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Montreal Canadiens Youth Movement Enriched By Recent Trades



Montreal Canadiens Juraj Slafkovsky

The last two trades involving the Montreal Canadiens should be considered smart business from an asset-management point of view.

Not only did general manager Kent Hughes re-acquire Jeff Petry at a reduced cost, as well as a reliable backup goaltender in Casey DeSmith, but he also added a second, third, and seventh-round pick to his draft stock, which offset some of the cost involved in acquiring Alex Newhook from the Colorado Avalanche during the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

MUST READ: Instant Analysis: The Canadiens Are Winners In The Karlsson Trade

However, the biggest win from a developmental standpoint isn’t necessarily related to the newly-acquired draft picks.

Defensive Opportunities

By trading Joel Edmundson to the Washington Capitals, Kent Hughes immediately improved the outlook for the various young defencemen that will be competing for a roster spot once the Canadiens’ training camp opens.

Players like Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, and Arber Xhekaj have already proven they can bring more to the table than a declining veteran like Edmundson. Removing him from the equation doesn’t just liberate precious ice time for players that are expected to play a long-term role in the rebuild, but it also eliminates much of the doubt heading into camp.

It’s a vote of confidence from the general manager, one that should go a long way in helping the young defencemen focus on the task at hand.

Edmundson played over 16 minutes even-strength minutes per game, not to mention over 3 minutes a night on the penalty kill, and though the Canadiens were far from a powerhouse team it’s only fair to point out that his underlying numbers left something to be desired, to say the least.

The Habs only managed to control a little over 42 percent of the shots and expected goals during Edmundson’s even-strength shifts, as well as just 37 percent of the total goals.

In this particular case, the Montreal Canadiens significantly improved their defensive outlook by simply removing one player from the equation.

Offensive Chances

Even though most of the discussion focused on Petry’s return to the Canadiens and the possibility that it may not last long, the most important aspect of the deal was once again related to ice time.

The biggest issue last season was that the Canadiens had too many forwards in the mix, and there simply was not enough ice time to go around for younger players.

It was clear the team wanted to keep players like Hoffman and Evgeni Dadonov in the lineup as often as possible in a bid to improve their value in the trade market. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much value to be found, but at the very least, Hughes managed to move Mike Hoffman without retaining any salary, which wasn’t always a likely outcome.

And by also trading Rem Pitlick on Sunday, Hughes increased the odds that young forwards, the ones that are starving for more ice time, will have more opportunities to make their mark.

Hoffman was given a little less than 16 minutes of ice time per game in 2022-23, whereas Pitlick was given a little less than 13 minutes a night. Players such as Juraj Slafkovsky, Jesse Ylonen, and Rafael Harvey-Pinard will certainly benefit from the available ice time on the wing, which is exactly what you want on a team that is entering the second year of their rebuild in earnest.

If there was one significant criticism to be had last season, it was that Slafkovsky was not given enough shifts, as evidenced by the 12:13 of all-situations ice time he was given during his rookie campaign.

The impact could reach all the way to the AHL, seeing as the Laval Rocket should also be able to provide prospects like Sean Farrell, Joshua Roy, and Emil Heinemane a little more ice time. It may even lead to an opportunity to play in the NHL for one of the aforementioned prospects.

And finally, it will improve head coach Martin St-Louis’ options, as he no longer has to worry about balancing the wishes of declining veterans against the best course of action for his young players.

All Montreal Canadiens statistics via NaturalStatTrick

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Edmundson was pitiful, to get anything for him was a miracle, but the best part is that I don’t have to the abysmal TSN announcer Bryan Mudryk call him Edmonton anymore!


Hey Marc
Still too many bodies…
Until injuries pile up around the league I dont see a huge demand for Petry, Allen, Armia or Savard.

Fla- could use a RD while Montour and Ekblad are out but they have very little to offer.

A team like Tampa could use Armia (yes he has SOME value) but it would have to be 50% retained and take back a contract.

I dont see any seats for goalies which means Primeau “likely” will clear waivers.

As problems go it is a good problem – internal competition, injury insurance, assets…. but will impact development.


I’ve actually changed my mind on Petry, after talking to a couple of “objective” hockey buddies of mine…

Now, I’m all for getting rid of Hoff and Rem to make space for the forwards. Maybe Armia is next, but at least that isn’t a complete necessity.

Back to Petry. He’s now at $4.68M for 2 seasons. For where he’s at in his career, that’s not a gross overpay. If he were being paid say $4M even right now, it would be about appropriate. Two seasons is not bad at all. And I don’t care what anyone says, right now, the Habs don’t have a better #1 or #2 RD than Petry. We can argue who would be better off at #1 RD – either Petry or Barron. But even if Petry is #2, there is nobody clearly better than him at that spot right now. Now, that changes when Mailloux or Reinbacher finally make it to and stay on the big club, or if by some miracle, Kovac turns into a stud…and that’s when you trade Petry – at his max value. Say at the trade deadline, when some team will gladly overpay and return a 1st rd pick – and maybe no salary retention. We flip him now, and no way we get a 1st rd pick in exchange and no way we don’t eat some salary.

So I say keep him – FOR NOW. IF the following conditions are met:

  1. His precious wifey is over the covid thing vs Canada covid rules, and she is convinced it won’t happen again, she keeps her mouth shut on this, and all are now happy again.
  2. Jeff himself can put all that previous crap behind him and now really WANTS to play in MTL. If he’s “all in” mentally, then he’s still a good player who can make the team better.

Keep him for now, because frankly we still need one more RD, and if we flip him now, he looses value. Reassess later in the season, maybe at the TDL, and go from there.

