Earlier this week, the Montreal Canadiens and the Vegas Golden Knights struck a deal primarily for the purposes of setting a salary cap. Vegas, long desperate to cash in on their $5.0 million striker Evgeny Dadonov, finally traded him after trying on the Montreal deadline in exchange for hitting the cap on unofficially retired Shea Webber.
The addition of Dadonov means that Canadians now have a bit of an imbalance with their salary structure Friendly Cap Show them there are nearly $44 million in contracts next year for futures contracts. This mark is the fourth highest in the league for the upcoming season. Montreal is last in position for signed defenders, with contracts worth just $15.7 million next season, and is exceptionally weak in a left-back position, with only one proven left-side NHL-caliber defender to date in Joel Edmondson.
This could represent a natural business alignment with the Penguins, as Pittsburgh has a surplus of left-handed defenders for next season, many of whom are very well paid.
RDS.ca (in French) He has the following comment about what Habs General Manager Kent Hughes thinks of running an online translator into English:
Some media outlets have also reported that several teams are trying to persuade Hughes to trade forward Josh Anderson.
Even if he does not plan to trade with Anderson in the near future, Hughes does not hide that he is attentive to the offers of his peers.
For a Penguin team that could definitely use more size and power, Anderson 6’3 and 227 pounds would be at least an interesting target for the track.
Hughes appears to be indicating that he would be open to hearing about Anderson’s offers, although he is in no hurry to trade what was a peak-age forward (28) and has a decent contract ($5.5 million cap hit for the next five seasons).
Anderson doesn’t make much as a playmaker, but in this day and age he is one of the few ‘forward’ archetypes in the NHL who could pose a scoring threat in the 20-goal range, with the potential to knock on the door for 30 (his career single-season high is 27 goal and 47 points in 2018-19 when he was with Columbus).
One issue, however, is the kind of value Anderson holds with his size and physique beyond just his goals and Boxcar stats. This makes an attractive commercial target from across the league, RDS also noted. Hughes and Montreal would have no reason to consider a deal centered on Marcus Peterson or Mike Matheson, two mid-range defenders with relatively big and long contracts.
However, a player like Brian Dumoulin could be of interest. While he has only a year left on his deal and could pose a threat to the UFA after next season, Montreal has made a killing in the defensive trade deadline veteran in recent years (Ben Chiaroot this year, David Savard before him). Dumoulin would also fill in a very large gap in the Canadians’ depth chart and could be tagged as a partner with Jeff Petrie to truly give the Montreal a solid, strong-looking loft pair that could also be re-signed by the Habs, especially if they cancel a future salary commitment like Anderson’s long contract.
Whether or not the penguins will be interested in moving from the Dumoulin this summer remains a matter of debate. Perhaps mainly through injuries, he looked to be coming off the season to his high standards in strong play, but the off-season break could be a reset. Moving the team’s most capable defensive man might be a bridge too far, even with the realization that perhaps Dumoulin is the most attractive commercial target from the outside.
Montreal may be looking to get younger or simply keep Anderson completely in the fold, but on the surface, the suitability for rebalancing forward for defensive trade between pens and Habs aligns somewhat.