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Kent Hughes’ five priorities for 2024

The rebuilding of the Canadiens is going well. The young players are proving that they are developing at a good pace, and the team’s performances are far superior to what we’ve seen over the last two seasons. One very important element is missing, however, and Kent Hughes is reportedly on the lookout for it.

As Mathias Brunet explained on BPM Sports on Monday, the Tricolore doesn’t want prospects like Matvei Michkov who will take time to develop. What the organization wants is to improve its attack with players who will have an impact as early as next season.

After watching Kent Hughes amass numerous draft picks in recent seasons, it could very well be that he’ll use some of them to go after a quality forward.

Let’s just say that the Habs can afford to part with a few draft picks. The organization currently has 11 picks for each of the next two auctions. Montreal doesn’t need that many future players, and the best way to get something out of them would be to trade them.

I’m not saying that the Habs are going to start trading away their first-round picks, but that mid-draft picks can add value to other elements in a transaction that could allow the Habs to pick up a big piece on offense.

The best example of a deal the Habs could make is one like the one that brought Kirby Dach to Montreal. At the time, it hurt to get rid of a defenseman like Alexander Romanov, but Dach’s impact quickly made us forget that.

My point is that the Habs have to risk giving away something big to acquire immediate offensive talent. So don’t be surprised if a defensive prospect is involved in a deal for a forward.

In any case, the Habs have far too many defensemen. The team is already struggling to give playing time to all its defensemen, and there are more on the way to the pro ranks. We’re talking here about guys like Lane Hutson, David Reinbacher and Adam Engstrom, who will be hoping to make room.

Over the next few years, the Canadiens’ payroll will be smaller with the end of certain contracts, such as Brendan Gallagher’s. With more flexibility, it will be a lot easier for the team to keep up with the competition. With more flexibility, it will be much easier for Kent Hughes to go after talented forwards.

In gusto

– The Penguins could be shopping for one of their top forwards.

– That completes the first round in the American.

– Another keeper on the market.

– The Devils are reportedly interested in acquiring Jacob Markstrom.

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