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Canadiens Trade Talk

Canadiens Best Trade Assets Going Into The NHL Draft

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Trade

The Montreal Canadiens have confirmed their intent to be as active as they can on the trade front, and they have some interesting pieces they can offer.

When General Manager Kent Hughes and EVP Jeff Gorton sat down for their end-of-season press conference, they didn’t shy away from their desire to make moves this summer; with the goal of improving the club long-term.

Standing pat is always an option, but NHL betting odds don’t have a very positive outlook on the Canadiens’ hopes of making the playoffs next season; unless they make some key additions.

But, standing pat seems incredibly unlikely. Over the last two years, the Montreal Canadiens have made some rather big trades leading up to or during the NHL Draft, acquiring Kirby Dach in 2022 and Alex Newhook in 2023.

Now heading into 2024, and with a clear need for some scoring forwards, Hughes and Gorton have some ammunition to make some bigger moves this summer.

Let’s look at what’s available.

Winnipeg’s 1st-Round Pick

It would be utterly shocking to see the Montreal Canadiens use this pick come June 28, as it has looked like a potential trade chip since the moment the Sean Monahan trade was announced back in February.

With the pick expected to slot anywhere from 24th and 27th overall, it could be a valuable piece to be added in any trade for a young, scoring forward.

Of course, a late 1st-round pick doesn’t have that much value on its own, but, when coupled with another asset or two, you begin to build the makings of an enticing package for a rival team.

2025 1st-Round Picks

The Montreal Canadiens have loaded up on picks for the 2025 NHL Draft as well, and that is no coincidence.

Owning the Calgary Flames‘ 1st-round pick (or Florida’s depending on the conditions), previously acquired in the first of two Sean Monahan trades, on top of their own 1st-round pick in 2025, the Canadiens could always look to package one of these selections in a trade.

But trading a pick a year early without any protection is likely not the way to go. If indeed one of the 2025 1st-round picks is put on the market, there will likely be some protection allowing the Canadiens to transfer the weakest of the two picks come the 2025 NHL Draft.

It’s not an uncommon stipulation to include in trades, as the Detroit Red Wings, who had both their own 2024 1st-round pick and Boston’s,  put a condition on their blockbuster acquisition of Alex DeBrincat that Ottawa would receive the lesser of their 2024 two 1st-round picks, along with Dominik Kubalik, a 2024 4th-round pick and prospect Donovan Sebrango.

If there’s a can’t-miss player on the market that could help put the Montreal Canadiens over the top for years to come, these picks should be in play.

Young Defenceman

It’s no secret: the Montreal Canadiens have too many young and promising defencemen to fit in their roster long-term.

With Hughes sitting on a half-dozen left-shot defencemen with legitimate NHL aspirations, a decision will likely have to be made as to who is untouchable, nice to have and expendable.

In this case, the names of Justin Barron, Jordan Harris, Jayden Struble and potentially even Adam Engstrom or Logan Mailloux could be pieces Kent Hughes looks to use as bait for a young forward or as sweeteners in a larger deal for an impact player.

There is an outside chance that Kaiden Guhle could potentially be sacrificed if it meant bringing in a top-end, can’t-miss forward, but the Canadiens don’t seem keen to entertain the possibility at the moment.

David Savard

There was heavy interest in David Savard on trade deadline day this year, but a less-than-ideal buyer’s market and nonexistent cap space for contending teams made the move difficult.

However, this summer, especially with the rising salary cap, is a totally different ball game.

This isn’t to say Savard should openly be shopped and traded for pennies on the dollar, but, if the Canadiens receive their price of a 1st-round pick (or more) for their 34-year-old veteran rearguard, that may help them to quickly pivot toward another trade to acquire that scoring forward.

Now, if there isn’t a strong market for Savard, there is value in retaining him and having him work with young blueliners line Lane Hutson and Arber Xhekaj during the season and taking another crack at it at the 2025 NHL Trade Deadline.

Prospects Galore

The Montreal Canadiens have a lot of quantity in their prospect pool, beyond just the defencemen that have recently turned pro.

Prospects like Filip Mesar, Owen Beck or Joshua Roy will be the forwards that most teams will be looking to include in any prospective deal; and, although they may try, I don’t believe Beck or Roy would be on the table.

But players like Mesar, Sean Farrell and Oliver Kapanen, the latter of which is having an impressive World Championship tournament at the moment, could also be dangled in trades for teams looking to bolster their prospect pool and inject some youth into their organization.

The Canadiens have more quality on their backend in terms of expendable parts, but one shouldn’t rule out the Canadiens sacrificing a young forward to acquire an established or young, promising forward to speed up the rebuild.

Mike Matheson

Mike Matheson is likely the most valuable trade piece the Montreal Canadiens can afford to part with, as his inclusion in any trade would get most GMs to perk up and listen closely.

Finishing 9th in scoring for defencemen in the NHL this season, Matheson’s 62-point season has seen his value to the organization, and across the league, take as sharp a spike as his production has.

That being said, the Canadiens view Matheson as their current #1 defenceman and don’t appear willing to move on from him just yet, as he plays big minutes and shelters the younger defencemen from tougher minutes as they continue to develop in the NHL.

There’s value in that too.

But Matheson’s production, along with his sweetheart $4.875M contract for another two seasons, would be an attractive piece to dangle if it meant bringing in a young forward in the 21-25 age range that can measure up to Cole Caufield or Nick Suzuki.

