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Montreal Canadiens

INSTANT ANALYSIS: Canadiens Winners In Karlsson Trade



Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes

The Montreal Canadiens were involved in a major trade on Sunday.

General manager Kent Hughes facilitated a three-team deal, which allowed the San Jose Sharks to trade superstar defenceman Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Trade Details

The Canadiens received Jeff Petry, Casey DeSmith, Nathan Legare, and a second-round pick (2025, Pittsburgh). The Penguins will retain 25 percent of Petry’s salary.

The Penguins received Karlsson, former Habs forward Rem Pitlick, Dillon Hamaliuk, and a third-round pick (2026, San Jose)

The Sharks received Mikael Granlund, Jan Rutta, former Habs forward Mike Hoffman, and a first-round pick (2024, Pittsburgh). The Sharks will retain $1.5 million of Karlsson’s cap hit.


There are a lot of moving parts here, but the first impression is that Hughes pulled off a masterful trade from a Montreal Canadiens point of view.

Petry was originally traded to the Penguins in exchange for Mike Matheson and a 2023 fourth-round pick. Ryan Poehling was also sent to the Penguins in the trade.

And though his time with the Canadiens ended poorly from a public relations point of view, we must remember that he still finished the 2021-22 season as the best Habs defenceman, by a significant margin.

He’s not the same defenceman he once was, but he can still eat up precious minutes on the right side of the defence, a clear organizational weakness for the Canadiens.

The trade also helped the Canadiens solve their logjam up front. Neither Pitlick nor Hoffman were considered positive-value players. Hoffman had been offered for free on the trade market in the past, with no takers.

Adding goaltender Casey DeSmith to the mix also improves another area of weakness: goaltending depth. As it stands, Cayden Primeau must be put on waivers if the team hopes to send him to the Laval Rocket, which means the Canadiens were at risk of starting the year with a dearth of goaltenders.

DeSmith finished the last three seasons with a .905, .914, and .911 save percentage, respectively.

Lagare, 22, is a Montreal native that was chosen 74th overall in 2019. He is yet to make an impact in the NHL, however, he did find some moderate success in the AHL. In all likelihood, he will end up with the Laval Rocket in the AHL.

Brass Tacks

There’s likely more to come in this saga. It would not be surprising if Petry is flipped by the Canadiens, with additional salary retention to sweeten the pot.

But as it stands, the trade itself is a net win for the Montreal Canadiens.

They cleared space up front for younger players such as Jesse Ylonen and Rafael Harvey-Pinard while moving two overpaid forwards out of the organization.

DeSmith could end up pushing goaltender Samuel Montembeault for the starter position, but even if he ends up as the third option in Montreal, he will be a significant upgrade over the previous situation.

And, of course, adding a second-round pick to the mix is always a strong move for a rebuilding team. In this case, the pick is in 2025, which means it doesn’t hold as much value as a pick from 2024 since it will take longer for the player selected to make his way to the NHL, but it’s never a bad idea to add quality draft picks to the rebuild cupboard.

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I disagree that pitlick was overpaid….he performed well for a waiver pick up and I think he just didnt fit anymore…especially with all the prospects coming along. I can see him (if he gets decent ice time) in the 30-40 points range. …with a little upside.

Now how about armia…


What id like to see if offer petry at a retained price and package armia with him. A 2.8mil petry is gold. I personally would prefer to no retain salary on petry because he does have like 3 years left or something and 2.5ish mil a season of dead salary is not good. But if we can offload armia with no retention then it would be worth the cost of petry.


2 years


Don’t forget Heinemen. I think this may open up a spot for him.


The way the trade boils down for me is we get a 2nd round pick for swapping Hoffman’s 1yr $4.5M headache for Petry’s 2yr $6.25M headache.That’s not enough for me. Pitlick and Legare wash each other out, other than we can add a francophone instead of an anglophone to the Laval roster to help with homegrown content. I don’t see the point of acquiring DeSmith. We have 2 NHL goalies already and now we have 3 plus the question of what to do with Primeau remains. We have a forward logjam, and defence logjam, and now a bigger goalie logjam. If DeSmith is on LTIR, we should have received something for taking that on. If he’s not on LTIR, now what? Even if the plan is to create more cap space via his & Price’s contracts so that we could make another Monahan type trade for another asset, we still should have gotten something for taking DeSmith off Pittsburgh’s hands. I don’t see how this is considered “masterful” trading. Even if the Penguins will be a worse team by 2025, and the pick will be slightly higher than it is this upcoming draft, I fail to see how it’s worth all the headaches this trade either creates or continues for us. We cleared one forward slot and managed to worsen both the overcrowded problems on defence and in goal.


Pitt retains a portion of Petry’s salary. Also, Legare will go to Laval, so more of a 2 spot created on offense. Don’t think Hughes is done dealing.


