The Habs ventured into the trade market on Sunday, announcing the acquisition of winger Denis Gurianov from Dallas in exchange for winger Evgenii Dadonov.
As part of the move, the Canadiens are retaining 50% of Dadonov’s salary, keeping $2.5 million on the books. With Gurianov making $2.9 million this season, Montreal has actually added to their salary level for this season. This is their first retention deal; as a refresher, teams are allowed only three.
Gurianov, a 6’3 winger, is in the midst of a tough season, scoring just two goals along with seven assists in 43 games for the Stars. However, he’s three years removed from a 20-goal campaign and had 31 points just last season so it’s fair to say he’s a reclamation project.
The 25-year-old has one more year of RFA eligibility remaining although he’s owed a qualifying offer of $2.9 million and has arbitration eligibility. He wasn’t going to get that based on how he performed with Dallas so the Habs will see if a change of scenery can get him going again. If so, they can either qualify him or try to re-sign him at a lesser rate. Otherwise, they’ll non-tender him and he’ll be off the books next summer.
It’s an interesting move in the sense that they opted not to try for a draft pick for Dadonov. While his market on that sense wouldn’t have been great, that would have ensured a longer-term return than what could work out to only be a six-week rental for Gurianov.
Dadonov didn’t thrive with Montreal after coming over from Vegas in the Shea Weber trade last summer. A year after putting up 20 goals for the Golden Knights, he had just four in 50 games with the Canadiens. The move reunites him with Peter DeBoer who coached him last year with Vegas and they’re hoping that a familiar coach might get him going again. The 33-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.