TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger report the Montreal Canadiens are trading Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a first-round pick and a conditional pick pending trade call.
NHL.COM: Trade confirmed. Monahan to the Jets in exchange for the Jets’ 2024 first-round pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2027.
Montreal Canadiens trade center Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets. (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s John Lu reports the Jets are shoring up their depth at center with Mark Scheifele currently sidelined by a lower-body injury. They went 2-3-1 during his absence before the All-Star Break.
This is an affordable addition for the Jets, who were jockeying for first overall before Scheifele was injured. The 29-year-old Monahan carries a $1.95 million salary for this season. He is enjoying a bounce-back performance after missing most of last season due to lower-body injuries. He was third on the rebuilding Canadiens in scoring with 35 points in 49 games. He’ll slot into the second-line center position behind Scheifele.
The Canadiens got a conditional 2025 first-round pick from the Calgary Flames in 2022 for taking on the remainder of Monahan’s former contract which carried a $6.35 million cap hit. This deal with the Jets means they now have two first-rounders in this year’s draft and two in 2025. That provides them the option of keeping those picks for themselves or using some of them as trade bait to bring in some established young talent.
The Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique is probably next on that list. LeBrun also wondered if Scott Laughton could end up on this list if the Philadelphia Flyers fall out of the playoff race. He cited colleague Darren Dreger reporting the Flyers are getting calls about Laughton, who has two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3 million. While general manager Daniel Briere isn’t keen to move the 29-year-old center he’s willing to listen to offers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan’s bounce-back performance this season and his affordable $1.9 million cap hit account for why he’s likely the top center in the trade market leading up to March 8. The Canadiens could even retain half of that cap hit but they’ll likely want a first-round pick and maybe a prospect or a promising young NHL player in return.
Laughton could be moved if someone pitches a significant offer to Briere, who isn’t deviating from his rebuilding plans despite his club sitting third in the Metropolitan Divison. As he said, however, he won’t make trades just for the sake of doing so. Briere indicated the trade market would determine what moves (if any) he’ll make.
LeBrun believes the Flames’ focus now shifts toward pending UFA defensemen Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev. He thinks they’re still trying to re-sign Hanifin but will have to fish or cut bait by March 8.
It’s more likely that Tanev gets moved by deadline day. The Flames’ asking price is believed to be a second-round pick plus another asset but a club could have him right now if they’re willing to part with a first-rounder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes the Flames are rebuilding on the fly rather than engaging in a full roster teardown. They could seek a young roster player for Hanifin as he has more value than Tanev.
LeBrun also wondered what effect Lindholm’s trade might have on Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom as the two are good friends. Markstrom is signed through 2025-26 with an AAV of $6 million and a no-movement clause. If he wants out, moving him might have to wait until the offseason.
LATEST ON THE PREDATORS
THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina doesn’t see the Nashville Predators parting with starting goaltender Juuse Saros by deadline day. They’re jockeying for a wild-card berth in the Western Conference and promising Yaroslav Askarov isn’t NHL-ready yet. The only way he thinks that could happen is if a desperate general manager is willing to overpay to get him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Somebody could pitch Preds GM Barry Trotz an offer too good to refuse but I don’t think anyone’s going to do that by the trade deadline. Maybe in the offseason if Saros’ contract extension talks get difficult.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not all of those pending free agents could hit the trade block. In Fabbro’s case, Trotz doesn’t have to move him by March 8 as he could wait for the offseason to gauge his market value if he doesn’t have a long-term future in Nashville.
Kaapo, 22, could be an affordable acquisition and he still has time to reach his potential. However, Brown noted that the young Rangers winger has had ample opportunity to do so and hasn’t reached it yet. He also noted the Blackhawks are dealing with a struggling young winger of their own in Lukas Reichel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks already have enough promising youngsters on their club and within their system. They need more established young talent to help their rebuild and provide some much-needed depth around budding superstar Connor Bedard.
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe believes Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas would like to re-sign Jake Guentzel. The 29-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. It could depend on Guentzel’s willingness to sign what Yohe called a “somewhat team-friendly deal.”
Yohe believes Dubas isn’t afraid to trade Guentzel if a new deal isn’t possible. He won’t let the winger walk away for nothing this summer. Nevertheless, the Penguins GM would love to sign him for the right price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel’s cap hit on his current contract is $6 million. With the salary cap projected to jump by $4.2 million for 2024-25, he could get between $9 million and $10 million annually on the open market.
My guess is Dubas’ number is between $7.5 million and $8 million per season. It would then come down to how much Guentzel wants to stay and remain Sidney Crosby’s wingman.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski noted the Penguins have a couple of holes to fix among their middle-six forwards. He wondered if Dubas would attempt to move struggling winger Reilly Smith and his $5.5 million annual cap hit through next season to make room for another solution in a similar role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 32-year-old Smith’s production is well down this season with just eight goals and 20 points in 40 games. He has a 10-team no-trade list for this season which becomes an eight-team list next season.
