The Crazy Conditions of Canadiens’ 1st Round Pick From Flames

With the news of Carey Price going on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) and possibly having surgery again, the Montreal Canadiens traded with the Calgary Flames to acquire Sean Monahan. Along with him, they also received a first-round pick in 2025, possibly, but it may be for another year, depending on the multiple conditions in place. The requirements are so confusing and convoluted that it took six hours to announce the trade officially. It involves various years and the Florida Panthers’ first-round pick previously acquired by Calgary, which already had its own conditions. Below is a breakdown of the conditions and which outcome is most probable. I will break each one into stages to make it easier to understand.

Flames Trade Monahan and a First-Round Pick to the Canadiens

For future considerations, the Canadiens acquired Monahan and a conditional 2025 first-round pick from the Flames. They needed to free up cap space to sign free agent (FA) Nazim Kadri, which they did soon after for $7 million annual average value (AAV) over seven seasons. The Canadiens will use the cap relief from Price’s LTIR to cover Monahan’s $6.3 million price tag and probably sign Kirby Dach.

Sean Monahan Calgary Flames
Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The pick has conditions involving both the Flames’ pick and the other first-round pick they acquired earlier in the offseason from the Panthers in the Matthew Tkachuk trade. That pick also has conditions which could affect the Canadiens if they end up with Florida’s pick instead of the Flames’ pick, so essentially there are conditions on the conditions of the conditional picks involved—confused yet?

Panther’s Trade With Flyers Has Implications

The Panthers traded for Claude Giroux just before the 2022 Trade Deadline, which involved their 2024 first-round pick. Florida then traded their 2025 first-round pick to Calgary in the offseason for Tkachuk; both picks have conditions of their own which will affect the conditions of whichever first-round pick the Canadiens are receiving from the Flames.

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving
Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal)

The conditions on the Panthers/Flyers are as follows: if the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2024 is in the top 10, then the pick the Flyers receive is transferred to 2025, and the Flames’ first-round pick in the Tkachuk trade is moved to the 2026 season. If the Panthers’ 2025 pick is first or second overall, then Calgary receives Florida’s 2026 first-round pick. Although these conditions probably won’t happen, they still need to be considered in case they do.

The Multiple Scenarios of the Conditional Pick

Here is a deep dive into the multiple conditions and outcomes of the conditional pick that the Canadiens are receiving from the Flames:

Scenario 1 – 2025 First-Round Pick

The Canadiens initially received the Flames’ 2025 first-round pick; however, if the 2024 first-round pick is between 20-32 of the 2024 Draft, then the Habs can decide within 48 hours of the 2024 Draft to use that pick instead. If the pick is not between 20-32, or they choose not to take the 2024 first-round pick, then the Canadiens receive either Calgary’s 2025 first-round pick or Florida’s first-round pick, depending on whether or not the Flames get the Panthers’ pick.

Scenario 2: Calgary Receives Florida’s 2025 First-Round Pick

Several things could happen if the Flames receive the Panthers’ 2025 first-round pick. If Calgary’s first-round pick is in the top 10 and Florida’s isn’t, then Montreal gets the Florida pick. If both picks are not in the top 10, then the Habs get the better 2025 first-round pick.

Scenario 3: Calgary Doesn’t Recieve Florida’s First-Round Pick

Montreal gets the Flames’ 2025 first-round pick if it is not in the top 10. If Florida’s first-round pick isn’t in the top 10 and is transferred to another team – to the Flyers or traded after a lottery win – and their 2025 pick is better than the Flames’ 2025 draft pick, Montreal will get an additional fourth-round pick plus Calgary’s first-round pick.

Scenario 4: Flames Have the First Pick in the 2025 Draft

If Calgary somehow manages to get the first overall pick in the 2025 Draft, Montreal will receive the Flames’ 2025 third-round pick and the Flames’ 2026 first-round pick. If the Flames are drafting anywhere from two to 10, then the Canadiens will still get the Flames’ 2025 first-round draft pick.

Most Likely Pick the Canadiens Will Receive

With all these conditions and four teams involved, it created a bucket load of conditions and scenarios affecting the pick. With a closer look, however, only a couple of these scenarios will happen. The Flames have put together a pretty good team that will probably be a contender for the next few seasons, so it is unlikely for them to pick within the top 10. The Panthers are also a pretty good team that will likely make the playoffs for the next few seasons and likely not be drafting in the top 10 for the next few years.

Related: Canadiens Set at Center with Monahan, but Playoffs Still Unlikely

Scenario four is improbable, with Florida and Calgary most likely playing in the playoffs. The odds of the Panthers not moving their 2024 pick to the Flyers is very low as well for the same reason. Florida should be too good to finish low enough in the standings to be in the top 10 at the draft. As a result, the Flames will most likely get the Panthers’ 2025 first-round pick which means the Canadiens will get the better of the two picks the Flames hold in 2025 if both are not in the top 10.

Kent Hughes, Montreal Canadiens GM
Kent Hughes, Montreal Canadiens general manager (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Ultimately, the Canadiens will most likely end up with scenario number one. Calgary will be drafting 20-32 in the 2024 Draft, and Montreal can decide to have the 2024 pick or the 2025 one, so it will be up to Hughes to determine what he wants. It will depend on whether or not the 2024 Draft will be more fruitful than the 2025 Draft. He’ll have 48 hours to decide whether he should tempt fate or take the extra 2024 first-round pick.

Well, there it is, the entire rundown of the multiple conditions on the Canadiens’ draft pick from the Flames. It is a lot to take in, but in the end, it all comes down to whether or not Calgary gets Florida’s pick. If they don’t get it, Montreal receives Calgary’s 2025 first-round pick unless it’s first-overall. If Calgary does get Florida’s pick, Montreal gets better of the two as long as they are not in the top 10.

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