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Kent Hughes thinks he’ll be able to cut around $4M by the start of the season
The Montreal Canadiens, before moving to get Jeff Petry from Pittsburgh ten days ago, had a little over five million dollars too much on the salary cap. Summer is allowed.

But with today’s transaction, the Habs now have $3.77 million too much.

To comply with the cap, Kent Hughes has two choices: he can either try to exceed the cap by around $10.5 million to maximize the flexibility of Carey Price’s contract. At the moment, Price is not on the off-season injury list.

Alternatively, he can comply with the cap with Price, in order to keep him off the long-term off-season injured list. Doing so at the start of the season only gives him some flexibility.

But in the end, in light of the GM’s remarks at today’s press conference, we understand that the boss is thinking much more in terms of approaching the option of not placing Price on the summer LTIR.

The plan may change, but he thinks he’ll be able to comply with the cap with Carey Price.

He didn’t want to say how (that’s normal), but if he manages to do it, he’ll be looking for a flexibility that will no doubt please all those who have their noses in the salary cap pie in Montreal.

But how will he do it? After all, getting $3.77 million isn’t easy.

One wonders if another transaction isn’t in the Canadiens’ plans. Could a Joel Armia, a Jake Allen or a Brendan Gallagher be a sure thing – let me stop you right there: I don’t think so.

Maybe Casey DeSmith would be a logical candidate… eventually.

Kent Hughes, who has proven to be able to think more in the short term than when he arrived (due to the passage of time in the rebuild), can however use another tool to his advantage: young defensemen.

Among the guys likely to make the club and not have to go through the ballot are Juraj Slafkovsky, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Jordan Harris, Justin Barron, Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj.

These guys can be sent to Laval on paper for 24 hours at the end of camp, only to be recalled for the first game.

Does this mean that Hughes will send them all to Laval on paper? Not necessarily, because you need a certain number of guys in the NHL at all times. But it could come from there.

Is there a world where Jesse Ylönen or Gustav Lindstrom, freshly acquired in the deal of the day, go through the ballot to save money – and to make room? I really don’t think so, but hey.

In an ideal world, the $3.77 million would be smaller because the CH didn’t want to withhold salary for Jeff Petry. That said, in terms of relations between NHL players and Habs management, withholding salary was the right thing to do.

All that to say, I can’t wait to see what the Habs will do to save money. There are a few possibilities on the desk of Kent Hughes, who clearly didn’t finish his work this summer.

We’ll have to keep an eye on that.


Here are the CH draft picks for the next two years. Several picks in 2025 will be traded, in my opinion – and in the opinion of many, in fact.

It adds value to move.

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