I don’t think he’s done either, but as it stands right now, this isn’t a useful trade for us imo. I’m aware Pitt retained 25% of Petry’s contract, and we’ll likely have to retain 25-50% to move him, however, there’s 2yrs remaining on his contract. I’d rather have retained 50% on Hoffman for 1yr and be done with him, rather than retaining for 2yrs even if it may turn out to be less money. The only way this trade becomes masterful is if we can flip Petry for a first round pick. I thought it would be funny if we traded him to Washington and reunited him with Edmundson. That’s where I had been saying all last season where I thought Edmundson would end up to reunite him with Petry. Those 2 were at their best when together. To now have it happen on Pittsburgh’s hated rival would be kinda funny. But there’s still the issue of what to do with DeSmith? This trade also created that headache.


I kind of agree with you on most of your points…see my post below.


I believe DeSmith is getting flipped. There’s a market for a reliable backup making just 1.8mil. The Petry side of it I don’t understand.


I imagine that’s the plan. Flip both him and Petry.


I think this deal is all about stealing from Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes…

You get rid of Rem and Hoff – 1 yr each and no salaries retained. But exchange that for Petry at 2 yrs (not 1) for just a hair over Hoffman’s cap hit. And if Hoff was “so untradable” even with a retention, how is Petry also not “untradable” with TWO YEARS left at $4.68M?

Hughes obviously did this to alleviate space in a crowded forwards corps, at the expense of crowding the D corps. Petry can play either #1 or #2 RD, joining Barron and Kovac on that side. That now means there is ZERO space for an extra LD to switch over to that side. With the left side set for now, that means what do you do with Arber and Savard and Wideman?

And what happens if either Rein or Mailloux make the team to start the season???

So, it seems all we did was swap a Hoffman cap issue for a Petry cap issue, and swap a crowded forwards issue for a crowded D issue.

I’m not sure the additional goalie is worth anything…other than now creating a crowded goalie space. Forget Primeau…one of these three goalies will HAVE to be traded before the season starts. NO WAY do you start a season with 3 established goalies.

Its also very weird. 2 yrs ago, Petry Hated MTL. Really wanted out. Habs obliged. He gets a modified no-trade clause, as in a list of teams he can’t be traded to. And MTL was NOT on that list? And now he’s back. How’s this going to work? It can’t, right???

And I would not have accepted anything less than either a 2nd rd pick in NEXT year’s draft, or a 1st rd pick in 2025. A 2nd in 2025 isn’t enough in this deal.

So, it seems to me the Habs must trade both Petry and one of these 3 goalies before the season starts. Probably will need to retain 25% of Petry’s contract to do it – and for 2 seasons (not 1). Same for one of these goalies. ONLY if they do both before the season starts, for reasonable returns and minimal salary retention, would this entire deal be a win. Until then, I see it as a lateral move, with not much changed.

The same as it was 24 hrs ago.

So different sh$t…same stink.

Last edited 1 month ago by morrisk

I agree. There’s definitely more that has to happen. It makes no sense as a stand alone trade. The fact that the Habs have said Hughes isn’t available today leads me to believe he’s still working the phones.

As for Montreal not being on his no trade list, that’s just strategic planning. Petry can have teams on his no trade list he doesn’t want to go to, but some teams would never trade for him based on their situation so he can leave them off his list and use that spot for another team. In the case of the Habs, he doesn’t have them on his no trade list because he knew they’d never trade for him which makes his 10-team list effectively an 11-team list. There would be other examples around the league as well which would further increase the number of teams he couldn’t be traded to, giving the player more control over where he ends up. I’m sure his list had the other 6 Canadian teams on it though.


IMO, getting rid or Hoff for Petry gives the habs a more valuable asset
A RHD is more valuable than a high priced Winger that doesn’t produce much
Which gives KH more power to negotiate the next move 😉

Derrek Cauchi

Great trade. Petry can still play and the right side needs a mentor. Either he stays and Savard gets moved or – with the lower cap hit – he gets moved for a good asset. Primeau could get grabbed off waivers. De Smith is low cost insurance. Allen could be moved to mentor/back a young goalie or be put out to pasture. Two forwards impeding development are gone.

John Stone

someone who sees the light in this dark tunnel of comments.


My guess as to what may have transpired was that Pittsburgh wanted to acquire Erik Karlson and offered San Jose Jeff Petry, Casey DeSmith and other players. San Jose then replied that they have no interest in Jeff Petry and Casey DeSmith. This led to Pittsburgh and San Jose telephoning Kent Hughes to see if they were interested in acquiring Petry and DeSmith. San Jose liked Hoffman and Pitlick more than Petry and DeSmith, so this opened the door for the trade to be made. Please note that I am just guessing. I might be totally wrong.


I would like to keep Petry. We had one of the worst Powerplays and Shorthanded special teams. Petry and Matheson at the point ought to be able to provide us with extra points. I see no problem sending some of the young guys like Harris and Xekaj to Laval.