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Long-term contract: Kirby Dach must wonder if he’ll be the Habs’ next forward
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Let’s talk about some contracts  just for the fun of it.

Right now, when we talk about Canadiens contracts, we’re thinking about Arber Xhekaj and Justin Barron, the organization’s two remaining restricted free agents.

We’re talking about Kaiden Guhle, who could emulate Juraj Slafkovsky and sign a long-term contract this summer, even though he’s still a year away from seeing his entry-level contract expire.

That’s quite a lot in terms of players already with the club… unless you think Jake Evans and/or Cayden Primeau and/or David Savard should be talking contract right now with the Habs.

I don’t think so.

But Slaf’s contract extension got me thinking: next year, will Kirby Dach have positioned himself for a long contract with the Habs?

After all, he’s the only member of the offensive “big four” who signed a bridge contract.

  • Nick Suzuki: entry-level contract signed by Marc Bergevin, eight-year contract signed by Marc Bergevin
  • Cole Caufield: entry-level contract signed by Marc Bergevin, eight-year contract signed by Kent Hughes
  • Juraj Slafkovsky: entry-level contract signed by Kent Hughes, eight-year contract signed by Kent Hughes
  • Kirby Dach: entry-level contract signed by Stan Bowman, four-year contract signed by Kent Hughes

Obviously, given the conditions that justified his arrival in Montreal, it’s only natural that Kent Hughes should have given him a four-year contract at $3.362 million per season. It was the right thing to do.

But clearly, in the coming year, the former Blackhawk could make a case for himself as a long-term signing. And if Slaf and Caufield are anything to go by, you’d think Flanelle management would be open to doing just that.

Is it a sure thing? Obviously not.

After all, Dach will have to regain his confidence at the start of the season – and that’s not going to happen so easily. We can expect a difficult start to the season.

But if Slaf’s case has taught us anything, it’s this: when Hughes believes in a talented guy, he’s willing to forget about his first half of the season to bank on his progression in order to offer him a big contract. And it’s clear that the Habs have faith in Dach.

Remember that Dach signed a four-year contract in 2022, and in July 2025, he’ll be eligible to sign another deal. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll be a restricted free agent in 2026, one year away from full autonomy.

And you know as well as I do that a talented guy a year away from full autonomy can pull strings and go wherever he wants. That’s another good reason, if Dach has a good 2024-2025 season, to consider signing him long-term next summer.

However, Habs management will also have to decide whether his injury history scares him off. That has to be part of the equation.

The potential value of such a deal would also have to be considered. With the ceiling rising and his talent, would Dach ask to be the Habs’ highest-paid forward?

If such a deal were to happen, Dach would be the third forward to sign long-term with Hughes. Caufield and Slaf are the first two… but we’re not yet at the stage of determining whether Dach will join them anytime soon.

Overtime

– Mikhail Sergachev didn’t have to exercise his no-trade clause to go to Salt Lake City since it was two days away from taking effect. However, if he had to, he might have done so, knowing what he knows now.

– Great analysis.

– Owen Protz wants to make a name for himself.

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