Trade Market: Four CH players are targeted and could leave the organization in an upcoming trade

Published August 27, 2023 at 12:42
To the surprise of many, Kent Hughes mentioned during his latest press conference that he would very much like to start the regular season without having to put Carey Price on the long-term injury list. However, the general manager of the CH has complicated matters by absorbing a part of Jeff Petry's contract ($2.34 million) and Joel Edmundson's ($1.75 million).

As a result, the Montreal Canadiens are currently exceeding the salary cap by $3.7 million. Beyond a potential trade involving goaltender Casey DeSmith, it would be surprising to see Kent Hughes make other personnel moves. However, even if the Canadiens trade the contract of the former Pittsburgh Penguins' goaltender ($1.8 million), the team would still be above the $83.5 million limit.

Unfortunately for the Canadiens' leadership, four contracts negotiated by his predecessor, Marc Bergevin, are currently hurting the organization. Could Kent Hughes try to trade one of his players soon to gain more flexibility under the salary cap?

Joel Armia

Many fans were very optimistic when Marc Bergevin acquired Joel Armia, the former 16th overall pick of the Buffalo Sabres. With an imposing frame and a blistering shot, many hoped to see the Finnish forward reach his full potential in the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge jersey.

However, while undeniably talented, the 30-year-old veteran shows catastrophic inconsistency. While he can be one of the best players on the ice in one game, he disappears for the next eight. Often injured, Armia has been unable to reach the 15-point mark in his last three seasons. It would be surprising to see a team wanting to acquire him unless Kent Hughes adds an incentive to the trade.

Christian Dvorak

Brought in after Jesperi Kotkaniemi's move to Carolina, the former Arizona Coyotes center has never lived up to expectations. Despite a decent first season where he scored 33 points in 56 games, the Canadiens' number 28 had a disappointing last season with a mere 28 points in 64 games. Statistics that clearly do not justify his annual salary of $4.5 million for the next two seasons.

Praised for his defensive game before being acquired, Dvorak has been downright terrible in his own zone, recording a cumulative differential of -42 in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. Tasked with containing the opposing team's top lines, there is no doubt that he failed to achieve this in the past two seasons.

Brendan Gallagher

Brendan Gallagher was previously a great deal for the Canadiens. Earning $3.5 million, the diminutive forward hit the 40-point mark six times and even reached 50 points twice. However, ever since Marc Bergevin offered him a lucrative contract extension of $6.5 million for six years, everything collapsed for Gally.

With numerous hand injuries, CH's number 11 has never been the same player. In fact, Brendan Gallagher only played 128 out of a possible 246 games over the past seasons, with his offensive output greatly diminished (61 points). While he is an undeniable leader in the locker room, his on-ice impact is far from what it was a few years ago.

Josh Anderson

Many were pleased with the deal given to Josh Anderson when he agreed to a seven-year contract with an annual salary of $5.5 million. However, the 6'3", 218-pound forward couldn't replicate his fantastic 47-point season, including 27 goals, from his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets. On the contrary, since his arrival in Montreal, Anderson never exceeded 32 points, amassing 57 goals and 31 assists (88 points) in 190 games.

Fortunately for General Manager Kent Hughes, many teams still seem interested in his services, given that he was part of many trade rumors last year. Even if number 17 is the perfect playoff prototype, the Canadiens would do well to trade him before his trade market value decreases significantly.

Credit: Habs et LNH
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