Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens

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As the calendar turns to March, the trade deadline is inching closer. Where does each team stand and what moves should they be looking to make?  We continue our look around the league with the Montreal Canadiens.

Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
© David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot

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The Montreal Canadiens enjoyed a dream run to cap off what had been an inconsistent 2020-2021 season, defeating three strong playoff teams before eventually falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final. That dream run stands in great contrast to how the team began their 2021-2022 season. The Canadiens collapsed, falling to the bottom of the NHL standings. These results led to an organizational overhaul. Out was longtime GM Marc Bergevin, in was former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton in a role overseeing hockey operations along with former agent Kent Hughes as GM. Hughes and Gorton dismissed incumbent head coach Dominique Ducharme, replacing him with Hall-of-Fame player Martin St. Louis, who now has the Canadiens surging with five straight wins. Despite the team’s turnaround under St. Louis, the Canadiens still figure to be sellers at the deadline, as they indicated with the trade of Tyler Toffoli to Calgary.

Record

13-33-7, 8th in the Atlantic

Deadline Status

Global Tech News Daily

Seller

Deadline Cap Space

$9.41M today, $9.41M in full-season space, 0/3 retention slots used, 48/50 contracts used per CapFriendly. 

Upcoming Draft Picks

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2022: MTL/CAR 1st,* CGY 1st,^ MTL 2nd, MTL 3rd, ANA 3rd, CAR 3rd, MTL 4th, TBL 4th, MTL 5th, MTL 6th, MTL 7th, STL 7th

2023: MTL 1st, MTL 2nd, MTL 3rd, MTL 4th, MTL 5th, CGY 5th, MTL 6th, MTL 7th

*As per the terms of the offseason Christian Dvorak trade, Montreal will give Arizona the better of Montreal/Carolina’s first-round picks, unless either or both are inside the top-10, in which case Montreal will recieve the better of the two picks. 

^If Calgary’s pick is inside the top-10, the Flames have the option to trade Montreal their 2023 first instead, and if they do so Montreal will also recieve Calgary’s 2024 4fourth.

Trade Chips

Despite languishing at the bottom of the standings, the Montreal Canadiens still have a solid amount of desirable trade chips on their roster. The Canadiens player getting perhaps the most attention in trade speculation is defender Ben Chiarot. Chiarot, 30, is a pending UFA on a $3.5M cap hit that is relatively easy for many contenders to absorb. Chiarot is a bit of a divisive player, with many disagreeing on his true value, but what is clear is that he plays the kind of playoff-oriented game that NHL decision-makers covet. Chiarot’s best asset is his physicality, his rugged style that wears down opposing players, especially in front of the net. He is not an offensive player and has 12 points in 48 games show that, but he is still a good enough skater to handle himself in transition. More analytically-inclined observers might scoff at the idea of Chiarot returning the Canadiens any assets of significance, and that would not be an unreasonable stance to take given Chiarot’s place as a high-minute defenseman on one of the league’s worst teams. But even with that in mind, it is undeniable is that Chiarot is exactly the kind of player coaches and executives want to have in their uniform when playoff hockey begins.

Beyond Chiarot, the Canadiens have another player who many coaches and GM’s will seek: Artturi Lehkonen. Like Chiarot, Lehkonen also saw his profile raised league-wide during the team’s playoff run. Lehkonen helped linemates Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher take on the team’s toughest matchups, and their success in shutting down scorers like Mark Stone, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews (among others) was crucial to the Canadiens being able to go as far as they did. Lehkonen is a relentless forechecker who can fit on a contending team’s penalty kill as well as any of their four lines. He also brings an underrated offensive element to his game, with nine goals and 22 points in 50 games so far this season without much powerplay usage. Lehkonen offers an extra year of team control as an RFA after this season when his $2.3M cap hit expires. His versatility, relentless two-way game, and extra year of team control should make him a hot commodity on the trade market, especially given the trade interest a comparable player like Barclay Goodrow, for example, received a few years ago.

While Chiarot and Lehkonen figure to be largely in-demand assets on the trade market, the same cannot be said for defenseman Brett Kulak. Kulak, 28, is a bottom-pairing defenseman on an expiring $1.85M deal. After struggling to establish himself as an NHL player as part of the Flames’ organization, Kulak arrived in Montreal and became a relatively regular NHL fixture. He is now a veteran of over 300 NHL games and can offer a team some stability and skating on their bottom pairing. A team shouldn’t expect a player who can handle intense special teams work or shelter an inexperienced defenseman, but that being said a team could do a lot worse than Kulak as a depth blueliner. He shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive to acquire, either.

