The Montreal Canadiens have been spending a lot of draft capital on defencemen as of late but may have an opportunity to snag a good one on the trade market.
It was announced earlier this week by DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli that the Columbus Blue Jackets are facing a logjam on defence, specifically on the right side, and want to make a move.
Seravalli listed the likes of Jake Bean, Adam Peeke and, most importantly, Adam Boqvist as one of the players that are likely being dangled at this moment to gain more flexibility on defence.
It wouldn’t be a move that would move the needle for the Montreal Canadiens on online betting platforms, but making a backdoor move to acquire a defenceman as talented as Boqvist could be a Kirby Dach-like boon for the Canadiens.
After the acquisitions of Ivan Provorov from the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-way deal and Damon Severson in a sign-and-trade from the New Jersey Devils, the top-4 seems pretty clear for the Blue Jackets moving forward.
Added to the likes of Zach Werenski and Erik Gudbranson, a once barren defensive corps is now overloaded with right-shot-shooting defencemen, which could seriously interest the Montreal Canadiens.
As of this junction, the Blue Jackets have Severson, Gudbranson, Andrew Peeke, Adam Boqvist and David Jiricek with legitimate NHL ability, and Corson Ceulemans is also just turning pro this spring.
Similar to the Chicago Blackhawks and Kirby Dach, it seems like the Blue Jackets are moving in another direction and looking to compete quickly.
Striking While the Iron Is Hot
If the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for flexibility, the Montreal Canadiens can offer them some much-needed help.
Be it in the form of waiver-exempt prospects, draft picks, or NHL-ready forwards, the Canadiens have the cap space to absorb Adam Boqvist’s $2.6M cap hit without necessarily having to unload any salary onto Columbus.
Acquiring a player like Boqvist instantly solves their power play quarterback and defensive goal-scoring issues, as Boqvist looked phenomenal running Columbus’ power play last season in the absence of Werenski. During the 2021-2022 season, the youngster put up 11 goals while maintaining that goal-scoring pace during his shortened 2022-2023 campaign.
The 23-year-old would flourish from instant top-4 usage in a no-pressure environment and could flourish under a coach like Martin St-Louis.
Furthermore, the acquisition of the former 8th overall pick in 2018 would give the organization more time to allow youngsters like Justin Barron and Logan Mailloux to simmer in the minors, assuming neither is used as trade bait after the fact for a top forward.
The Canadiens may also receive significant trade interest in the cost-controlled David Savard toward the end of this season; which would leave the Canadiens with Johnathan Kovacevic as their top right-handed shot, should a deal come to fruition.
By completing this trade, the Canadiens would ensure the long-term viability of the rights side of their defence for years to come, especially with David Reinbacher coming over to North America full-time the following season.
Having a depth chart of right-shooting defencemen that includes Boqvist, Reinbacher, Mailloux, Barron and, eventually, Bogdan Konyushov could be a scary thought for the Montreal Canadiens’ opposition in the medium and long-term.