Smith might not be willing to move to a rebuilding team, though the Coyotes are showing signs of a potential breakthrough as a playoff contender this season. Whether the Coyotes would want him, however, is another matter.
Engels believes it would take a first-round pick for Canadiens GM Kent Hughes to part with Monahan. As for when Hughes can expect to receive serious offers for the 29-year-old center. Engels expects talks in the trade market will pick up following the All-Star break.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those discussions could start now after the Lindholm trade yesterday. That was the first domino to drop. Trade activity won’t take place during the All-Star break because the league doesn’t want anything to overshadow that.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the next big move takes place soon after the end of the All-Star weekend. Teams that were interested in Lindholm could shift their focus toward Monahan and that could drive up his trade value.
Augello also noted some recent speculation suggesting the Sabres could trade forward Casey Mittelstadt. He carries an affordable $2.5 million cap hit and is eligible for restricted free-agent status this summer. However, that might be a move that Sabres management can hold off on until this summer.
BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Jason Moser recently noted the speculation about David Jiricek’s future with the Columbus Blue Jackets after the rookie defenseman expressed frustration over being demoted to their AHL affiliate.
Moser thinks it could be worthwhile for the Sabres to look into acquiring Jiricek if he’s available. He thinks offering up a top prospect forward such as Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund, Jiri Kulich or Isak Rosen would make sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres playoff hopes appear dashed for another season. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Sabres peddled some of those pending UFAs for middle or low-range draft picks and prospects that could be used as trade bait in the offseason.
They could move Mittelstadt but that could depend on how his contract talks go. If it appears he could be headed to arbitration they might shop him during the draft in June for a skilled defenseman or an established starting goalie.
As for Jiricek, he hasn’t asked to be traded and I doubt that the Blue Jackets want to move him given his potential as a top-pairing blueliner. If he did become available, however, the Sabres possess the depth in promising young assets to make a competitive offer.
WHAT MUST THE BRUINS ADDRESS BEFORE THE TRADE DEADLINE?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss ranked the Bruins biggest needs to address as the trade deadline approaches.
Acquiring a physical veteran defenseman who can clear the front of the net, kill penalties and play tough minutes against quality opponents. is the top priority. Adding a middle-six forward with a decent scoring touch could also help.
Which players could the Rangers target as a possible replacement for Filip Chytil? What’s the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko? Will the Predators be busy in the trade market? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
POSSIBLE REPLACEMENTS FOR CHYTIL
NEW YORK POST: Before Sunday’s news that Filip Chytil is out for the rest of the season with a suspected concussion, Larry Brooks wondered which players the Rangers might target as a possible replacement for the sidelined center.
The Rangers need a third-line center behind Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck. Brooks believes they will operate with the cap space freed up by placing Chytil and his $4.4 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve.
Brooks listed the Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique and Montreal Canadiens’ Sean Monahan as the most prominent trade candidates. The 33-year-old Henrique carries a $5.85 million cap hit that the Ducks would have to retain half, likely driving up their asking price. Monahan, 29, has a $1.985 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliotte Friedman touched on this during his Saturday Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. He felt a trade sending Monahan to the Rangers wouldn’t be easy. He said there’s no love lost between the front offices of the two clubs as former Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton is now the Canadiens executive VP of hockey operations.
Ottawa Senators winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).
Monahan is younger and carries a much more affordable cap hit but he does have a recent history of injuries. The Canadiens could seek a first-round pick in return for Monahan while the Ducks could seek the same for Henrique.
LATEST ON TARASENKO
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reported on Friday that Senators GM Steve Staios must determine what’s next for Vladimir Tarasenko. The 32-year-old right wing is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
On Wednesday, Staios told reporters that he hadn’t approached Tarasenko about waiving his no-trade clause. Nevertheless, both sides understand the reality of the situation.
The Senators GM said the winger has made a good impression with the Sens and hinted at re-signing him. However, Garrioch pointed out that the Senators need more assets (draft picks or prospects) and Tarasenko could fetch some of those in a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch also indicated that there were scouts from Washington, Detroit, St. Louis and Arizona at Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins. They may have been there to look at Tarasenko and other Ottawa players but it’s worth noting that the Capitals, Red Wings and Coyotes will play the Senators within the next four weeks.
Tarasenko will certainly draw attention over the next month as the trade deadline approaches. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and has a proven record in postseason play with 44 goals and 64 points in 97 contests. The veteran winger has 32 points in 43 games with the Senators this season.
PREDATORS COULD BE ACTIVE BEFORE THE TRADE DEADLINE
NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: Michael Gallagher recently reported Predators GM Barry Trotz spent time phoning different general managers during the club’s recent road trip. He said that he’d be ready to do something but the others couldn’t because of limited salary-cap space.