I think trading that third vet goalie is more important. And its the new ingredient that needs to go ASAP. No way there can be 3 vet goalies on the opening day roster…


Kovacevic had a very good year along side of Harris. He seems to be forgotten among the trio mentioned

Last edited 1 month ago by habbernack

no love for kovy


The trade “helps” the issue at forward a bit but there’s still more work to be done. We need our kids playing in the position we eventually want them to be in while the pressure to win remains low. The Monahan signing either means Dach isn’t playing 2C or Slafkovsky isn’t a top 6 winger. Neither is ideal. Even if Monahan is used as the 3C, it means Dvorak is a winger or a $4.45M 4C. Not great in any situation. There are still bodies at forward that need to go in order to slot the kids where they need to play in order to become the players we want them to be.

As for the D situation, keeping Petry makes no sense whatsoever. First off, there’s no way he’s coming back here when you consider the vitriol slung his family’s way when he left town. Let’s get that out of the way right now. It ain’t happening. Secondly, we already need to dump Savard on RD in order to open a spot for one of our extra LD. Adding yet another RD makes zero sense. The kids proved they can handle it, so all 5 need a full time position this year. Retaining 50% on Petry makes him a marketable asset at a position (RD) that’s usually one of the most sought after. The obsession some people have on the hopes of flipping guys like Petry and Monahan for more by keeping them until the deadline isn’t worth the lost development time for the kids. If this was the very beginning of the rebuild, it would make sense, because the kids wouldn’t be ready (or at least we wouldn’t know that). But, because this is year 2+, we do know they’re ready and we need to play them now while winning gets trumped by development. That window is beginning to close already with much talk of being in the running for a playoff spot as early as this season. There’s no doubt in my mind that Petry will be traded prior to the season, but we also still need to get rid of Savard too. Tick, tick, tick…


I’m not letting Petry go with a 50% salary retention. NO WAY. Hughes is crazy if he does that. Could have gotten rid of Hoff for 50%, I’m sure.

There’s nobody else RIGHT NOW who can come in and play #1 or #2 RD. He’s the best. When things change later this season or next, that’s when we should trade him (at his max value). We trade him ASAP like you want, we trade him at a low value. Not good.


None of that is wrong, it’s just irrelevant. There’s no way Petry will be staying a Hab. It blocks the kids and considering the terms he left on, he’d be coming back to a toxic environment from a certain segment of the fan base for he and his family. Hughes won’t put Jeff through that. He’s too classy. Petry will be gone ASAP.


The only player he’d be “blocking” to start the season would be Savard or Wideman…both who you want out anyway. Nobody else is ready to take that #1 or #2 RD spot yet. When Mailloux or Rein are ready to take that spot for good, then that’s when you trade Petry.

As long as Petry (and his wifey) are fine with this return to MTL, then all will work out if he plays reasonably well. The fan base will quickly forgive if he plays reasonably well.

We trade him ASAP, as you want, and we are selling at a low value point. 50% retention, 2nd rd pick – both not good. If he has a reasonable season and he gets flipped at the TDL, then you can get a 1st rd pick plus either 25% or 0% retention.

Its so common sense herein.


I’m not disagreeing that it’s common sense, I’m just telling you there is NO WAY he’s going to play in Montreal. End of story.

And yes, if he was here, he’d be blocking a kid from playing. The team isn’t going to send Savard to the minors, so with Petry that leaves only 1 RD spot available for Kovacevic, Barron and one of the extra LD we have. That means 2 kids will sit.


Then trade Savard ASAP. Not Petry ASAP. Petry at $4.69M for 2 more years is better than Savard at $3.5M for 2 more years…

Or at least then buy Savard out…that’s not a bad deal for the Habs.

You don’t just “give Petry away”. If teams know the Habs are desperate to unload him ASAP as you want, then a 50% retention and MAYBE a 2nd rd pick come back – that’s a garbage return. He’s worth more than that right now.

We are all talking about salary cap savings, and how Hughes can use it to his advantage. That’s all I’ve heard on this website for months now. Retaining 50% of Petry’s salary – for two more years – is NOT how to do that!


I’d love to trade Savard and keep Petry, but the reality is Petry is not coming to Montreal. You write like it’s me that’s in control of this. Obviously I’m not. You are arguing on strategy which I’ve already told you I’m in agreement with. It would be my choice too. You are preaching to the choir here brother. What I’ve been saying is not what I want to happen, but what is actually going to happen. Jeff Petry will not be playing for Montreal. He’s going to be flipped before the season begins to the highest bidder because he’s not coming to Montreal. Every GM knows that already. So, where HuGo will earn their money is by creating a demand for Petry’s services by making him highly desirable through retaining salary. It would be great if 25% would do it, but in all likelihood 50% is going to bring the greatest return. I guess we’ll see what is going to happen.


Well, its still NOT a guarantee that Petry is out before the season starts. If the Habs are trading him ASAP out of desperation, then the 50% retention and the 2nd rd pick return are bad for the team…now and next season. Hughes cannot let him go under these conditions. Lord, I hope this doesn’t happen. He must remain with the team and get filpped at the TDL for a better return and less retention.

There’s still Armia, and Wideman or Savard, and Dvorak or Evans, and a goalie, who still need to go. They are more important to unload ASAP. Petry doesn’t NEED to go right now.

Last edited 1 month ago by morrisk

Just call her his wife or Mrs. Petry not wifey.


I think 50% is too high.
25% brings him to approx 3 mil..
Grab a 2nd or two
move him out so kovy can gets lots of ice time…so when we have to trade him we get max…