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Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens’ Trade Deadline Options Amid Thin Rental Market

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have some big decisions ahead of the March 8th NHL Trade Deadline looming.

It’s no secret that the Canadiens are headed toward being sellers by the trade deadline in six weeks, as NHL betting odds have them set for another bottom-10 finish this season.

The club has a few pending free agents on their roster, but, a thin rental market this season may prompt teams across the league to get a little creative in their trade targets; and that could impact Montreal.

It seems inevitable that the likes of Sean Monahan, Jake Allen and Tanner Pearson should be on the way out by the trade deadline; with Monahan looking more and more like one of the bigger prizes in this year’s rental market.

But with the market so thin, players like David Savard, Mike Matheson and even Joel Armia could be dangled for a premium to the right buyer.

David Savard

David Savard is perhaps the most intriguing name that the Montreal Canadiens could dangle, outside of their pending free agents, this trade deadline. The 33-year-old is playing some of the best hockey of his career at the moment, putting up four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 24 games; all while playing over 20 minutes a night on a young team.

His team-friendly $3.5M contract still has another year to go before it expires in the summer of 2025, and his Cup-winning experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning should make him an interesting commodity if general manager Kent Hughes should make him available.

But then one simply need look at the rental market this year to notice that only two right-shot defencemen, Chris Tanev and Sean Walker, are among the crop of available players for nearly 10 contending teams; most of whom want to bolster their defence.

With right-shooting defencemen being one of the most difficult positions to fill in hockey; it may be a worthwhile venture for the Canadiens to look into; especially if a team offers a similar deal to what the Columbus Blue Jackets received for Savard back in 2021.

The Montreal Canadiens have been trying Kaiden Guhle and Jordan Harris on the right side over the last month, and, should they show signs of growth while playing their off sides, it could make the decision even easier; while they wait for Logan Mailloux and David Reinbacher to hit full maturity.

Mike Matheson

With the abundance of left-shooting defencemen on the Canadiens’ roster, they could also pivot and see if there’s strong interest in an offensive defenceman like Mike Matheson.

Currently signed through the 2025-2026 season at a very reasonable $4.875M, the Montreal native has been the team’s defacto No. 1 defenceman since his arrival last season.

Although he may not be perfect defensively, he’s emerged as one of the top offensive defencemen in the Eastern Conference; posting 15 goals and 51 assists for 66 points in just 94 games since being traded to the Canadiens.

That being said, Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj and Jayden Struble are all pushing for bigger roles with the Montreal Canadiens, and the likes of Lane Hutson and Adam Engstrom are not too far from making the jump to the NHL.

It’s a worthwhile conversation to be had with rival teams, but, as of this writing, the idea would be to weigh the market in the summer; rather than force a trade in March.

Joel Armia

If this article were written two months ago, every reader would have simply burst out laughing; and some might still be right now!

But, Joel Armia has been playing some of his best hockey of late; already totaling more goals (8) in his 30 games with the Canadiens than in may of the past three prior seasons.

It’s clear that Armia can help a contending team, but his $3.4M contract, which only expires in the summer of 2025, is the major impediment to making a move.

Luckily for the Montreal Canadiens, they have a significant amount of unused LTIR space; meaning they could easily take on short-term salary to facilitate a trade and open up some salary and a roster spot next season for a youngster like Joshua Roy to make the jump full-time.

Having found great chemistry alongside Roy and Monahan; it wouldn’t be surprising to see some general managers across the league look into his acquisition. Big and rugged forwards with good playoff experience are always a desireable commodity at the NHL Trade Deadline, but this would be an addition by subtraction, and not a move that would bring back much asset value to the Canadiens.

*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel

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peter

David Savard is a -14 in the last 12 games which spread over 82 games would be a -96! Why don’t they sit Gallegher he is a team worst -21 and his play is deteriorating by the game.

Alex Barrette

I dont know why Gally is getting a free pass like that. He’s terrible, constantly loosing the puck. He creates nothing, doesnt score. We HAVE to buy him out or force him onto the LTIR.

Only way we get to trade Matheson is if we get a premium top young forward. I dont want no maybes and picks for him . I want at minimum Cutter Gauthier type of prospect .

Ralph

Although Mike Matheson has very impressive statistics, there are 282 players in the NHL who average more points per 60 minutes played. Matheson averages 1.62 points per 60 minutes. He often plays almost 30 minutes per game. Also he spends more time in the penalty than most players. I do have a high opinion of him and am impressed by his skill, but his excessive ice time is making his value become inflated. He is a good second pairing defenseman for most teams.

Ghg55

Uuuhhhhh why would you compare him to forwards too? He’s 26th in pts per 60 amongst Dmen. Every single Dman above him is on a team that’s above mtl in the standings except werenski, chychrun (the sens SHOULD be far above us) and dahlin (a legit star). Montreal is also one of the youngest teams, one of the lowest scoring teams, and has the second most man games lost to injury in the league.

Matheson has issues, particularly defensively, but stop acting like he’s a scrub. He’s the main reason why a team like the habs that generally can’t score is near the top of the league in goals by defencemen. He’s a legit top line player right now and with that contract, he’d be worth quite a bit in a trade

Ralph

Those are excellent points. For defensemen he has the 14th most points and for points per 60 minutes he is the 27 best which is very good since there are about 200 defensemen in the league. I need to think more carefully in future.

John Spearing

IF the return is right, ALL veterans are available…
The obvious would be Monahan and Savard because the returns are expected to be solid… Allen is also an obvious one as long as someone takes him, but I’m not convinced he gets a good return…
I’m all for maxing Matheson’s value if a contender is willing to pay the premium, I honestly think now is a great time to trade him, we’d get more right now than we would in the off season…
IF we can move Armia, hell yeah – get it done… I know he has played decent, but that’s why it’s a good time to do it, so I fully agree with trying to trade him.
Not sure what the return would be, but Pearson is also available.
His production isn’t very good so I’m not sure where his value is at, but with desperate teams that miss their guys he could fetch a nice return – I myself still love him so I’m in no rush, but if the right deal is there: Josh Andersson could be another vet we move…
Because of his contract, Gally is unmovable…

But with so many pieces potentially moving out and with 11 picks already in the draft – I think we need to look at prospects over picks in some of these deals.