Trotz believes his team will be able to do “a couple of things” at the March 8 trade deadline. Gallagher noted he’s been trying to move defenseman Tyson Barrie but hasn’t been able to make the dollars work yet because the interested parties lack cap room.
Predators backup goalie Kevin Lankinen has drawn interest but he’ll fetch a draft pick or two rather than a player who can help the Predators now. There were rumblings earlier this season that blueliner Dante Fabbro was available but those have since died away
Trotz hasn’t made up his mind if he’ll be a buyer or seller but suggested his club’s performance in the coming weeks would determine his decision.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie is the most likely to be moved given his public trade request, which didn’t sit well with Trotz. However, I don’t think he’ll fetch much more than Lankinen.
Sean Monahan is linked to the Rangers, Chris Tanev could become a Senators trade target, and the Sabres’ Erik Johnson could become a trade candidate. Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
The Montreal Canadiens center has garnered lots of respect around the league after overcoming injuries that threatened to derail his career two years ago. Monahan, 29, has 35 points in 49 games this season.
Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).
Friedman believes the Canadiens’ asking price could be a first-rounder for Monahan. He noted that the Rangers were in the market for a center and could use a second one after Filip Chytil suffered a setback last week in his recovery from a concussion.
It could prove not very easy for the two clubs to swing a deal. Friedman believes there is little love lost between their front offices. Canadiens executive vice-president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton is the Rangers’ former general manager.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think Gorton would have an issue if the Rangers offered up a first-round pick or a top prospect for Monahan. A bigger concern could be whether the Blueshirts could win a bidding war for the Canadiens center. The Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks could have an interest in him.
SENATORS EYEING CHRIS TANEV
SPORTSNET: Friedman reported that Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev could be on the Ottawa Senators’ radar as they look to add complete players and “pros” to their lineup.
Friedman thinks Tanev would make a lot of sense for the Senators. However, they might not be among his preferred destinations given their place in the standings. The 34-year-old blueliner could prefer going to a contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This only makes sense for the Senators if Tanev is willing to sign a contract extension with them. He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, which is why he’s come up so often in trade rumors this season. If he’s not interested, they’ll be wasting assets on someone who could bolt this summer to greener pastures. It might be best to wait and see if he will test the free-agent market this summer and inquire about him then.
WILL THE SABRES SHOP ERIK JOHNSON?
BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Jason Moser cited Friday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast episode in which Friedman said he’s starting to hear Erik Johnson’s name a little bit in the rumor mill. The 35-year-old defenseman signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Sabres last summer.
Friedman said he was told that Johnson could be a name to watch as there’s going to be interest in him. He thinks the veteran blueliner would prefer going to a contender if the Sabres attempt to move him. Moser speculated they might get a third-round pick for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson lacks a no-trade clause but the Sabres could try to do right by him by prioritizing contenders. He’s on injured reserve but is expected to return to action following the upcoming All-Star break.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons observed the decline in John Tavares’ production this season. If the Maple Leafs can expect this from their 33-year-old captain over the remainder of his contract, perhaps the two sides should consider parting ways.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).
Simmons wondered if Tavares, who has one year remaining on his contract with a full no-movement clause, would be willing to “make a most unselfish gesture and waive his no-trade arrangement?” He speculated that question might come before this season ends or in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares made it very clear that he intends to play out his contract with the Leafs. I’ll be astonished if Leafs management asks him to waive his movement clause and even more shocked if he agrees to accept a trade.
Assuming that unlikely scenario took place, there is no market for a declining center that turns 34 in September carrying an average annual value of $11 million through 2024-25.
Tavares is earning $7.95 million in actual salary per season on the final two years of his contract Nevertheless, I don’t believe any club will take on that contract unless the Leafs are retaining half of his annual cap hit.
Even then, it would still be too expensive for most clubs to carry. Those who could are rebuilding teams whose playoff hopes for next season will be slim at best.
The move was made in part to spark Kuznetsov, who hasn’t shown any consistency or momentum this season. Silber doesn’t see the 31-year-old center getting moved by the March 8 trade deadline because of his $7.8 million AAV and declining trade value. However, she speculated he could become a good draft trade asset.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov is signed through 2024-25. His performance has significantly eroded this season with just 14 points in 40 games. For that matter, so has that of the 38-year-old Ovechkin with just eight goals and 28 points in 41 contests. However, the Capitals captain is in no danger of becoming a trade candidate.
The combination of Kuznetsov’s contract and performance makes it unlikely that he’ll be moved by deadline day. I also think it will hurt his value in the offseason trade market unless the Capitals retain half of his AAV for the final season of his contract.
Canadiens management reportedly has an agreement with the 29-year-old center that they would try to trade him to a contender if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the March trade deadline.