After a lengthy search, the Habs have found their next general manager as Kent Hughes was named the 18th GM in franchise history on Tuesday morning.
Hughes has no front office experience in the NHL but has plenty of experience around the league having been an agent for more than 25 years. Among the $290 million in current contracts that he negotiated were one for Patrice Bergeron, Kris Letang, Drake Batherson, Darnell Nurse, and former Habs Marco Scandella and Nathan Beaulieu. Those were with his time at Quartexx Management, a company where he was a partner at until this hiring.
Hughes reportedly received a five-year contract and is thought to have a good working relationship with Jeff Gorton, Montreal’s Executive VP of Hockey Operations which likely played a role in him getting this position. The fact that he has extensive negotiating experience with many general managers around the league will certainly give him a leg up in terms of hitting the ground running.
Hughes’ son, Jack, is projected to be a first-round pick this summer while he plays at Northeastern University which is where Jayden Struble and Jordan Harris play. Harris needs to be signed by August 15th or the Habs will lose his rights so that could be something to keep an eye on. Montreal is the only team that can offer him the chance to start his contract this season (barring a rights trade) so that’s one of the files that Hughes will have to get familiar with fairly quickly.
Before that, however, Hughes and Gorton will need to map out their plan for the next few seasons and work on beginning to execute that with the trade deadline a little less than two months away now. They will also need to make some other front office hires to replace Scott Mellanby who resigned as assistant GM before Marc Bergevin was let go and Trevor Timmins who headed up the amateur scouting department.
Hughes, Gorton, and Geoff Molson are scheduled to meet the media on Wednesday.