Saturday marked the beginning of free agency but Montreal’s first move of the day is on the trade front as they’ve moved Joel Edmundson to Washington in exchange for a pair of draft picks. They will receive Minnesota’s third-round pick in 2024 as well as Washington’s seventh-rounder that same year.
The 30-year-old has spent the last three seasons with the Canadiens after former GM Marc Bergevin picked up his negotiating rights from Carolina back in 2020, signing him soon after to a four-year deal with a $3.5 million price tag. Montreal will be retaining 50% of that amount ($1.75 million) as part of the swap.
Throughout his tenure with the Habs, Edmundson has been a dependable defender who has logged heavy minutes on the penalty kill while providing them with a consistent physical presence. However, he has also dealt with back trouble which certainly didn’t help his trade value going back to the trade deadline when he was available. Last season, Edmundson played in 61 games, picking up 13 points along with 149 blocks and 112 hits but only managed to recover from his latest back trouble just one game before the deadline, hurting his value.
From Montreal’s perspective, the move gives them an extra $1.75 million in cap flexibility along with clearing up a bit of a logjam on the left side of the back end which also includes Mike Matheson, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, and Arber Xhekaj. The Habs now have 11 picks in next year’s draft and have used up one of their three retained salary slots for the upcoming season.