The Montreal Canadiens have been the center of every rumour that has probably been thought of this offseason. With the team in a state of change, it’s not surprising that any player with a down season or large contract would be rumoured to be moved out. Even before the season ended, almost every player on the Canadiens had been rumoured to be in trade talks. Some have been closer to being accurate than others, but most have been outrageous. Here is a look at three rumours that could come true.
1. Canadiens Trade Anderson
Josh Anderson has been rumoured to be in trade talks since the deadline. Canadiens general manager (GM) Kent Hughes said many teams have called to inquire about Anderson. The enormous power forward is a sought-after commodity with his size, speed, and goalscoring ability. It is not surprising that teams would want to see if they can acquire him to help improve their situation. The power forward in today’s NHL is rare, especially one that can do it like Anderson. Many fans and media think trading Anderson would be a good thing considering how streaky he can be and can go games without scoring, and he also isn’t a great passer. He makes up for all that with his speed and hitting; he can create open ice for better-skilled players.
Anderson might be highly sought after, but Hughes has repeatedly stated that he is in their plans for the future. The Canadiens do not have a type of player like Anderson in their system to replace him, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to move away from him now. Some rumours could be possible, like trading Anderson for the second-overall pick with the New Jersey Devils or, more recently, trading him to the Ottawa Senators for the seventh-overall pick. Of course, these trades would have the Habs adding other pieces and would also fall in line with Hughes stating he would only trade him if he gets a deal that knocked his socks off. With Hughes wanting an overpayment for Anderson, the odds of him being dealt anytime soon is unlikely. Still, you never know when it comes to Montreal.
2. Price Will Not Play for Canadiens Again
Since the Canadiens went to the Stanley Cup Final, goalie Carey Price has played five games. He continues to have issues with his knee and recently underwent another procedure where he got a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection in his injured knee. He is still preparing for a return this season; at the end of the season, he mentioned he wants to play next season and is not giving up on returning. Hughes has said they are hopeful he will be back and, in a perfect world, will know by free agency this offseason if he will be. Price is 34 and has four years left on his current $10.5 million contract.
If Price is too unhealthy to play, the Habs could see another season of relying on Jake Allen to stay healthy or be in the market for another starter in free agency. We all know they struggled with goaltending last season, and another season of the same could mean another top-five pick in the 2023 Draft. Some good news about Price has come out of Montreal; however, according to Shaun Starr, Price is allegedly recovering and should be ready to play at the start of the season, but only a maximum of 50 games. If anyone remembers the last offseason, we have heard this story, and it ended up with Price barely playing.
3. Canadiens Will Go After Big Names in Free Agency
Every season fans and media connect almost every free agent to the Canadiens. If you are on any social media page related to the team, you will see an abundance of rumours about this guy or that guy signing with them. In reality, very few of those rumours come true, but are there none the less. For Montreal to be overly involved in free agency this season, they will need to free up a lot of cap space. They freed up some by moving Shea Weber’s contract, but they still only have less than $2 million in cap space, which isn’t a lot to go big in the free agent market.
The Canadiens are in a weird place. They should rebuild, but it will be hard to do without a healthy Price. So, the way the team goes will depend on whether he plays. As mentioned earlier, the news is good when it comes to his knee, but there are still question marks when it comes to his health. If he is healthy, Montreal may have no choice but to try to improve the team by signing players, but then where do they get the money? They could move Jeff Petry, a strong possibility, but Hughes said in a recent press conference that Petry might not be moved. They could also try to move Price and his contract, which would be even more complicated, and they may have to retain some salary, and they would be in a better position to rebuild and won’t need to sign any big-name free agents. The likelihood of the Habs making a big splash in the free agent market is very low, but if the money is moved and the players are available, anything can happen.
Anything the Canadiens do this summer will depend on Price’s health and what Hughes wants in return for any of his players. Since he became GM of the Habs, Hughes has proven he has no issue being patient to get what he wants, and he wants what’s best for the team not just now but for years to come.
Trege Wilson has been a freelance content writer for the past four years and with the THW for the past year. He is the co-host of the popular Montreal Canadiens podcast Habs Unfiltered on IHeartRadio.com.Trege is very passionate about all things Canadiens and loves to provide his readers with great quality news, rumours and opinions on the Montreal Canadiens. Trege has also been featured on JblamSports and JDFSports Podcasts; for interviews and guest appearances, you can contact him at any of his social media accounts listed under his photo in such articles as this one.