The Habs completed a swap of minor leaguers on Tuesday, acquiring centre Laurent Dauphin from Nashville in exchange for Michael McCarron. Dauphin has been assigned to Laval.
Although he is just 24, this is now the fourth time that Dauphin has been traded in his career. At one point, he looked like a potential bottom-six forward when he got into 24 games with Arizona in 2016-17 but has been predominantly a minor leaguer since then.
This season, Dauphin played in 33 games with AHL Milwaukee, recording seven goals and nine assists. For his NHL career, he has played in 35 games (all with Arizona over parts of two stints with the team), picking up three goals and one assist. He’ll likely get the chance to play a bigger role with the injury and recall-riddled Rocket and should slot into their top six quickly.
McCarron, as Montreal fans are well aware, was a first-round pick back in 2013 (going 14 spots ahead of Dauphin) but failed to live up to his draft billing. While he was passable at times on the fourth line, his offensive game never really developed to the point where it justified giving him any more NHL time. He has spent the last two seasons in the minors and it was clear there wasn’t much of a future for him with the team. In 29 games with Laval this season, he had five goals and nine assists along with a team-leading 50 penalty minutes, several of which came from a spearing incident that also resulted in a match penalty for making contact with an official. That likely was the final straw for the organization.
Both players are in the final year of their contracts. Dauphin makes $700,000 in the NHL and $100,000 in the AHL and will be eligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency next summer. McCarron, meanwhile, also makes $700,000 in the NHL but receives $125,000 in the minors. If he plays in 11 or more games with Nashville this season, they’ll retain his rights as a restricted free agent; if not, he’ll also be eligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency.