Canadiens Options in Adding to Core Group


For many of the season, the Montreal Canadiens have been ready to present thrilling and aggressive hockey below head coach Martin St. Louis. Fans have watched many prospects make their NHL debut and younger gamers take strides in their improvement, primarily due to the damage bug that contaminated the dressing room. 

So, basic supervisor (GM) Kent Hughes watched his group fall into the underside 5 in the NHL standings without having to comply with the tanking mannequin of the Arizona Coyotes, who at the moment are forward of the Habs in the standings after 80 video games. With all of the discuss first-round picks and the way the Canadiens ought to spend that capital, would it not be price it for them to add extra picks or use one to make a commerce?  

Canadiens Acquiring Another First  

There has been discuss Hughes working the telephones to get a 3rd 2023 first-round choose to add to his personal and the Florida Panthers’ first. 

“We have two first-round picks. In a perfect world, we end up with three first-round picks. And then we use that collateral to see what we can do in terms of moving up to have higher picks or whatever, depending on what we see at the draft.”

– Kent Hughes (Marc-Antoine Godin, Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes selected improvement as a substitute of tanking, and the technique is well timed, The Athletic, 7 Oct. 2022) 

Hughes needs to proceed what he began in the spring of 2022, turning over the roster and transferring veterans for futures. That ought to make it simpler to land a first-round choose, proper? Well, he made the assertion above in the beginning of the 2022-23 season, when he had well-regarded veterans and, most of all, wholesome. Then Sean Monahan and Joel Edmundson have been injured, and Evgenii Dadonov coasted by means of his time in Montreal. So now, what’s the price to land a kind of coveted prime picks? 

Sean Monahan, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Today, it might one other first-round choose would price the Canadiens a participant they might slightly hold. Players akin to Josh Anderson or Mike Matheson have that worth or extra, however is it price buying and selling one in all them simply to make sure the Canadiens can add a first-round choose that may be very doubtless to fall in the 22 to 32 vary? Not actually. Not until there may be rather more to the package deal than a choose and a few wage cap house, particularly contemplating that each gamers are nonetheless solely 28 years previous, acting at a really excessive degree, and the roster nonetheless wants veterans to assist mentor the youth and insulate them after they fall into an inevitable hunch over a protracted season. 

Buy One Pick to Sell Another 

Along with the rumours that Hughes is trying to find one other first-round choose, others have him keen to deal a excessive choose to make a Kirby Dach-type deal, the place the Canadiens can transfer the Panthers’ first-round choose to purchase a younger participant who might be grafted onto the younger core or, on the very least, be a great complement to that core. 

“You have a team like Montreal that I believe would listen on Florida’s first-round pick, that they own, that will probably be a mid-round, first-round pick.”

Pierre LeBrun 

If a Dach-style deal is what Hughes is in search of, then it might make sense {that a} younger (below 25 years previous), big-bodied (over 6-foot-2 and 200 kilos) heart might be a goal, and there may be one participant who suits, whose story is among the worst-kept secrets and techniques in the NHL: Winnipeg Jets heart Pierre-Luc Dubois. 

Pierre-Luc Dubois Winnipeg Jets
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Jets’ state of affairs isn’t very best. Mark Scheifele and star goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are getting into the ultimate season of their contracts, their core is getting old, they usually haven’t achieved something of notice since their run to the 2018 Western Conference Final. In the life cycle of a hockey group, that is the proper time to start buying and selling invaluable veterans to enter a rebuild. 

Related: 2023 NHL Draft: Will Smith, Skilled and Driven  

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During his 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman said, “Jets have talked to the Canadiens on and off about Dubois. We know that Dubois is going to end up there 95%. Is there some way we can make a deal so the Canadiens get him earlier, and we get something we want? They’ve talked about that.” This would make Dubois a main goal for a package deal centred across the Florida draft choose, as he checks each field Canadiens administration is in search of in buying and selling that choose.  

It’s believable that Hughes needs a 3rd first-round choose to use one in a commerce and nonetheless choose two high-ranking prospects in one of many deeper drafts in latest reminiscence. Several prospects may change into affect gamers in Montreal, but it surely may take a number of seasons earlier than that occurs. Yet, until the Canadiens can put their arms on a game-changing presence for an affordable value – in commerce property and participant wage calls for – that choose might be higher off getting used to choose a prospect slightly than use in a commerce. 

While including a younger, established participant would vastly enhance the Canadiens’ roster instantly, it might have a direct affect on the route of their rebuild. Adding extra picks reveals they’re a for much longer timeline whereas utilizing some draft capital now factors to a want to change into contenders ahead of later. In the top, the Canadiens are doubtless to maintain the picks they’ve and use them to add prospects. Given Hughes’ historical past of sticking to his weapons in commerce negotiations, which tends to end result in an awesome deal for his group, Canadiens followers can relaxation straightforward figuring out no resolution will likely be made with out due diligence.  


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