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Montreal Canadiens 2024 NHL Trade Deadline Targets

Jake Guentzel trade

Despite the Montreal Canadiens looking to sell some players at the trade deadline, General Manager Kent Hughes won’t necessarily have a complete seller mentality. This isn’t to say that he will be acquiring rentals for this season as the season has already been lost for the Habs. However, Hughes may opt to make a Kirby Dach or Alex Newhook type of deal and acquire a young forward who can be a part of the team’s future. Let’s take a look at some of the trade deadline targets for the Canadiens.

Montreal Canadiens Set Their Sights on These Deadline Targets

Trevor Zegras

It’s no surprise that Trevor Zegras winds up on this list. The rumours have been swirling for months about his departure from Anaheim. Zegras, 22, has recently been linked to the Canadiens and he would add a tonne of value and skill to the team’s top six. He has that connection to Cole Caufield as well as Dach and Newhook as they were all a part of the 2019 draft class.

Trevor Zegras is capable of playing anywhere in the team’s top six, whether that is on the wing or down the middle. His defensive game leaves much to be desired, however. With question marks surrounding his compete and attitude, it’s unclear whether Hughes would want a player like Zegras on the team. Especially when you take into account the high asking price. Conversely, if the Canadiens are calling on Zegras, Hughes has Caufield to consult when judging his character. Of the three players on this list, a Trevor Zegras deal is the most likely to come true for the Canadiens.

Casey Mittelstadt: The Underdog of the Montreal Canadiens Trade Deadline Targets

Casey Mittelstadt is a player who has finally begun to make his mark at the NHL level and that’s what makes him a man of interest this trade deadline for the Montreal Canadiens. Once one of the most promising prospects in hockey, Mittelstadt carried the bust label for several years. Mittelstadt broke out last year however with 59 points. The 25-year-old also fits the age of the team’s core and can add some needed skill to the top six.

Mittelstadt becomes an RFA at season’s end at will likely command anywhere from $5-6 million on his next deal. The Sabres likely won’t make the playoffs again this year after another disappointing year. Mittelstadt however is having a solid year with 44 points through 58 games. Due to his expected pay raise, the team may opt to move him before the summer. Especially since they have a deep group of young players coming up. Mittelstadt will likely end up being a cap casualty for the Sabres. The only con to adding Mittelsatdt for the Habs is that he is more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer.

Jake Guentzel

While acquiring Guentzel is a long shot for the Habs, they can offer a better package than many contenders. Guentzel becomes a UFA at the season’s end. Despite this, acquiring him and signing him to an extension immediately may be worth the price. While he doesn’t quite fit the age of many of the core players, at 29, Guentzel still has some good years of hockey left. A sniper of Guentzel’s calibre is exactly what the team’s top-six is missing.

With the Canadiens aiming to exit the rebuild as soon as next year, it may be time to begin acquiring some players to help the team be more competitive rather than just compiling more picks and prospects. Signing Guentzel long-term may be a challenge though. Guentzel will likely be commanding at least $8-9 million per year on his next deal as it will be the biggest of his career. With Nick Suzuki sitting at just under 8 million, giving Guentzel a monster deal above that may not bode well.

The Montreal Canadiens will primarily be sellers at the trade deadline. However, don’t be surprised to see them make a big splash if it means helping their future.

Main photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports


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