Other Potential Trade Chips: F Cedric Paquette ($950k through 2021-2022), F Mathieu Perreault ($950k through 2021-2022), F Joel Armia ($3.4MM through 2024-2025)

Team Needs:

1) Skilled Prospects

New GM Kent Hughes made it clear when he was first introduced to Montreal media that he did not envision the team undergoing the sort of long-term, scorched-Earth rebuild other franchises have undertaken. With those marching orders in mind, it is likely that Hughes’ plan to get the Canadiens back on track will center around already-drafted prospects and young players rather than draft picks to be used on players further away from the NHL.

2) Cap Flexibility

Despite the Canadiens’ struggles this season, the team is deep into LTIR spending and has some significant contracts on the books. It’s not as if the roster has been stripped bare and has no veterans commanding significant salaries. In fact, the roster has quite a few of them. Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that the Canadiens’ long-term plan could include adding a “significant” free agent, but for that to be the case the team would likely need to improve its cap flexibility from its current point.

3) Draft Picks

While Hughes has made it clear that he would ideally rebuild the Canadiens on an accelerated timeline, the fact remains that draft picks are crucial to building any successful NHL franchise. The Canadiens have a few extra picks moving forward thanks to trades, but still could use some more selections in the coming drafts to help re-stock their prospect cupboards.

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Related slideshow: Who has scored the most goals in a season for every NHL franchise? (Provided by Yardbarker)

Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens
Trade deadline primer: Montreal Canadiens

Who has scored the most goals in a season for every NHL franchise?

The goal for NHL teams is to, well, score goals. If you are an NHL forward, one of your key jobs is to light the lamp for your squad. Some players have proven particularly good for it. This includes truly elite goal scorers, and also guys who had unexpected-prolific seasons. Here are the players who have scored the most goals in a single season for every NHL franchise, from the Original Six to the one in Vegas.

Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne

This is the first, but not the last, time we will see Selanne on this list. Let’s just say the Finnish Flash hit the ground running in his NHL career. Selanne scored 52 goals in the 1997-98 season, and when he scored 47 the next year he became the first player to win the Maurice Richard Trophy for having the most goals on the season. The Hall of Famer is arguably the Ducks’ all-time greatest player.

Arizona Coyotes: Teemu Selanne

Hey, that name seems familiar. Remember, we are talking franchise records, and the original Winnipeg Jets became the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes. While other leagues have given franchise’s back their history when they return (a la the Cleveland Browns and Charlotte Hornets), that isn’t the case for the new Jets. Anyway, Selanne scored 76 goals in his rookie season (1992-93). Yes, he won the Calder Trophy.

Boston Bruins: Phil Esposito

Once upon a time, scoring 50 goals in a season was a huge coup, Esposito was a big part in raising the bar when it came to scoring goals. Espo scored over 60 goals four times for the Bruins, but his top campaign came in the 1970-71 season when he scored 76 goals. Somehow, he finished second in the Hart voting, but it was to teammate Bobby Orr.

Buffalo Sabres: Alexander Mogilny

When we told you that Selanne scored 76 goals in the 1992-93 season, you likely assumed that he led the league in goals. In actuality, he merely tied for that distinction. Yes, somehow in one season both the Finnish Flash and Mogilny each scored exactly 76 goals. That was an incredible number for the young forward, but he never quite lived up to that again. In a 16-year career, Mogilny finished with 473 goals.

Calgary Flames: Lanny McDonald

When you think of Lanny McDonald, you probably think of him and his incredible mustache lifting the Cup for the Flames in 1989. By then, he was 35 and more a veteran presence than anything else. Back in his prime, though, McDonald was quite the goal scorer. In the 1982-83 campaign, he racked up 66 goals, which is the Flames’ record.

Carolina Hurricanes: Blaine Stoughton

This is the first name on this list that may leave you scratching your head. That is unless you were a Hartford Whalers fan in the 1980s. Stoughton came over from the WHA in the 1979-80 season and immediately made a splash, scoring 56 goals. He would have one more 50-goal season in the NHL but also be retired at 30 after the 1983-84 campaign.

