With the trade deadline coming in a week, there are rumours aplenty going around who the buyers and the sellers will be. With Montreal well out of playoff contention, it is time to take a look at what Montreal could do to improve the roster for now as well as for later and what to potentially look for.
Needs: Cap Relief, Goaltending
The Canadiens desperately need to move cap space seeing as they have only 11 players signed for next season and already near the cap ceiling. Moving cap space out and getting the much needed cap relief would help out. Here is who I think who should be moved out to get some of that cap relief.
- Jonathan Drouin (1 year left, $5.5M)
- Ben Chiarot (signed through end of season)
- Shea Weber (4 years left, $7,857,143 AAV)
- Weber is on LTIR and could be a bit harder to move. Weber is unlikely to play again with the lingering injuries he has had. If this contract does get moved, it would have to be to a team with a lot of cap space on the books that can bury it on their LTIR.
- Jake Allen (1 year, $2.875M)
- Jeff Petry (3 years, $6.25M AAV)
- Carey Price (4 years, $10.5 AAV)
- This piece would have to take a lot of convincing to move as well as Montreal taking on at least half of the contract.
- This one is a long shot, but it would take a big cap number off of the books.
Moving any of these contracts does provide some relief for Montreal but it may not be enough as the Habs do have a lot of other big contracts on the books and with the big extension with Nick Suzuki starting next season, they’ll need all the cap relief they can get.
Now onto the Goaltending.
With Carey Price, who has 4 years left on his deal at $10.5 per season, he could be an unmoveable piece due to his contract, is also unlikely to play this season.
Jake Allen, who is currently on Injured Reserve has one year left on his deal. Allen, could be a potential moving piece, but given how Montreal is very thin at goaltender, I don’t see him being moved.
Montreal could try to go after a goaltender, but they may have to give up prospects, draft picks, or both in order for this to happen. It would be amazing but somehow a bit scary if the Habs traded for Marc-Andre Fleury, but that trade would be unlikely.
If Montreal makes a move for goaltending, expect this to be for only an expiring contract as the Canadiens have two young goaltenders in Cayden Fleury and Samuel Montembeault, whose contracts both end at the end of the season. Fleury and Montembeault look to be the future netminders so I don’t see these two being moved for a veteran. However, goaltending has been one of the biggest Achilles heel this season.
Other Potential Moves
Aside from the desperate cap relief the Canadiens need, with Montreal having seven players on the active roster with restricted free agency contracts, with five of those being on arbitration right, they’ll need that cap relief.
Honestly, the biggest cap relief pieces would be moving Weber and Price, as that would free up over $18 million in cap space.
There are not a lot of options out there for Montreal to go after, given the salary cap issues they are currently in.
If anything, they’d have to make a trade for a potential low dollar contract that is also on an expiring deal.
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