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Alex Newhook: that’s a lot of centers and not a lot of (big) choices in Montreal
While Pierre-Luc Dubois had been expected in Montreal for several months, it was another forward who came to town today in Alex Newhook. The former Avalanche forward was acquired in return for the 31st pick, the 37th pick and Gianni Fairbrother.

The Avalanche obviously believe that Ryan Johansen ($4M) will do a better job for them than Newhook (certainly less than $4M, he who is currently RFA) would have done this year. At the same time, they don’t have time to develop considering their Cup-winning window, so it makes sense.

So it’s another “Kirby Dach” gamble for the CH, as they get their hands on a former first-round pick who wasn’t able to take off with his original team.

My colleague Médérick Lefebvre raised the idea a few weeks ago.

In fact, I like the trade for the Habs. The gamble worked last year for Dach, and while the club already has a good quantity of prospects, I like the fact that they’re trying to get quality now.

That said, I’d add one caveat: I like the deal if Kent Hughes hasn’t finished his shopping. Let me explain.

Right now, Newhook’s arrival means there are a lot of centers in town. He joins a group already formed by Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach, Sean Monahan, Christian Dvorak, Jake Evans and maybe even Owen Beck if the latter forces the team’s hand at the next training camp.

Sure, some of these guys can play wing, but ideally, Dach and Newhook should be regular centers if the plan is to make them long-term centers.

A guy like Monahan can definitely help out on the wing this year (I really liked the idea of putting him on Kirby Dach’s wing last year to help him in the face-off circle), but one thing’s for sure: there’s congestion at center right now, and Newhook’s arrival only adds to the problem.

Trading Christian Dvorak to the first man in town is starting to sound like an idea the CH should consider.

The other problem right now is that the Tricolore is starting to run out of top picks. Sure, they still have the fifth pick tomorrow, but if nothing changes, they won’t be talking again until the third round.

Considering that there aren’t really any players currently in town who could bring back a pick in the first two rounds, I see two scenarios: the CH could bundle a few of their picks to move up in the draft, or they could trade their 5th pick for more.

I doubt the Coyotes would give the 6th and 12th picks in return for the 5th, which leads me to wonder if the Red Wings might not be the ideal dance partner for Kent Hughes.

The Wings currently have the 9th and 17th picks tomorrow. We know that Steve Yzerman is capable of making big trades, and since Pierre Dorion doesn’t expect to draft in the first round tomorrow, the chances of seeing one of these two picks traded for Alex DeBrincat (whose name is circulating widely in Michigan) seem slim.

I’m one of those who believes the CH should go for quality over quantity, but if the Red Wings want a guy like Matvei Michkov and the CH doesn’t, it would be an ideal deal for both clubs. It would give the Red Wings a great prospect, and it would give the Habs two great prospects.

In short, the deal that brought Newhook to town is a good start, but there’s still a long way to go. It’s up to the CH to find the right next steps.

In bursts

– He’s likely to test the market.

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