Chicago Blackhawks: Bobby Hull

The Hulls are the top father-and-son goal-scoring duo in NHL history, and Bobby has the honor of holding the record for lighting the lamp for Chicago. The elder Hall led the league in goals four times in a row, culminating with 58 goals in the 1968-69 seasons. When he was older, Hull joined the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets and scored 77 goals, but those numbers don’t count here, obviously.

Colorado Avalanche: Michel Goulet

You may think of players like Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Nathan MacKinnon, but don’t forget about the Wild West days of the NHL in the 1980s, when goals were scored left and right. That’s not to knock Goulet, a Hall of Famer who played for the Quebec Nordiques. He racked up 456 goals in 11 seasons with Quebec, including a 57-goal campaign in 1982-83.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Rick Nash and Cam Atkinson

We want to give Nash the greater nod here, given that he scored 41 goals in the 2003-04 season, during the heyday of the trap and offensive suppression. Back then, 41 goals led the league. When Atkinson scored 41 in the 2018-19 season, he didn’t even finish in the top five. Still an impressive year, of course.

Dallas Stars: Dino Ciccarelli and Brian Bellows

Ciccarelli has been talked about as an underrated goal scorer for so long he’s probably properly rated now. In only his second NHL season (1981-82) he scored 55 goals for the Minnesota North Stars out of the 608 he ended up with. Bellows is a bit more of a surprise, even if he was the second-overall pick in 1982. He only ever made three All-Star Games, but he did score 55 in the 1989-90 season.

Detroit Red Wings: Steve Yzerman

“Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe has the most career goals for the Red Wings, naturally, but the Captain Stevie Y is the one who had the best campaign in franchise history. In the 1988-89 seasons, Yzerman racked up a whopping 65 goals and 155 points, though scoring was high enough neither led the league. He didn’t win the Hart, but he did win the Pearson as voted on by the players.

Edmonton Oilers: Wayne Gretzky

Gretzky has the two highest-scoring seasons in NHL history, and they both came with the Oilers. When you’ve scored 87 goals in a season and it isn’t your best year, that’s truly astounding. Also a reminder of how easy it used to be to score goals in the NHL. Despite that fact, you have to be a once-in-a-lifetime talent to score 92 goals in one season, which “The Great One” did in the 1981-82 campaign.

Florida Panthers: Pavel Bure

Before injuries hindered his career, Bure was a truly incredible player. The “Russian Rocket” had some great years in Vancouver, but then he moved on to Florida and carried that franchise. In his first full season where he scored 58 goals, and the next season (2000-01) he bested that by one to set the new Panthers franchise record. Both years he led the league in goals.

Los Angeles Kings: Bernie Nicholls

No, it isn’t Gretzky. It isn’t even Luc Robitaille or Marcel Dionne. Instead of one of those Hall of Famers, it’s Nicholls who has the franchise record. Gretzky joined the Kings for the 1988-89 season, and Bernie was the big benefactor. Playing alongside the best playmaker of all-time, Nicholls scored 70 goals and added 80 assists. Yes, he had 150 points. Gretzky, of course, had 168.

Minnesota Wild: Marian Gaborik and Eric Staal

In 2007-08, Gaborik scored 42 goals for the Wild in his final full season with the team. After he moved to the Rangers he would score 42 goals in his first season there. Early in his career, Staal scored 44 goals for the Hurricanes, but by the time he had joined the Wild, he was a 33-year-old thought of as a depth player. Then he scored 42 goals out of nowhere. It was an incredible comeback.

Montreal Canadiens: Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur

We’ve got back-to-back campaigns here! Shutt lit the lamp 60 times in the 1976-77 season, and the very next year Lafleur repeated that trick. Imagine having two guys who can score 60 goals on the team at the same time. Is it surprising the Habs won four-straight Stanley Cups to end the ‘70s?

Nashville Predators: Viktor Arvidsson

Sure, the Predators haven’t been around for that long, as an expansion team from the end of the ‘90s, but their franchise goal-scoring record is still a little lackluster. Arvidsson is a solid player, but the fact his 34 goals in the 2018-19 season is the best year for any Predators goal scorer is a bit of a surprise. In time, we expect this record to fall. We can’t say the same about the Oilers’ record.

New Jersey Devils: Brian Gionta

What got into Gionta in the 2005-06 season? He scored 48 goals that year, the first season after the NHL lost a campaign to the lockout. It was the only time he scored more than 30 goals in a season, let alone 40. Hey, he’ll always have that season, and it’s still the Devils’ record.