 

 

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

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Mike P

If Silyaev drops to 5th, he would supplant Guhle as the future top Dman. He has the making of a #1 Dman. This could leave Guhle as the top prospect to fetch a top 6 forward. Guhle’s chacter is something management loves. So if Silayev is available at 5 Hughes will have an interesting decision to make.

Last edited 15 days ago by Mike P
Denis B.

Zero offense. And if they’re going to select a D, why not take the best RD available?

William O'Neill

Trading Guhle would have to be part of a blockbuster that has a consistent sniper being “part” of the return, which could change who the Habs select in the upcoming draft. Quite a few balls in the air

Tyrone

I’m glad you mentioned Guhle as a possible trade chip. When I’ve suggested it in the past, people have freaked out. Let’s be clear, I don’t desire to trade the guy. He’s likely another Ryan McDonagh (and that one still hurts me). However, if the net result of trading Guhle brings us back an elite scorer that makes us a better team overall for the future, then it has to be considered. The sheer depth on our left side D makes this less heresy than people think. I know it’s extremely risky (insert Drouin for Sergachev argument here!) but HuGo have a pretty decent track record of not getting burned in trades, so I do have some faith they’ll get it right. Is a left side D core of Matheson, Hutson & Xhekaj + an elite scoring winger better than a future with a left side comprised of Hutson, Guhle & Xhekaj minus an elite scoring winger? Yes, we could trade Matheson for that winger instead of Guhle and have our cake and eat it too. But, until Hutson can rack up points on a similar level or better than Matheson, we don’t have another Dman that can do what he does. It’s an extremely tough decision to make. It’ll be interesting to say the least to see how it plays out this summer.

Bev Seney

Why are we worried about next yr. Both Hutson and Mailloux should be able over the next 2 yes to more than take up the Matheson offence. Next yr is not that important. If we make the playoff great but as long as we progress that is the most important. Thing. Therefore trade Matheson. The offence we gain from the top winger should more than make up for Mathesons plus we have what Hutson and Mailloux provide as well and on top of that both D get a full yr development at the NHL level.

Dana

Eye on the prize. Make the deals that best align with the goal of being an elite team with strong Cup potential. We can only have so many roster players so don’t settle, aim high in all transactions. If it takes Matheson and Winnipegs first to get our guy, do it. It may have a negative immediate impact but we are not currently cup contenders so now is the time to make the sacrifices. Build for the future. Trade assets that are unlikely to be part of that group that eventually becomes cup worthy . We could potentially compete for a playoff spot next year although I suspect we end up on the outside but this group is growing together.

I have previously suggested moving a protected first from next year and it was met with significant pushback. If we think we can get a first for savard and or matheson and we have 2 next year already( and Calgary doesn’t appear to being close to a playoff spot) what roster spots are we looking to fill with 3 or 4 first rounders? New Jersey has made it known that the tenth overall pick in this years draft is available. I suspect one of Eiserman or Catton or Iginla will be available there, so we can potentially draft 2 top 6 forwards this year that will be in the lineup in a year or two to help us transform from Bruce Banner to The Incredible H_ _ _ ( answer is an anatomy part people work on to get a 6 pack😜)

Bev Seney

Exactly those worrying about next yr is plain stupid. EYES ON THE prize is 2 yrs from now.

Greg

As much as I like Guhle, and I think he’s great, I think we can afford to move him with our depth on defence. I also believe that other than Hutson, he is the defenceman who would get us the best return. But unlike another comment on here, I wouldn’t be moving Guhle so I could draft another defenceman at 5th. Like I said, I’d prefer to keep Guhle, but I wouldn’t be trading him for another d, and I would personally only draft another defenceman in the 1st round for the next 4 years if he was far better than the forwards that were available. We don’t just have enough defencemen in the system, we have more than we can play, more than we can properly develop. Enough is enough, get us some scoring in Montréal already.

Peter

That is absurd to think Guhle would be traded he is an untouchable.

peter

The Islanders won the trade for Romanov, he is a lot better than Xhekaj and will Dach ever play a full season? If Monahan can led the NHL in games played (he suited up for 83 games this past season) then anything is possible.

Steve

So you would trade Dach and Xhakaj to Islanders for Romanov?

Mahovlich1971

The only defencemen with more points than Guhle at the World Championship are Josi and Karlsson.

Normand Prejet

We would regret trading Guhle .

Dana

Gretzky wasn’t untouchable…

DomKing

Matheson, Savard, Harris and Struble are the top trade chips we have if you want a sniper in return, or even another top ten pick in this year’s draft. In fact, I think it would be a big mistake if they keep Matheson. He will never be worth more than he is now. Just imagine how great it would be if we come out of this year’s draft with any two of Lindstrom, Sennecke, Eiserman, Iginla or Catton.

Cameron

I know this is an article about trade chips but, why would we trade an asset and argue over which asset we should trade when we can sign a UFA like Sam Reinhart?

Dana

Why would Sam leave the climate, tax benefits, the elite team where he just had a career year for the Habs and the associated challenges that go with it especially when rebuilding?

Next year is a very strong class of ufa so more targets (supply side) more refined sense of what you need in a year and Hughes has had time to make moves and check off some items on the wish list. . Sam is a great player but I’m not sure the fit is right for either party this summer. The other issues with ufa as Plan A is you’ve left the draft as an after thought when it should be perhaps the most important trading opportunity of the year and draft day occurs before Free Agency begins. Finally, salary cap issues prohibit a teams ability to spend their way to address all their needs, especially big ones. Living right up ageinst the cap is very restrictive. I think we eventually add a big piece through Free Agency but the timing and the need it addresses are tbd.