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Montreal Canadiens

Trade Deadline Cap Broker Targets For Montreal Canadiens



Montreal Canadiens Sean Monahan Trade

The Montreal Canadiens aren’t done dealing before the NHL Trade Deadline, leaving their options open for an extra move or two.

After trading Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets earlier this month, the Canadiens have slowly begun their slide down the standings.

As predicted by NHL betting odds, the Montreal Canadiens will likely be picking in the top 10 again, for the third consecutive year; which means they’ll likely be sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline.

The only issue is, that there isn’t much to sell right now, unless a surprise candidate comes to the forefront in the next three weeks. Before the All-Star break, all eyes were on Jake Allen to be moved before March 8th, but his disappointing play could scare off a few contending teams.

The other option would be David Savard, whom teams will likely show interest in as the thin market for defencemen, especially right-shooting defencemen, gets going after Chris Tanev or Sean Walker are moved.

But what happens if the market dries out quickly and the appetite from contenders simply isn’t there for some of the Canadiens’ most tradeable assets? They could become active as the third member of a cap-brokering trade.

In a move that has become popular in the flat salary-cap era, a cap broker is a third team that joins a trade with the sole purpose of retaining the salary of the key player involved in the trade going from Team A to Team B.

For example, at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, the Montreal Canadiens retained 50% of Nick Bonino ($1.025M) to facilitate a trade between the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In exchange for retaining 50% of Bonino’s salary, general manager Kent Hughes was able to extract a 2024 5th-round pick and the rights to Tony Sund.

However, this season could be a little different, as over 75% of contending clubs are either within $2M of the salary cap or currently using LTIR to remain cap-compliant. That means that, for big-ticket players like Adam Henrique, Jake Guentzel or Jordan Eberle, a third team will likely be needed to retain salary just to fit these players under the cap.

That’s where Montreal comes in. With one retention slot remaining and over $13M in potential LTIR space remaining, the Montreal Canadiens could become players in one of these trades.

Adam Henrique $5.825M

Adam Henrique is the last top-9 centre available on the rental market that could realistically make a difference on a contending team, but he comes at quite the price tag. Even if the Anaheim Ducks were to retain 50% of his salary, that would only reduce his cap hit to $2.912M; a cost that many contending teams would be unable to fit on their roster without having to trade another player.

However, if a third-party team like Montreal were to come in and retain an additional 50%  and drop Henrique’s cap hit to a more affordable $1.46M, it would be far more feasible for virtually any contending team to fit him under the cap.

Clocking in at a retention of nearly $1.5M, the Canadiens would easily be able to command a 3rd or a 4th-round pick from the deal, especially considering that Henrique’s salary for the season mirrors his cap hit at $5.85M; meaning that some smaller market teams may be less inclined to take on that kind of salary in a losing season.


Jordan Eberle $5.5M

With the Seattle Kraken slowly slipping out of the playoff race in the Western Conference, Jordan Eberle’s name has been added to the list of potential rental players available. With the Edmonton Oilers rumoured to be interested in a reunion, it could be a perfect time for Eberle to return to Edmonton, but there’s a snag; the Oilers don’t have any available cap space.

Even if the Kraken were to retain 50% and bring Eberle’s cap hit down to $2.75M, Edmonton, and most other contenders for that matter, wouldn’t be able to make the money work. However, if a third team comes in and further retains another 50% of his salary, Eberle’s cap hit would become a much more manageable 1.3775M.

With Edmonton primed to add at this NHL Trade Deadline, almost any move they make will likely require a third party, so it’s something to keep an eye on.


Jake Guentzel $6M

Jake Guentzel is perhaps the biggest fish left on the rental market, and comes in at $6M in both cap hit and salary. The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t yet decided if they want to move their scoring winger, but their slide down the standings has all but ensured that they won’t be making the playoffs this year, and trading Guentzel could provide them with a prime opportunity to recoup some assets.

It’s almost a given that the Penguins would retain 50% of Guentzel’s salary to make a deal work, but even at $3M, it may be a tight squeeze for many. But, as we’ve seen in every other scenario, a third team retaining 50% and bringing Guentzel’s cap hit down to a simple $1.5M would likely make his acquisition that much more valuable for Pittsburgh and the cap broker as well.

It remains to be seen whether or not Pittsburgh decides to trade Guentzel at all, as they continue to try and negotiate a new contract, but, if it gets to the point of trading him, expect Kent Hughes to be one of the first to offer his services.


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