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2022-2023 If I was GM


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2 hours ago, jennifer_rocket said:

...Work on resigning Kirby Dach, Corey Schueneman, and Sam Montembeault.

...Continue to search for a trade partner for Jeff Petry.

...See what's out there for Jake Allen.

...Make calls around the league to gauge interest in Hoffman and Drouin.

That about sums it up for me.  👌

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- Trade Jake Allen this summer. His value will never be higher with the demand from playoff-likely teams for a starting goalie, especially one who doesn't burn a lot of cap.

- Try to trade Hoffman, even if no return. He serves little purpose here.

- Wait until closer to the deadline to look at moving the likes of Drouin, Dadonov, and Byron. Those players are all on expiring contracts and will have more value to teams who know they're in contention and who don't need to eat as much salary at that point. Instead of paying out 5M now, for example, they can pay a pro-rated portion for a third of the season, and we can retain 50% salary on all three.

- Avoid signing players over 27 to anything more than a 2-year deal. The goal is to maintain cap flexibility for when we are capable of making a playoff run. You want to pay a veteran 4M for two years, fine. But don't get roped into a 4 x 4M contract.

- Re-sign Montembeault. He's not a strong goalie, but give the guy credit for trying hard and for being a good teammate. He's the perfect player to put in net for a rebuilding season. He won't steal you too many games and he's not young enough to ruin his confidence if he gets shellacked.

- Players I would tender QO's to as RFAs: Dach, Primeau, Schueneman, Montembeault (as above), Pezzetta, Teasdale. Would let the rest walk.

- And lastly, for one of the more controversial decisions here, I would trade Josh Anderson. We have a logjam on the right side right now and at winger in general. Gallagher isn't moveable. Dadonov and Drouin are best kept to trade at the deadline as above. Maybe Armia is moveable but I think his value will go up as his contract nears an end. And I think we need to find roster spots for Ylonen in the top 9 and RHP on the 4th. Both deserve it. Anderson's value is high, lots of teams are interested, and we should be able to get an unprotected 1st rounder back in a strong 2023 draft, as well as at least one other strong asset. If that deal is out there, you take it. Anderson is 28 now, but he's signed for 5 years at 5.5M. You're not competitive for a Cup in the next two years. How much are we willing to gamble on a guy who plays a physical game and is a bit injury-prone in terms of how well he'll hold up from ages 30-33? He's easily our best RW at present, but in terms of the value on the return, I think he's a guy we can look to move to make us better when it matters.

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The thing I'm most interested to see is how we deal with the forward glut. After yesterday's trade & signings we still have something like the following with existing roster players:

Anderson - Suzuki - Caufield
Drouin - Dvorak - Gallagher
Dadonov - Dach - Byron
Hoffman-Evans-Armia
Pitlick - Pezz

Which looks okay on the surface, but we likely want room for 2-3 rookies. The problem is the players we'd like to move out may not be movable and also most of them are coming off poor seasons we'd like to give them the ability to show was a one-off. Similarly, 3 of the above players are UFAs who may actually have real deadline value once we've eaten 2/3 of the contract and given them a chance to showcase their skills, versus now when we'd likely need to pay to get them taken off our hands.

Perhaps management just assumes there will always be 2-3 injuries and that will open up room for the rookies. Perhaps they're okay if the rookies spend time in the minors to start the season and get called up for injuries or worse-case, at the deadline after moving out the UFAs. Perhaps they wait until training camp to see how the rookies perform and move out someone at that time if needed. Or perhaps they make another trade or two this summer, even though I'm not seeing a lot of obvious candidates (Anderson trade wouldn't shock me just because he has positive value, although I have a feeling they'd like to keep him).

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8 hours ago, Graeme-1 said:

The thing I'm most interested to see is how we deal with the forward glut. After yesterday's trade & signings we still have something like the following with existing roster players:

Anderson - Suzuki - Caufield
Drouin - Dvorak - Gallagher
Dadonov - Dach - Byron
Hoffman-Evans-Armia
Pitlick - Pezz

Which looks okay on the surface, but we likely want room for 2-3 rookies. The problem is the players we'd like to move out may not be movable and also most of them are coming off poor seasons we'd like to give them the ability to show was a one-off. Similarly, 3 of the above players are UFAs who may actually have real deadline value once we've eaten 2/3 of the contract and given them a chance to showcase their skills, versus now when we'd likely need to pay to get them taken off our hands.

