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The choice of Sean Monahan in 2022 and the impact of the Elias Lindholm transaction
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Last night, the Calgary Flames made the deal official, sending Elias Lindholm to a new land. In the end, it’s to Vancouver that the center forward will continue his career.

The Flames decided not to wait until March before trading him. In fact, they decided not to wait until February to part with the best rental center in the 2024 market.

For the Habs, this is good news. After all, even if this cuts off an option to trade Sean Monahan, the fact remains that options are still plentiful.

And at the price Lindholm was traded for, it can only help the Habs.

But there’s another aspect to consider when analyzing the impact of yesterday’s transaction on the Habs. We’re talking about the value of the first pick obtained (ironically) by the Habs in the Sean Monahan deal, in 2022.

Because yes, in the old days, you had to pay to get rid of Monahan. #PepperidgeFarmRemembers

Obviously, for the Flames, this is the beginning of the end. After all, the club will continue not to move up, and more transactions are expected between now and the end of the season.

Will Jacob Markstrom eventually be added to the list and end up leaving the Flames within the next few months? It’s not impossible, let’s face it.

I don’t see the Flames avoiding a retool, at the very least. I don’t exactly have the feeling that 2024-2025 will be much better than 2023-2024. The defensive brigade has to be rebuilt and Jonathan Huberdeau’s contract takes away the club’s room for manoeuvre.

Inevitably, this could mean that the Flames’ choice could be affected by yesterday’s transaction. But how?

Since the Habs would have to draft in 2025 with the pick (to draft in 2024 with the Flames’ pick, the Flames would have had to have had a better 2023-2024 season) from the Monahan deal, the loss of Lindholm affects the Flames’ 2024-2025 season.

I know, Lindholm was going to be a free agent. But don’t you think trading the center a month before the deadline instead of trying to keep him is a sign of what’s to come next year?

And that brings us back to the Monahan deal of 2022. Let me remind you of the terms of the deal between Calgary and Montreal.

(Credit: Cap Friendly)

We can clean up a bit here. The Habs won’t have the option of getting the Flames’ 2024 pick, and we should expect to see the Flames get the Panthers’ 2025 pick.

After all, for the Panthers not to get it, they’d have to miss the playoffs. It’s not impossible, but I don’t really believe it.

So we can realistically focus on paragraphs #3 and #4 of the table above, in the “In the event Calgary receives the Panthers’ 1st-round pick in 2025” category of the image. These are the ones underlined in gray in the screenshot.

There are two conditions that would ensure that the Habs would not get the Flames’ 2025 pick.

  • If both picks (Flames and Panthers) are NOT in the top-10, Montreal will receive the higher-ranked pick between the Panthers’ and Flames’ 1st-round picks in 2025.
  • If the Flames pick is in the top-10 AND the Panthers pick is not, Montreal will receive the Florida pick.

The first part isn’t necessarily worrisome, since if the Panthers and Flames don’t get a top-10 pick, the Habs will get the better of the two. So much the better.

But if the Panthers aren’t in the top-10 and the Flames are, the Habs will draft with the Panthers’ pick. And since the Flames might not be as good as this year, when they’re headed for a top-10 pick…

(Credit: Tankathon)

Note that the Flames, without their first pick of 2025, won’t necessarily benefit from tanking next year.

But if they tank enough to keep their pick and force the Canadiens to take Florida’s (if the Panthers have a good season), all the better for them.

Of course, this is all a bonus for the Habs, who can’t complain about the Monahan deal… but if we’re going to be there, we might as well have the best possible pick, right?

Remember that the Habs could very well not draft with this pick because the GM might decide to monetize it, but that a high draft pick would still be more valuable on the trade market.

In bursts

– Speak of the devil.

– Really?

– And Bill Belichick is at home.

– Notice to interested parties.

– Still.

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