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Kent Hughes not ruling out further trades this summer

Today was the opening day of the NHL free-agent market. We were expecting a quieter day for the Habs at this level(who did, however, sign Philippe Maillet and Brady Keeper), and in the end, that’s what we got.

In the end, however, Kent Hughes made a big move whenhe traded Joel Edmundson to the Capitals in return for draft picks. He retained 50% of the salary of the defenseman, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Clearly, we knew Edmundson was a logical candidate to be traded. His contract expires at the end of the season, and with a surplus among defensemen (especially on the left side with Mike Matheson, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Arber Xhekaj in addition to Edmundson), the idea of the veteran leaving made sense.

Add to all this the fact that he often suffered back injuries: his leadership qualities (he was assistant to captain Nick Suzuki) no longer justified keeping him, especially if a third-round pick was available.

That said, even if Edmundson was the logical candidate to be traded, the fact remains that Hughes may not be done trading yet. At a press conference this afternoon, the CH GM admitted that he wasn’t ruling out the idea of making other trades, especially to get forwards out of his club.

Right now, there are way too many forwards in Montreal. Guys like Christian Dvorak (in my opinion, the most likely to leave), Mike Hoffman and Joel Armia just don’t fit anymore, and if clubs are interested in them, they’ll leave.

In the case of Hoffman and Armia, I think they’ll leave as soon as another team will give literally anything to get them. Even future considerations, like.

Because in a financial environment where the salary cap has been relatively frozen for years, most teams have no money to spend. Even at 50% of salary, guys like Hoffman and Armia aren’t particularly attractive to teams.

The CH’s best chance of trading forwards is to hope that clubs miss out on the autonomy market. If a club wants to add forwards to the market and can’t, we’ll turn to the trade market.

Getting back to Edmundson, Kent Hughes was clear: the defenseman didn’t ask to be traded. It was the CH that saw a surplus on defense, and since it had an offer to its liking (and in fact, the offer of the day was quite similar to what it had on the table at the last trade deadline), it traded the defenseman.

In short, we’ll be keeping an eye on the Habs on the trade market over the next few weeks. I still think it’s going to be difficult for the club to get rid of salaried players, but Kent Hughes isn’t against the idea of doing so if the opportunity presents itself.

To be continued.

In bursts

– To be continued.

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– Jason Zucker signs a big one-year contract with the Coyotes.

– Red Wings reach agreement with Daniel Sprong.

– Sam Steel to Dallas.

– Nick Bonino is leaving with the Rangers.

– Matt Irwin with the Canucks.

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