New York Islanders: Mike Bossy

It’s not unreasonable to wonder if Bossy and not Gretzky would have the goal-scoring record if injuries hadn’t cut his career short. Case in point, he only played in 10 seasons and still finished with 573 goals. He scored at least 50 goals in nine of those campaigns. His best year? That would have been in the 1978-79 season when he scored 69 goals.

New York Rangers: Jaromir Jagr

Jagr racked up Hart Trophies and Art Ross Trophies, but interestingly he never led the NHL in goals scored. That’s despite the fact he scored 766 goals in his career, third-most in NHL history. After the lockout year (which robbed Jagr of who knows how many goals), he joined the Rangers and tallied 54 goals, a new franchise record.

Ottawa Senators: Dany Heatley

Heatley liked scoring 50 goals so much he did it twice. In his first two seasons as a Senator – 2005-06 and 2006-07, Heatley scored 50 goals on the dot. He also had over 100 points in both of these campaigns. While his peak would be over fairly fast, it’s a reminder of just how skilled Heatley was at his pinnacle.

Philadelphia Flyers: Reggie Leach

Leach, somewhat famously, is the only forward to ever win the Conn Smythe for a team that didn’t win the Stanley Cup. That’s what happens when you score 19 goals in 16 playoff games. This was a continuation of his regular-season campaign. In the 1975-76 season, Leach scored 61 goals, which was good enough to lead the NHL.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Mario Lemieux

A big reason why Jagr never led the NHL in goals is that he spent many years as a teammate of Lemieux, one of the best players to ever lace up skates. He has three Harts, two Conn Smythes, and six Art Rosses. Lemieux scored 69 goals or more a staggering four times in his career. The peak came in the 1988-89 season, though, when he managed 85 goals, a number only two players have topped.

San Jose Sharks: Jonathan Cheechoo

Joe Thornton is an elite playmaker, and Cheechoo certainly knows that. He had 37 career goals going into the 2005-06 season. Then, out of nowhere, he scored 56 goals to lead the league. Cheechoo retired with 170 career goals. This one season, a Sharks record, represents one-third of his career goals, an incredible stat.

St. Louis Blues: Brett Hull

Only Gretzky has lit the lamp more in a single season. Hull had three seasons in a row for the Blues with 70 goals or more. In the middle campaign of that bunch, 1990-91, Hull tallied 86 goals. That’s the kind of number we will never see again. Bobby was a great goal scorer, but Brett was even better.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos

Injuries and poor luck have kept Stamkos from truly reached his full potential, but early in his career, he showed why he was the first-overall pick and viewed as a franchise changer. Stamkos has led the league in goals twice, and when he scored 60 in the 2011-12 season it put him into truly rarified air, especially for a player from this millennium.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Rick Vaive

Vaive, far from a famous name, was one of those guys who racked up goals and penalty minutes in equal measure. In 1981-82, when he scored a franchise-record 54 goals, Vaive also had 157 penalty minutes. Imagine how many goals he could have managed had he stayed out of the box.

Vancouver Canucks: Pavel Bure

We’re back with the Russian Rocket, and like Heatley, before him, he’s tied with himself for a franchise record. However, for as good as Heatley was, he was never quite on Bure’s level. In back-to-back seasons (1992-93 and 1993-94) Bure notched 60 goals. There’s a reason he’s in the Hall of Fame even with a truncated career. Few have ever scored goals with as much gusto as Bure.

Vegas Golden Knights: William Karlsson

The Golden Knights have only been around for three seasons, so there has not been much time to set records. And yet, Vegas’ franchise record still beats a couple of teams. Karlsson stunned by scoring 43 goals in 2017-18, the Knights’ inaugural campaign. Wild Bill had 18 goals in three NHL seasons before that. While the Swede hasn’t lived up to that number since he did score 24 goals in his follow-up season.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin

Given how hard it is to score goals now relative to the ‘80s and early ‘90s, some argue that Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer of all time. He’s notched 706 career goals and has lead the league in that category a whopping nine times. Fifty goals has proven to be nothing to Ovi, but in his best year (2007-08) he notched 65 goals, which you could consider a record of the modern era.

Winnipeg Jets: Ilya Kovalchuk

Yes, we have to talk Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers were an ignominious NHL franchise prior to moving to Winnipeg and giving Manitoba the Jets back. If not for Kovalchuk, they would have had basically nothing. They did have Kovy, though, and he scored 52 goals in both the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons.

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