In this edition of the Montreal Canadiens News & Rumors rundown, the Habs are rolling into the draft and in need of making some changes to the roster and rumors are swirling about what veterans general manager Kent Hughes will be parting with. Also, will the Habs make a splash with a trade on the draft floor to move up, or will they add to their roster?
Who’s on First?
According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, there is still no word on who the Canadiens are targeting with their first overall pick.
We are less than a week away from the first round of the NHL Draft in Montreal, and I’m told the Canadiens brain trust is still undecided on the first overall pick.
– Pierre LeBrun (Pierre LeBrun, The Athletic, LeBrun: Canadiens undecided on No. 1; Leafs looking to trade Ilya Mikheyev’s rights, 1 Jul 2022)
Hughes has said multiple times that he would take all the time he had to decide on who to pick, and that’s what it seems he is doing at this point.
This could be a game of chicken with the New Jersey Devils to generate interest in a trade in which the Canadiens swap picks with the Devils, who would have to add an asset, as their need is scoring on the wings to complement their talented group of centers. So the Canadiens may already know exactly who they want but the secrecy surrounding the pick may be subterfuge in an attempt to gain more assets to help the rebuild. Isn’t the draft fun?
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Canadiens are in the trade market and prepared to move out some veterans and their contracts.
It seems the Habs are testing the market for players such as Jeff Petry and Christian Dvorak, and they are fielding calls for Josh Anderson as well. This makes sense since the Canadiens have a cap overage rolled over from last season of $1.1325 million. While the current cap space of $1.923 million can easily handle that, it leaves no room to re-sign restricted free agents (RFA) Alexander Romanov and Rem Pitlick.
Because of this, it is a guarantee that Hughes will move a large contract, nevertheless, he doesn’t want to leave the team vulnerable to being uncompetitive, so it could mean any return would involve an NHL-ready prospect.
Canadiens Interested in Colin White
Elliotte Freidman in his 32 Thoughts column brought up an interesting point about the Canadiens and Ottawa Senators stating that “Prior to the deadline, there were some conversations between the Senators and Canadiens on Colin White.”
White earned $4.75 million against the cap last season and has two more years left under that deal. The Senators’ 2015 first-round pick has battled injuries throughout his NHL career, but when healthy, the smooth-skating center can play many different roles, win board battles and produce respectable offensive numbers. He would be a good fit on a third line or in the role currently held by Christian Dvorak.
Is Jake Allen an Edmonton Oilers Trade Target?
According to Darren Dreger on TSN’s Insider Trading, Mike Smith is expected to go onto Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR). This would leave the Edmonton Oilers with no starting goaltender heading into the 2022-23 season. Because of this, there is a high probability that they will be on the market to find a replacement, and that could include returning to one of their 2022 Trade Deadline targets, Jake Allen.
According to Martin McGuire of 98.5 FM, the Oilers and Canadiens couldn’t reach a deal (translated from French):
“The Oilers absolutely tried to make a deal with the Canadiens. The Canadiens preferred to not trade Allen, clearly, the Oilers were unable or unwilling to meet the Canadiens’ asking price. There were other teams interested as well”
Allen is entering the final season of his contract where he will earn $2.875 million. The 31-year-old netminder is coming off of two solid seasons where he kept his save percentage above .905. In one season, he was a driving force in helping earn a playoff berth for the Canadiens in the shortened 2021 season that led to their Stanley Cup Final appearance and in the other, he kept a team decimated by injuries in games they had no business being competitive in.
It is hard to fathom how the Canadiens would do without Allen, especially if Carey Price is unable to play again this season. Even though not much is expected of the team next season, management and the coaching staff still want to be as competitive as possible to ensure it keeps a winning attitude and approach in all games. Last season fans were left bewildered by a first half that led to the team reaching a historic low point for the franchise. Once Martin St. Louis arrived, the team became competitive and entertaining. Heck, they were given a standing ovation after the final game of the season despite being in 32nd place. Even though they are rebuilding, there will need to be a suitable replacement for Allen if he ends up being traded.
With the NHL Draft being hosted in Montreal and less than a week away, there will be no shortage of speculation and rumors to update before the first name is called on July 7. So keep an eye on our coverage on the THW Podcast Network for all your hockey needs. This includes THW’s affiliated podcast Habs Unfiltered for the latest Canadiens news, notes, and rumors.
Blain is a regular contributor as a THW Writer. For over 7 years he has been a part time journalist and podcaster covering the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens and its affiliates. He has made appearances on various television and radio stations as well as podcasts to discuss the Canadiens, and the NHL. Blain has taken the lessons on integrity, ethics, values and honesty that he has learned as a 28 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and applied them to his work as a journalist to guide him in informing his readers and his goal of being a trusted source of information and entertainment.