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Christian Dvorak: the Habs position themselves for a bad contract
Last night, the Montreal Canadiens lost to the Buffalo Sabres.

The result? In the Eastern standings, where the club wasn’t exactly doing well in the first place, Martin St-Louis’s men took a step back. We shouldn’t have expected more this year, right?

The Habs are currently six points out of the playoffs and the Lightning. The Devils, Capitals, Penguins and Red Wings are all ahead of the Habs, but not in the playoffs.

And what about Tankathon?

Right now, the Habs are eighth in the standings for the first overall pick, with a 6% chance of winning the lottery. That could change quite a bit between now and the end of the season, but as of January 5, that’s where we stand.

(Credit: Tankathon)
Why am I telling you all this this morning? What justifies such an update?

Because, in reality, the trade deadline (March 8) is fast approaching. And between now and then, the Habs will have to determine how much they want to sell and how much room they have to maneuver.

All indications are that, in due course, the playoffs will be out of reach, and management will want to avoid no man’s land . This will inevitably lead to rumours of transactions. That’ s right!

The same names will keep cropping up. We can expect Jake Allen, to name but one, to be at the heart of the rumours. But as Darren Dreger said this morning (TSN 690), a Habs goaltender isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

David Savard? Given the upcoming congestion of defensemen and his high value, he’s likely to be discussed en masse.

Sean Monahan? One has to wonder, as Arpon Basu (The Athletic) did, how much the Habs will be looking to trade him now that Christian Dvorak has fallen for the season.

Because yes, there are links to be made between the deadline and Dvo’s situation. After all, not only does it change the club’s offensive picture, it also affects the club’s salary envelope.

And that, as David Pagnotta mentioned yesterday, Kent Hughes could benefit from.

When we look at what’s happening on Cap Friendly, we see that the Habs are over the $6,674,869 salary cap. But with Carey Price on the long-term injured list and earning $10.5M, the Habs still have some money to add to their payroll.

Quickly, the $6,674,869 used by the LTIR could climb if all the players who won’t play all season are placed on the LTIR. Here are the cap hits of the guys who won’t be playing again this season. And yes, I’m including Chris Wideman

  • Carey Price: $10,500,000
  • Christian Dvorak: $4,450,000
  • Kirby Dach: $3,362,500
  • Chris Wideman: $762,500
That makes a total of $19,075,000. And if you take away the $6.674 million, the Habs can afford to spend another $12,400,131 under the cap.

That’s a lot of money for Kent Hughes, who likes to maximize his cap space. And as David Pagnotta reminded us, the Habs aren’t averse to putting themselves in a position to help a transaction as a third team. #JeffPetry #NickBonino

Remember that the Habs have one salary retention remaining between now and July 1. The GM could use it between now and March 8, if he wants.

If not, he could also get a bad contract to help a team out. The best, in my opinion? Take a forward at the end of his contract in exchange for a pick. After all, the Habs need depth up front, don’t they?

Obviously, a lot could change between now and the deadline, but it’s clear that if Kent Hughes wants to see the glass as half full, the flexibility offered by Christian Dvorak’s injury helps his club’s cause.

Now it’s up to him to make the most of it.

In Brief

– News from the injured.

– Time flies.

– Connor Bedard: young to be at the All-Star Game. [JdeM]

– Of note.

– One to watch.

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