Tradetalks Monahan, Guentzel, Stamkos : Gorton's announcement

Carl Vaillancourt
April 22, 2024  (8:17 PM)

Jonathan Marchessault
Photo credit: Playersbio

Following the end of another season without playoff participation, as has become the tradition over the past three years, both management and players assessed the previous campaign. Executives Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes made several noteworthy statements during the press conference, but one in particular stood out.

In addition to announcing that the team would exercise its option on Martin St-Louis' contract to extend his stay with the team for two more years, Gorton and Hughes revealed their intentions for the upcoming summer.
Without sugarcoating it, the GM pinpointed the team's evident shortcomings. He made it clear that his team needs to improve in three areas, and quickly, if they hope to secure a playoff spot: offensive talent, physical aspect, and special teams.
Kent Hughes, however, isn't empty-handed, as there are plenty of options on the table. The draft, the trading market, or the renowned free agency market starting July 1st—all are available options for Kent Hughes.
Hughes has shown a propensity for making trades to acquire young players who will benefit the team in the short, medium, and long term. Players like Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook are two examples of transactions that will soon pay dividends for the Canadiens. However, Hughes refuses to jeopardize the Canadiens' long-term prospects.
He has reiterated on several occasions that he refuses to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor by signing players at exorbitant prices and mortgaging a portion of the salary cap for the future. He doesn't want to trade oranges for tangerines, but his desire to improve the team is genuine.
Jeff Gorton opens the door to signing a free agent! Names like Sam Reinhart, Jake Guentzel, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Marchessault, and Sean Monahan will be available!
Regarding the free agency market, whether unrestricted or restricted, the Gorton-Hughes duo has not ruled out this avenue. Several talented young players and experienced veterans who could fit well into the Canadiens' environment are among the potential candidates. Jeff Gorton mentioned that if there is a free agent who can help his team, a comprehensive analysis will be conducted, and an offer is not excluded.
This marks a change in tone from last year's discourse. The hockey vice president categorically rejected the idea that management would pay big dollars for a player nearing the end of their career. All eyes will be on them come the opening of the free agency market on July 1st.
Could this big player be Jonathan Marchessault?
The Quebecois could bring an offensive dimension to a second line. With his Conn Smythe and offensive production, it will require opening the checkbook. Will Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton be interested? To be continued...
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