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After Petry and Edmundson, the Canadiens can only retain one salary between now and July 2024
Between 2019 and 2024, the NHL salary cap will have increased by only two million dollars.

Clubs will have had to fight against a suffocating payroll for several years, taking advantage of the long-term injured list and innovating with salary deductions. It is no longer rare to see a third team acquire the services of a player in order to retain a portion of his salary.

Jeff Petry’s “flip” is a good example. Thanks to the Canadiens’ intervention, the Red Wings can afford Petry at $2.3 million, while Montreal also pays $2.3 million and Pittsburgh $1.5 million.

The kind of deal you can’t even complete in NHL.

It’s important to note, however, that Kent Hughes doesn’t have much wiggle room left, in view of the trade and draft deadline in 2024. With Joel Edmundson’s salary withheld earlier this summer and Petry’s recently, the Habs will only be able to withhold money from another player until July 2024.

The NHL allows its clubs to withhold money on up to 3 contracts. The CH is at 2 out of 3.

Why is this important?

Between now and July 2024, whether at the deadline or at the draft, the Habs could be muzzled by salary restrictions. It would be surprising, for example, if a club agreed to acquire Christian Dvorak at full price next March. Montreal could then retain the last year and a half of his contract… and nothing else.

What if Armia has good market value, but no club can afford to pay $3.4 million over two years? What if the right deal comes along for Josh Anderson? What if Brendan Gallagher really loses another competitive notch? What if Sean Monahan has to leave?

10 and a half months is a long time.

That’s part of the risk, but it’s not catastrophic… yet.

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