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Alex Newhook: a bigger contract than Kirby Dach is not out of the question

It’s now been just over a week since the Canadiens acquired young forward Alex Newhook from the Avalanche. In return, Kent Hughes sent the 31st and 37th picks of the last draft, used to select Mikhail Gulyayev and Ethan Gauthier (the latter was later traded to the Lightning).

Gianni Fairbrother also headed to Colorado, but he no longer seemed to be in the Tricolore’s plans anyway.

And while he (strangely) hasn’t yet spoken to the media since the deal, Newhook is getting a bit of attention for his contractual situation. The young forward is currently an unrestricted independent player and must sign a pact for next year.

In today’s column, where he also discusses what’s in store for Carey Price with the CH and the possibility of Cole Caufield being named assistant to captain Nick Suzuki, Eric Engels talks a little about Newhook, whom he sees signing a contract that will pay him between $3 and $4 million a year.

If we’re looking at around $3 million a year (which is the most logical scenario in my opinion), he’ll be a great catch. However, if he earns $4 million a year, he’ll overtake Kirby Dach on the Montreal salary scale.

In fact, the Newhook of 2023 is probably worth slightly more than the Dach of 2022. Last year, the big center arrived in Montreal after years of injury and low offensive production.

Now, in Newhook’s case, we’re not talking about a guy who fills the net, but his offensive production is a tad superior to Dach’s before he came to Montreal (he already has two 30-point seasons under his belt, which Dach didn’t have before the 2022-23 season). If he were to negotiate a new pact this summer, he would earn an annual salary in excess of $3.3625 million, which is what he’s making on his current four-year contract.

The question for the CH now is whether they want to pay Newhook more or less. Newhook is higher than Dach was a year ago (when he negotiated his contract), but he is currently behind Dach in the CH’s hierarchy for 2023-24.

The question is whether we’ll agree to give him more, given that he’s higher than Dach was a year ago, or whether we’ll refuse to give him more so as not to undo the salary scale.

The good news, however, is that Kent Hughes seemed fairly confident that the matter would be easily resolved on the salary front, with the problem likely to be one of duration. I wonder if he expects to give him more or less than Dach.

In short, this will be an interesting file to follow over the coming weeks. I expect the file to drag on a bit (a bit like Dach’s dragged on last summer), but clearly, it will be settled before the start of training camp.

And once that’s done, we’ll start looking at what awaits him on the ice next season.

In bursts

– It’s understandable.

– Damian Lillard could very well have landed with the Warriors. My text on the subject.

– Can’t wait to see this.

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