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Sending Armia/Hoffman to the AHL: a less-than-ideal option

Even though things are very quiet right now in the National Hockey League, that doesn’t mean that the various teams haven’t finished their off-season work.

In fact, many teams still have a number of issues to settle between now and the start of training camp in September.

For the Montreal Canadiens, apart from Jesse Ylönen’s contract and Samuel Montembeault’s potential contract extension, you’d think there’d be little else to deal with.

However, if Kent Hughes’ comments at the beginning of July, when he had just traded Joel Edmundson to the Washington Capitals at the opening of the free-agent market, are anything to go by, the CH GM still has work to do.

Indeed, at the time, Hughes said that if the opportunity to trade one of his forwards with a hard-to-transfer contract presented itself between now and the start of the season, he’d take it.

This means that Hughes is more than open to trading Joel Armia, Mike Hoffman and even Christian Dvorak.

This makes perfect sense, considering the Tricolore’s monster forward congestion heading into next season.

However, should Hughes be unable to exchange one of these contracts, due to a lack of offers to his liking, other possibilities will present themselves if he wants to free up more space under the salary cap, which is currently equivalent to $8 million.

One possibility would be to send Armia, Hoffman or even Dvorak to the AHL to save around a million per player.

However, this possibility, which seems good, simple and effective in the eyes of many fans and analysts, has more negative aspects than one might think.

It may seem like a good possibility at first glance, but it’s one that should be avoided if at all possible.

Let me explain, based on the excellent article by Marc Dumont of Montreal Hockey Now.

You should know that sending bad contracts/veterans to the AHL is an option that NHL teams try to avoid as much as possible, for several good reasons.

The first reason has to do with future free agents.

It will be difficult for a team to convince free agents to sign with them if that same team is in the process of burying one or more contracts (potentially formerly signed via the free-agent market) in the AHL.

It would be like shooting yourself in the foot, especially for the Montreal Canadiens, who are already known as a team to avoid for star players who become free agents.

Secondly, internally, sending a veteran to the AHL would represent a solid lack of respect that would almost certainly ruin the bond that exists between management and the player.

What’s more, it would also affect the other players on the team, which would ultimately lead to a poor atmosphere in the players’ room, something that can greatly hamper on-ice performance.

As a former player agent, Kent Hughes knows all about these potential negative aspects.

Thirdly, sending Armia, Hoffman and/or Dvorak to the AHL would nullify and block any potential rebound from his players, which could increase their value for a potential trade.

Indeed, by keeping them in the NHL, there’s always a chance that these players will put in a string of good performances and get back to the rhythm that earned them their contract in the first place.

So sending them to the AHL is a risk.

In short, all these negative aspects of such a possibility would only save $1,125,000 per player sent down, i.e. minimum salary (750,000) + buried threshold (375,000).

So it’s up to you to tell me if all the consequences and risks associated with this possibility are really worth saving $1,125,000 on the payroll.

In Brief

– Summary of the week with the Habs.

– The Penguins are still on the Karlsson file.

– A magnificent goal.

– Colombia qualify for the qualifiers with a win over Germany.

– Here’s the winning goal in the dying moments of the match.

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