The Montreal Canadiens have had a surprisingly good start to their season, with an 11-9-1 record through their first 21 games. Currently they are only two points out of a wild-card spot and three points out of placing third in their division, which is nowhere near where anyone thought they would be at any point in the season. Although Montreal has had moderate success, general manager (GM) Kent Hughes remains focused on the team’s long-term goals and is still trying to make trades and moves to improve its future. Here are the latest news and rumours coming out of the Canadiens’ camp.
Canadiens Seeing Huge Intrest in Monahan
Sean Monahan was a surprise acquisition by the Canadiens this summer, but one that came with a lot of perks. He was traded along with a 2025 first-round conditional pick to Montreal for future considerations, was coming off hip surgery, and looked like he would miss the first couple of months of the season. Not only did he come back at the start of the season, but he has also excelled, with the Canadiens scoring 14 points in his first 21 games and eight points in his last eight games. The Habs got a first-round pick and a reliable center to help the team’s youth and provide secondary scoring whom they could easily trade at the deadline and receive another first-round selection.
It’s no wonder teams have been contacting the Canadiens about the availability of Monahan. With the Habs still looking at the future as contenders and not in a hurry to get there now, it would make sense for the team to trade an expiring contract like his. Rumours suggest the Colorado Avalanche could be interested if they can fit his contract under the cap; he will have time to add on the points with the Canadiens because odds are he won’t be moved until closer to the deadline when he is at peak value.
Devils Showing Intrest in Anderson
The New Jersey Devils have been one of the better teams in the NHL this season. After finishing in the bottom five of the league last season, they completely turned it around after an 0-2 start and skyrocketed to the top of the standings with a 13-game winning streak. They have three players scoring over a point per game (PPG), Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, and Jack Hughes, all with 22 points or more, but then there is a drop off with Dougie Hamilton – a defenceman – the next highest scorer with 15 points. Even with all their success, they could use another scoring forward to help them make the playoffs and go on a Stanley Cup run.
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One player the Devils have appeared to show interest in is Canadiens’ Josh Anderson. He is a power forward that uses his speed and size to get pucks to the net and score goals; he is a player Montreal was looking for in their lineup when they acquired him. Now that the Habs have drafted Juraj Slafkovsky, who is a similar type of player with size and a scoring touch, Anderson has become more expendable. Montreal doesn’t have a lot of players they can move for a good return this season, but Anderson is one of them. If the Devils are interested, then Hughes and company should be listening. If a deal is to unfold, look for the Canadiens to ask for a first-round pick or high prospect.
Hughes Wants a 3rd First-Round Pick
Hughes has been busy this season trying to make deals and clear cap space to free up money to sign Cole Caufield and have room to make moves in the offseason. He also would like to acquire another first-round pick, and he already has two of the Canadiens’ own and the Florida Panthers’ selection from when they traded Ben Chiarot there. With the draft as deep as it is, Montreal would be in a perfect position if they could have three draft picks in the first round to solidify their future. It could even be possible to get a fourth first-round pick if they move Anderson and Monahan, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.
Right now, the Canadiens have the 16th, and 17th picks in the 2023 Draft, but if they make the moves they say are in process, then they will probably drop in the standings and pick in the top 10. They already lack secondary scoring, and if they move Monahan and Anderson, they will eliminate it. Adding a third pick gives them options to move up and get another top 10 or top 15 pick, or have the leverage to trade for a top player at the draft or in the offseason. Hughes says he’s looking for more talent to play at the level his star players are at today and help the team succeed for the long haul.
Whatever Hughes does, it won’t occur until closer to the Christmas break, and I suspect it will be more of a minor move. When it comes to Monahan, I wouldn’t imagine he gets moved until the trade deadline; Joel Edmundson is another player that has garnered interest from around the league but, just like Monahan, would be worth more later in the season.
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 CTV news and ESPN Radio; 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.