The Montreal Canadiens Are On The Brink of an Overhaul, Boasting One Trump Card That Could Be Key To Their Future

Change is coming to Montreal.

The Montreal Canadiens are likely to be sellers ahead of the March 8 trade deadline and have several assets they could put on the market. 

Centre Sean Monahan is believed to be at the top of their list, having provided consistent offense for the team over the past two campaigns, and has a $2-million cap hit that should prove attractive to multiple outfits around the NHL. Monahan has put together a comeback term in which he’s registered 13 goals and 22 assists in 49 games. He also has the highest faceoff win percentage of any centre on the team at 55%. 

Monahan could not help the Habs get a win against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday — they lost 3-2 in overtime — but he did help them strengthen their case as a selling team. 

Jake Allen had a neat performance in which he made 30 saves, which leaves his trade value intact. But it’s Monahan who’s looking all the more attractive after providing an assist for Juraf Slavkovsky to take his points total to 14 in 13 games for the year, which is a team-high and is tied for 22nd in the league. 

He’s in pretty good company as that total is locked with that of Auston Matthews, Brad Marchand, Clayton Keller, Roope Hintz, Blake Coleman, Sidney Crosby, Jason Robertson, Joel Eriksson Ek, Brock Boeser, Matt Duchene and Victor Hedman. 

There’s plenty of interest in the 29-year-old at the moment, with the New York Rangers among the latest teams mentioned as far as that is concerned. 

With reports surfacing of multiple teams being interested in the Montreal forward, the latest one in the mix on Monahan appears to be the New York Rangers, who have lost third-line centre Filip Chytil to injury.

“I think one of the teams that people are looking at are the New York Rangers,” Elliotte Friedman said of New York’s interest on the weekend. “The Rangers were already looking for a centre, and now they may have to look for two.”

The Canadiens are after a first-round pick in exchange but the frosty relationship between the two sides could make it hard to get a deal over the line. 

“There isn’t a lot of love lost between the two front offices,” Friedman explained, adding that it would be a “complicated deal to do.”

Given that Monahan’s contract will be up in July, the Canadiens could loan him to a contender and sign him back as a free agent should he be open to such a route.

With teams headed into the All-Star break, Monahan will not take to the ice again until the Habs play the Washington Capitals on February 6. Of course, Canadian sports betting sites will offer odds on the contest, as will be the case for the All-Star game.

The Canadiens do have one player representing them: 24-year-old center Nick Suzuki.

As for Monahan, his play this season has been beneficial to both himself and the team but the best way to keep his value trending upward would be to play for a contender and help them make a deep playoff run.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, would do well to continue picking up draft capital and turning them into assets. Having an in-form Monahan is certainly lending to their cause.

It will be interesting to see which other teams will express interest in Monahan as the trade deadline approaches. He could be a valuable addition to any team in need of a reliable centre who can provide consistent offense. Whether or not the Canadiens will be able to get the return they are looking for remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Monahan’s performance this season has put him in a strong position heading into the trade deadline.

It’s worth noting that, while Monahan may be the most attractive asset on the Canadiens roster, he’s not the only one. The aforementioned Jake Allen and forward Joel Armia are also being mentioned in trade rumors.

The Canadiens could potentially get a decent return for these players as well, further bolstering their draft capital and handing them more assets to work with in the future. It remains to be seen what moves the Canadiens will make leading up to the trade deadline, but one thing is certain: change is coming to Montreal.