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Montreal Canadiens

Trading Monahan Early Paying Off For The Montreal Canadiens



Montreal Canadiens Hughes

Some fans and analysts raised an eyebrow Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes traded veteran Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets with more than a month left before the NHL’s trade deadline.

By moving him earlier, Hughes was potentially missing out on a bigger haul if teams became more desperate down the stretch.

It was certainly a risk, but given how things have unfolded in the NHL’s trade market, it’s safe to say Hughes made the right decision.

Monahan Situation

Potentially losing out on future assets was not the only risk at play.

With all due respect to Monahan, the talented centre has dealt with his fair share of injuries in recent years. Hanging on to him with the hope that the offers would improve would have been the biggest gamble, seeing as Monahan’s value could have cratered completely if he were to pick up yet another injury.

After all, that’s exactly what happened in the lead-up to the NHL Trade Deadline last season.

The other risk was that the market would cool down considerably and a player of his ilk would only fetch a mid-round pick.

We often discuss risk management in professional sports, with the bulk of the attention centred on improving asset value, but within that discussion, there has to be an acknowledgement that staying pat also carries a certain risk.

For example, the New Jersey Devils failed to make a move this year by not shoring up their goaltending until the last possible moment, when they acquired Jake Allen from the Canadiens.

Consequently, they’re on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff hopes. This led to the team trading former Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli to the Jets for a second and third-round pick. To make matters worse, the Devils were also retained 50 percent of his salary.

Toffoli is not the only player who received less than fair value at the deadline.

The NHL’s trade tracker is littered with trades that involved teams receiving less than fair value for their rental assets.

Using Draft Capital

Truth be told, the first-round pick(s) the Canadiens acquired from Monahan are unlikely to lead to a top prospect.

That’s not to say there’s no talent left in the later parts of the first round, but the Canadiens have a well-documented history of turning draft capital into an asset that can immediately improve the lineup, as they did when they traded for Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook.

Of course, Hughes will have to be careful in the lead-up to the draft. Dach and Newhook worked out, but most reclamation projects fail.

But even if the Habs don’t manage to swing a trade involving their draft capital, Montreal Canadiens fans can take solace in knowing that their current general manager has a long-term plan in place, which certainly was not the case in the last decade.