HabsWorld.net -- 

The long-expected Erik Karlsson to Pittsburgh trade was completed on Sunday and as expected, a third team was involved.  That team wound up being Montreal who moved out Mike Hoffman and Rem Pitlick for a package headlined by former Hab Jeff Petry.

The full deal breaks down as follows:

To PIT: D Erik Karlsson ($1.5M retained salary per year), F Rem Pitlick, F Dillon Hamaliuk, SJ 2026 third-round pick
To SJ: PIT 2024 first-round pick (top-ten protected), F Mikael Granlund, D Jan Rutta, F Mike Hoffman
To MTL: PIT 2025 second-round pick, D Jeff Petry ($1.5625M retained salary), G Casey DeSmith, F Nathan Legare

Petry’s return to the Canadiens is certainly a surprise as it’s barely a year since he was traded to the Penguins in the first place.  However, the Habs weren’t on his 15-team no-trade list (possibly because he never would have thought they’d bring him back) whereas San Jose was.

The 35-year-old is, of course, no stranger to Montreal fans as he spent parts of eight years with the franchise.  Last season, he had some ups and downs with Pittsburgh but notched six goals and 25 assists in 61 games while averaging over 22 minutes per night.  He has two years left on his contract at a $4.6785M cap hit after retention.

It’s possible that Petry’s return is short-lived.  At a more reasonable price tag, it wouldn’t entirely be shocking to see GM Kent Hughes try to flip him once again.  If he does stay with the Canadiens, he’d certainly help the top four, giving them a second capable veteran option on the right side of the back end along with David Savard.

DeSmith’s inclusion here is likely more for salary purposes for Pittsburgh more than the Canadiens going out and targeting him.  The 31-year-old had been the backup for the Penguins for four of the last five seasons and is coming off a year that saw him post a 3.17 GAA and a .905 SV% in a career-high 38 appearances.  He has one year left on his contract with a $1.8M cap charge.

There is certainly now a logjam between the pipes with the Habs still having Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen in the fold while Cayden Primeau is waiver-eligible and a possible candidate to be claimed.  On the surface, it feels like a goalie is going to be on the move at some point.

As for Legare, the 22-year-old was a third-round pick by the Pens back in 2019 (74th overall).  He was a productive scorer in the QMJHL but that has yet to translate to the pros so far.  Last season, he had eight goals and 11 assists in 68 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL in his sophomore year.  Legare has one year left on his entry-level deal so he’ll have to take a step forward if he wants to push for a qualifying offer next summer.

Hoffman’s availability has been well-known for a while to the point where there were reports that Montreal was open to just giving him away.  The 33-year-old has six 20-plus-goal seasons under his belt but none have come since 2019-20.  On top of that, after being a major power play producer in the past, he managed just five tallies with the man advantage in two years with the Habs and had 14 goals and 20 helpers in 67 games last season.

He’s entering the final year of his contract with a $4.5M cap charge.  It’s the second time he has been moved to San Jose although he only lasted about two hours there the first time around before being flipped to Florida.

Pitlick is actually tied to the original Petry trade from last summer as he was re-signed with the cap space created from that swap.  Unfortunately for him and the Habs, his second year with the team wasn’t as good as the first.  He struggled to stay in the lineup and eventually cleared waivers.  The 26-year-old was quite productive in Laval with 22 points in 18 games but only managed 15 points in 46 games with the Habs, down from 26 in as many appearances from the year before.

He also has one year left on his deal with a $1.1M cap hit and will have a better chance to crack Pittsburgh’s roster than he would have with the Canadiens.

The swap helps to alleviate part of Montreal’s logjam up front although, for the time being at least, they now have one both on defence and in goal.  Hughes will have some work to do on that front in the coming weeks.

Petry’s Stats:

DeSmith’s Stats:

Legare’s Stats: