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Canadiens Hughes Discusses Monahan Trade, Upcoming Trades

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes met with the media on Friday to discuss the trade that sent Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2024 first-round pick and a 2027 conditional third-round pick.

We must note that Hughes originally received a first-round pick from the Calgary Flames, who were desperate to create some cap space flexibility, to acquire Monahan. This means the Canadiens essentially acquired two first-round picks in exchange for cash, as the only cost was paying Monahan’s salary.

They did not retain any salary in the deal with Winnipeg.

It was a masterful series of moves by Hughes.

Not only did he acquire another first-round pick, a highly coveted asset in the NHL, but it also opened up other options, including a possible trade ahead of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

MUST READ: Impact of Sean Monahan Trade On The Canadiens Lineup And Rebuild

The Monahan trade was accelerated by the fact that the Vancouver Canucks acquired centre Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Jets, leaving very few centres with legitimate talent available on the NHL’s trade market.

“Yes, we believe teams that were in the race for Lindholm pivoted to Sean,” explained Hughes. “Did it have an impact on the return? We did our homework. We knew where the market was heading, and when we received the price we wanted, we pulled the trigger.”

As for the loss of talent in the lineup, Hughes expects the entire team to pick up the slack left behind.

“When we signed Sean this summer, we signed him because we knew he was a player who made us a better team on the ice and in the locker room. I can’t say enough good things about Sean. He was a very important player for us. There was some stuff that came out in the media, and we pride ourselves on not letting things leak. I had to call him to tell him the rumours were real, and even though we’re better with him in the lineup, we don’t have enough clarity in our future to offer him a reasonable contract. So, in that case, we were better to trade him to give him a chance to play for a very good team.”

In other words, the Canadiens are being realistic about their future. If Hughes thought the team was ready to compete, there would have been a discussion about another extension prior to the trade. Seeing as the discussion never took place, it’s safe to assume there are almost no illusions of grandeur among the management team.

Hughes also mentioned Alex Newhook is nearing a return to play, which mitigates some of the impact of losing Monahan. He also discussed the possibility of signing the Laval Rocket’s leading scorer, Brandon Gignac, saying that everything is on the table in the next few days.

“One thing we saw from our group since I arrived, whether by trade or by injuries, is that our players have a certain level of resilience and can handle adversity.”

Montreal Canadiens Trade Details

One of the most interesting aspects of this trade is that the Canadiens acquired a pick and not a young player with potential. In the past, Hughes has targeted players like Newhook and Kirby Dach in trades, rather than selecting a player who is still several years away from making an impact in the NHL.

“We were open to a prospect or a pick,” said Hughes. “If it was a prospect, it had to have first-round value. We’ll always be open to the idea of moving a pick for a player down the road, but in this case, there was just a pick available, and that was an acceptable return. Any time you go through this process, you try to understand the market.[…] The prospects we enquired about were not available.”

As for future trades, Hughes did not close the door on the possibility of moving another veteran to a team that is hoping to contend for the Stanley Cup.

“I don’t try to close doors,” said Hughes. “If I could do a trade without retaining, clearly there’s value to that for us. In the sense that we have that availability whether we end up moving another player before the traded deadline or not, whether we participate as a third party in a transaction.”

He finished the availability by discussing a potential trade involving Montreal Canadiens defenceman David Savard.

“I have not discussed anything with David, not yet,” he said. “But my door is always open. Am I open to trading him? I am open to trading anyone if it could improve our team. But, I can’t say we’re shopping him at this exact moment.”

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Tyrone

Sure would love to know who those prospects were that they inquired about but “we’re not available”. Are their present teams not interested in moving them now because they want them for the playoffs? Could those players possibly become available after the playoffs are over and before the draft?

OHF

At the end of the season Sean would be a FA and teams could just make offer and sign him with giving Montreal and assets.

Tyrone

Huh?

Scott

Monahan aside. When Hughes talks with GMs they talk about more than 1 player. They see if theres a fit for other moves. Hughes knows how to wheel and deal hence multiple 3 team trades. The key is communication and like Tyrone is wondering. Are the players being requested potentially back on the table after the season. This has nothing to do with Monahan and more to do with wanting to readdress their trade considerations after the post season

Habblab

I think signing Gignac will be necessary for the Habs.