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Sean Monahan: Elias Lindholm’s (hasty) trade helps the Habs greatly

It’s the big NHL news of the evening: the Vancouver Canucks have acquired Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames.

In return, the Flames have acquired not only Andrei Kuzmenko, but also prospect Hunter Brzustewicz, a defenseman who is racking up points in the OHL this season (he has 69 in 47 games), as well as prospect Joni Jurmo, a first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick.

Obviously, this is big news considering that the best team in the standings, the Vancouver Canucks, will be looking for the best center player available on the market.

But for the Habs, it’s also big news… for Sean Monahan.

With Elias Lindholm now off the market, Monahan becomes the #1 target for any team looking for a center. Adam Henrique is also an option, but Monahan is likely to be at the top of many teams’ lists.

And when you look at tonight’s transaction, it’s pretty obvious: the Habs are in for a real treat.

Let me explain.

First of all, the Canucks really paid for a rental player. Lindholm didn’t sign a contract extension, so he really does arrive as a rental.

And despite everything, the Flames were able to get an excellent blue-line prospect in Brzustewicz, but more importantly, they got a guy who scored 40 goals last year in Kuzmenko.

It’s been tougher for him this year (eight goals and 21 points in 43 games), but he’s still a 26-year-old forward who had a huge first season in the league. And nobody’s going to make me believe that his talent disappeared overnight.

40-goal scorers aren’t a dime a dozen in the NHL, and the Flames just got one for a rental player in Lindholm.

Over the next month, the Habs will have the luxury of upping the ante for a guy who, on paper, isn’t necessarily that far off Lindholm. Teams might be afraid of Monahan’s injury history, which could lower the price, but still: there are interesting parallels to be drawn between Monahan and the guy who just brought the Flames a gigantic sum as a rental player.

Monahan’s salary ($1.985M) could open even more doors, especially if the Habs withhold 50% of his (small) salary.

We really don’t want to see #91 injured in the next month…

Monahan’s value is now firmly established: it will probably be difficult for any team to get him without offering (at least) a first-round pick and a little extra cash.

I can’t wait to see what happens, but both the return and the timing of the Lindholm deal have Kent Hughes salivating right now.

And so much the better.

In a row

– Let’s hope he avoided the worst.

– I’d say Mike Matheson, personally.

– Can’t wait to see the result.

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