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Next step: trade Sean Monahan before he gets injured
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Yesterday, you saw the transaction involving Elias Lindholm and the Vancouver Canucks. The Western club didn’t mess with the puck, as they say, when they went after the best center available on the rental market.

Will it be enough to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada? To be seen.

In return for the center’s services, the Canucks gave up Andrei Kuzmenko, Hunter Brzustewicz, Joni Jurmo, a first-round pick in 2024 and a conditional pick in 2024. This will be a fourth-round pick or a third-round pick if Vancouver reaches the Final Four.

The Flames continued to liquidate players, having dealt with numerous transaction requests over the past few years. It can’t be easy for the Flames…

The good news for them is that they’ve managed to convince another team to give a lot in return for Lindholm’s services.

I don’t know how much Kuzmenko, who scored 39 goals in 2022-2023, was worth, though. After all, he has just eight goals this season and doesn’t even have a point every two games (21 in 43) in his second NHL season.

At $5.5 million a year until 2025, let’s just say that had to affect his value. After all, teams that want to win often want to try to free up salary at all costs. Think Flames in 2022… #SeanMonahan

I’m not saying this isn’t a great acquisition for the Flames. But what I am saying is that Calgary still took a risk and it’s clear that the player’s salary contributed (greatly?) to getting him out of Vancouver.

Note that the Russian has agreed to waive his no-trade clause, and that the process began for him on Sunday.

Hunter Brzustewicz, who has 69 points in 47 OHL games, leads his league in points among defensemen. However, he’s considered a “risky” guy who could blossom, but also might not become the defenseman we think he is.

As for Joni Jurmo, he’s a 21-year-old defenseman who isn’t breaking new ground offensively in the Liiga this year.

I’m not saying this to detract from what Calgary has received. What I am saying is that the Flames took risks with certain aspects of the transaction.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is the first pick. To me, that’s the key piece of the deal.

That’s what a GM who owns a quality center on the trading market has to say to himself. And of course, we’re referring to Kent Hughes and Sean Monahan.

We agree that at this point, Monahan’s value (who was already slated to be traded, like it or not) has just gone up. Kent Hughes knows this all too well and will have to maximize his value…and trade the guy before he gets hurt.

Obviously, it’s important touse yesterday’s transaction as a basis for what Kent Hughes might receive for Monahan. It’s the right thing to do and we all agree with that.

After all, Monahan earns less ($4.85 M VS $1.985 M) and has a better season (nine goals and 32 points vs. 13 goals and 35 points), which can clearly work in Kent Hughes’ favour.

And Lindholm has been traded as a rental player since there have been no discussions to extend his contract.

That said, we mustn’t forget that Lindholm is less fragile, has enjoyed more success in recent years and was still a Selke finalist just two seasons ago. He wasn’t the best center available – ahead of Monahan – by chance.

But the fact remains: the club that goes after Monahan will have to pay dearly. I don’t think the Habs can get as much as the Flames, but let’s just say that a good pick (late first round or early second) and a good prospect are to be expected, at this point.

I don’t think it’ll be that much, since no one other than the Canucks, who got Lindholm AND came out with a hefty salary, could pay that much for a center. Of course, the Habs won’t have five such players for their center.

But the fact remains that he’ll get a good price, and yesterday’s deal certainly helped the case for Habs management. It remains to be seen whether #91 will move quickly, perhaps making the next month less exciting for Habs rumors and the deadline if any…

And don’t forget that Adam Henrique ($5.825M for a few more months in Anaheim) saw his value rise last night. In short, I still think Kent Hughes will have to play hard in the corners to get his price… but it’s doable.

In bursts

– The Canucks have six members of their club at the All-Star Game. Because yes, Lindholm is there, but Monahan isn’t.

– Good question.

– Is the Habs’ vacation too long? [JdeM]

– Is it?

– Big news.

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