough love. He is their best penalty killer and he controls the boards. People just expect more from him because of his natural talent, but he is an excellent third or fourth liner.

I don’t think that Harvey-Pinard is ready or suitable to play on the top line. Instead, I see him playing with Evans and Armia which would be a superb 4th line.


I’d like to see the Habs try Slafkosky, Dach, Anderson together. 19 feet and 663 pounds of hockey player on 1 line.

Adam Uppal

They aren’t scratching Savard. He may have had struggles last season, but he is a B- defenceman forced to play an A role. Without Savard, things would have been far worse. He won’t be a healthy scratch. Not even for one game.