It’s no secret the Montreal Canadiens will be active in trade negotiations up to the NHL’s Trade Deadline on March 8.
And while there are few Habs players included on trade bait lists, including Jake Allen and Mike Matheson, there’s one play in particular who should garner a healthy amount of interest.
Sean Monahan signed a one-year contract with the Canadiens this summer that carries a very reasonable $1.95 million annual average value. However, there was a caveat attached to the negotiations when it came to possible landing spots this season.
“You have to go back to the offseason when the Canadiens signed the veteran forward,” explained Darren Dreger in the latest episode of Insider Trading. “They had an agreement at that point to trade him to a contending team or a team of his choice when the time is right. Nothing has changed there.”
Despite some calls to keep Monahan in the fold, it seems like the team is intent on moving the versatile centre. Monahan brings a lot of value to the lineup, but given that he’s already 29 years old and has a history of health issues, he does not fit the time frame of Kent Hughes’ planned rebuild.
“In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sean Monahan is among the first forwards to be dealt before the deadline,” said Dreger.
In other words, Montreal Canadiens fans hoping to see Monahan return to the lineup next season should probably modify their expectations.
There aren’t a bevy of talented centres available in the NHL, and even fewer that can immediately jump into any given lineup while taking up a minuscule percentage of the team’s salary cap.
By the time the trade deadline rolls around, Monahan’s cap hit will be negligible, which means trading for Monahan would also allow contending teams to add more talent via other moves, thus improving their late-season push for the Cup.
As for possible trade partners, Dreger suggested teams such as the Colorado Avalanche, the Boston Bruins, the Edmonton Oilers, and even the Washington Capitals as possible suitors who are looking to improve their centre depth.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) January 11, 2024