NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Montreal Canadiens

by | Apr 23, 2020 | Soapbox | 6 comments



  1. It’s difficult to believe that the Habs will be able to land both top six forwards and top a 4 defenseman by trading just draft picks or using free agency. I only see two top 4 defensemen on the UFA list – Pietrangelo and Krug – and I don’t see either winding up in Montreal. The only potential top six forward may be Hall, but, again, I don’t see him in a Canadiens uniform. It will take more than draft picks to land either need for Montreal. Look for cap strapped teams to unload underperforming bottom six forwards, or ones who are overpaid.

    • As I noted in the piece, there will be teams looking to shed salary if the salary cap remains at $81.5 million for next season. And it won’t necessarily be bottom-six forwards or overpaid underachievers that get moved. Sure, those clubs will try to move those guys, but that won’t be an easy sell. Don’t be so quick to assume that the Canadiens couldn’t land a quality player by offering up two or three second-round picks.

      I also said they’ll turn to the trade market because they don’t have a good history of attracting top UFAs to Montreal. Their draft picks would have nothing to do with any attempt to sign Petrangelo, Krug or Hall. Only their cap space works in their favor in the UFA market, and even then, I doubt they’d have much success signing any of those guys.

      • No chance at Hall or Petrangelo, modest chance at best for Krug. But given their cap space and the likelihood of a flat cap, they’re are still some good UFAs that I believe would be available to the Habs. I’m thinking Toffoli, Dadanov or Hoffman at forward, Brodie or Gustafson on D.

    • Iago, correct. Pieterangelo will command too much money and term for the Habs to swallow, and the Habs have too many small players to take on another one in Krug.

      The Habs don’t need bottom six forwards, so the logical targets are guys in the Tatar range who score twenty plus goals/year. Toffoli would fit that as Howard notes but the Canucks like him and are unlikely to let him go.

      Otherwise big rep UFAs are overpriced and often fail to deliver. Hall has had two very good seasons, but 5 years apart. Duchene has been pretty consistent at 20+ goal seasons, but as had one 70 point season and nothing close to that in recent seasons.

      Best example of an overhyped UFA bust: Lucic. Think about the problems both Duchene and Lucic would have inflicted on the Habs cap space had either signed there.

      Way better to find consistent but unspectacular top 6 forwards who deliver better bang for the buck.

  2. Nice article Lyle all your points were right on the money. I do hope the borders get open soon so I can make my yearly visit to go back home in Moncton and a few days staying at the cottages in Cavendish

    • Thanks, Leo!