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“The Habs will want to try to sign Slafkovský and Guhle this summer,” believes Elliotte Friedman
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

The Canadiens’ summer is shaping up to be a fairly quiet one. The club doesn’t have many up-and-coming free agents to deal with, and considering the club is still rebuilding, we shouldn’t necessarily expect a big summer on the free-agent market.

Jeff Gorton hasn’t closed the door… but it will have to make sense. And with the club still in progression mode, signing veterans may not be optimal.

That said, the Habs can still get a head start on the summer of 2025, when Juraj Slafkovský and Kaiden Guhle will be restricted free agents.

The club can therefore wait another year before negotiating with its two youngsters, but it can also offer them a new contract as early as July 1.

And according to Elliotte Friedman, this is to be expected: he believes the Habs will want to deal with both of them this summer.

The big question is what kind of contract the two guys will sign. We could opt for transitional contracts… but we might also want to sign them on a long-term basis.

At least, that’s what Benoît Brunet would do for Guhle if he wants to sign for $5-6 million a year.

Obviously, signing both guys long-term right now could pay off big in the long run if they reach their full potential. On the other hand, there’s risk associated with both situations: Slaf only emerged in the second half of the season and who knows if he’ll definitely be able to repeat his success next year (I think so, but you never know), while Guhle is frequently injured.

And in the end, both guys know they’re part of the team’s future core. They could decide to wait a few years before signing the big contract in order to maximize their value. In my opinion, Slaf’s agent often talks to him about the case of Jack Hughes, who signed an eight-year pact at $8 million a year before exploding and establishing himself as one of the NHL’s best young players. His contract is already a bargain for the Devils, who would certainly be getting more if he had negotiated a year later.

We’ll see what’s in store for the Habs in the coming weeks, but we can expect the club to try to settle two matters internally.

That said, Friedman also opens the door for the Habs to take the pulse of the market for their defensemen… and for there to be a big personnel move at forward. It remains to be seen whether this would be a transaction or a signing (Steven Stamkos, for example), and above all, who the player in question would be.

In gusto

– Are you surprised?

– Love to see this.

– Well done.

– Another name that confirms his presence.

– That doesn’t sound very reassuring.

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