The 2022 trade deadline is just a few weeks away and the Habs are expected to be busy. With that in mind, it’s time to bring back our trade odds series to forecast who could be on the move. We begin with the defencemen and goalies.
Please note that all odds are independent of each other.
Ben Chiarot: 90% – Let’s get the easiest one out of the way first. Kent Hughes has made it known he’s available and at this point, he’s just waiting to get his asking price. It’s possible (I’d go as far as saying it’s probable) that he doesn’t get that price although this isn’t the type of player to hold onto for principle to show he won’t move a player for less than what he wants. I’m tempted to go a little higher with these odds but there is a possibility others move and they think about extending him. Or, given the way the season has gone for Montreal, he could also be injured.
Brett Kulak – 65% – I don’t think Kulak has much of a future with Montreal but I don’t think he’s a guarantee to go. His contract isn’t massive but $1.85 million for a depth player is expensive. Yes, Montreal could retain but are they going to have a retention slot left? Chiarot will be one, Artturi Lehkonen may very well be another, and that only leaves one left. If they decide to retain on someone signed beyond this season, there’s the maximum of three right there. Without being able to hold back part of Kulak’s contract, his trade value may be minimal to the point where they decide to hold onto him, allowing Laval to keep someone like Sami Niku down longer; the playoff push for them may be more valuable than the late-round pick Kulak could fetch.
Chris Wideman – 45% – He’s the right price at the league minimum salary but how much of a market is there for an offensive defenceman who isn’t great at putting up points, isn’t playing on the power play, and struggles in his own end? The best thing going for him is that he’s a right-handed shot and there will be teams looking for depth on that side. That’s about the only reason someone would trade for him.
Jeff Petry – 30% – It’s hard to move players with term at the trade deadline. This time of year is usually expiring contracts with the longer-term shakeups coming in the offseason. Petry is helping his trade value with his recent play but it’s a small sample size. Another six weeks of that performance probably bolsters his value in the offseason and at this point, the types of deals that could be made now with Petry are cap dumps. Those will still be there in the summer so unless a team really steps up with a big offer, there isn’t much risk in holding onto him. I don’t see that big offer happening. Wait until the offseason when it’s easier to move longer-term deals.
Kale Clague – 10% – This assumes that no one else put in a waiver claim on him when Montreal added him. If they did, then this is 0% as he wouldn’t be able to be traded without going back on waivers first. It feels like Clague isn’t going to be part of Montreal’s long-term plans so if there’s an opportunity to find another NHL home for him and they’ve added a body or two on the back end for salary matching purposes in other trades, perhaps he goes. I wouldn’t bet on all of that happening though.
Less Than 5%
Joel Edmundson – He hasn’t played all season and has two years left on his contract. That’ll scare most teams off. Besides, Montreal should want to see how Edmundson fits in their new-look system before making a decision on when the optimal time to move him will be (if there is an optimal time at all). They’re not going to have that figured out by March 21st.
Alexander Romanov – Is he a part of Montreal’s long-term plans? I’m not as convinced of that now as I was before but the trade deadline isn’t the time to be making that determination. He’s someone that should be given a longer look down the stretch at a minimum instead of looking to move him.
David Savard – I think he had been playing better before his injury and that his struggles are a bit overblown. But with three years left on his deal and the tough start to his season, teams aren’t going to be lining up for his services. Personally, I want to see if his play improves in Montreal’s defensive structure which is now closer to what he has typically been accustomed to. If it does, his value will go up in time.
Corey Schueneman – While he certainly hasn’t looked out of place in limited action with the Habs so far, Schueneman is 26 with minimal NHL experience. Those generally aren’t the types of players that are moved at the trade deadline and frankly, Montreal needs to see if he’s someone that could be a sixth or seventh defender next year so he’s not someone they should want to move anyway.
Shea Weber – There will come a time when Montreal moves out Weber’s contract. It won’t be now, not while they still have recapture liability and that will run until sometime during the 2022-23 season when the cumulative cap hit charged to Montreal since the trade exceeds salary paid by the team. The 2023 offseason is the time to watch for a trade when his salary dips to $1 million per year, not now.
Jake Allen – 30% – Getting injured quickly took Allen from being second to only Chiarot on the ‘likelihood of being dealt’ list to odds that are less than a coin flip. His numbers aren’t great this year but his track record is a lot better and his contract is below market value as far as quality backup goalies go. That counts for a lot. But can Allen get back in time and show that he’s fully healthy and playing well? Time is ticking pretty fast on that front and it doesn’t look like he’s on the road trip which doesn’t help. And even if he can, Carey Price’s situation may make them inclined to hold onto Allen unless they get a significant return.
Andrew Hammond – 15% – A lot depends on what happens with Allen but if he does come back, Hammond is the odd man out unless they want to carry three goalies down the stretch. There are other teams looking for a Hammond-like goalie to take some heat off their younger goalies and there may be teams interested in him as a third-string option with expanded rosters. I’m not saying they’d get much for him – the return would be similar to what the Canadiens gave up to get him in Brandon Baddock – but if the Habs are going with Allen/Montembeault and there’s an opportunity to keep him in the NHL elsewhere, I wouldn’t be shocked if they move him as a courtesy. (This assumes that the injury he sustained against Calgary is a minor one. If not, then this is obviously too high.)
Samuel Montembeault – 10% – This has the same caveat as Clague as if there were other teams that claimed him back in the preseason, he’d have to be offered to them first. (I’m going to assume there weren’t any though considering the timing of the claim.) Has Montembeault done enough to push for the backup job next year? I’m not convinced of that but he has done enough to stick around as depth. That means he probably has more value to Montreal than anyone else which makes a trade unlikely.
Less Than 5%
Carey Price – I know there are some that really want it to happen but Price is not getting traded anytime soon. No team is trading for a goalie with a known hip issue, a nagging knee injury that has kept him out the entire season, and four years left on his contract which has him as the highest-paid goalie in NHL history. Price needs to show he’s healthy before even having any semblance of trade value. That’s not happening by March 21st.