Perhaps management just assumes there will always be 2-3 injuries and that will open up room for the rookies. Perhaps they're okay if the rookies spend time in the minors to start the season and get called up for injuries or worse-case, at the deadline after moving out the UFAs. Perhaps they wait until training camp to see how the rookies perform and move out someone at that time if needed. Or perhaps they make another trade or two this summer, even though I'm not seeing a lot of obvious candidates (Anderson trade wouldn't shock me just because he has positive value, although I have a feeling they'd like to keep him).

TBH, there will be injuries. I can see Ylonen, Slafkovsky, and RHP all getting time in Montreal even without having a spot locked in from day one. It'd be nice to move out Hoffman, or Drouin, or Armia, or Dvorak... but I'm doubtful. Maybe we can move one of them.

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19 hours ago, Graeme-1 said:

The thing I'm most interested to see is how we deal with the forward glut. After yesterday's trade & signings we still have something like the following with existing roster players:

Anderson - Suzuki - Caufield
Drouin - Dvorak - Gallagher
Dadonov - Dach - Byron
Hoffman-Evans-Armia
Pitlick - Pezz

Which looks okay on the surface, but we likely want room for 2-3 rookies. The problem is the players we'd like to move out may not be movable and also most of them are coming off poor seasons we'd like to give them the ability to show was a one-off. Similarly, 3 of the above players are UFAs who may actually have real deadline value once we've eaten 2/3 of the contract and given them a chance to showcase their skills, versus now when we'd likely need to pay to get them taken off our hands.

Perhaps management just assumes there will always be 2-3 injuries and that will open up room for the rookies. Perhaps they're okay if the rookies spend time in the minors to start the season and get called up for injuries or worse-case, at the deadline after moving out the UFAs. Perhaps they wait until training camp to see how the rookies perform and move out someone at that time if needed. Or perhaps they make another trade or two this summer, even though I'm not seeing a lot of obvious candidates (Anderson trade wouldn't shock me just because he has positive value, although I have a feeling they'd like to keep him).

Hughes said Byron may start the season on LTIR so that is one spot opened up and last I heard Drouin suffered a bit of a setback and was doubtful to start the season as well. So maybe we start Slaf and Ylonen. They also are going to want to give Dach the best possible chance at success given what they paid to get him here. So if I was making up a lineup it would look like this

Caufield-Suzuki-Dadonov

Slafkovsky-Dach-Anderson

Hoffman-Dvorak-Gallagher

Armia-Evans-Ylonen

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Just looking at the salary cap and where we stand, The Athletic did an assessment of what they thought Kirby Dach's next contract should come in at based on comparables and they estimated he would wind up with a bridge deal of 2 years at 2.65M AAV. With Dach, they would potentially have 15 forwards signed to NHL deals, along with 6 D and two goalies. Montembeault also remains unsigned. Dach's deal would leave them about 1.4M over the cap. However, if Paul Byron starts the year on IR, this would save them 3.4M, meaning they would have 2M in cap room to add another RHD (something Hughes said he was looking to do).

As I mentioned, I also think the Habs need to find roster space for Ylonen and RHP, who are 22 and 23 years old respectively and have nothing left to prove at the AHL level. The team could theoretically roster them by starting Slafkovsky in Laval and demoting Pezzetta (with the latter needing to be exposed to waivers however, whereas Ylonen and RHP are waiver exempt this year). Those two moves would have a null effect on our cap space.

Ultimately, though, unless the team knows for sure Price will hit LTIR, they have a marginal amount of cap room and would need to look at moving at least one forward to make things work (and to be able to add another D man of any caliber). As it stands, without more cap space, the team might have to look at playing with 3 rookies on the back end, something Hughes has said he wants to avoid.

The cap also plays into any decision to acquire PLD or other players. PLD's qualifying offer was 6M, so his AAV next year will be at least this, if not higher. So the Habs would need to shed at least 5M in salary going the other way to make anything work.

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