5 Canadiens players that will likely be gone by next season

Mar 29 2023, 3:20 pm

As their second rebuild year comes to an end, it appears that the Montreal Canadiens will start making the push toward becoming a competitive team again as early as next season.

Many players have come and gone since Kent Hughes took over as general manager last year. And by the looks of it, we might see a few more big transactions this offseason. From a potential Pierre-Luc Dubois trade to possible mid-Entry Draft deals, the Habs might be busy before free agency even kicks off.

With that in mind, here are five players that could very well be gone by the time training camp comes along.

Mike Hoffman

Mike Hoffman signed a three-year deal worth $13.5 million with Montreal back in 2021. Since then, he has not really lived up to his status as a top-six forward. Sure, he’s had some bright spots over the last two seasons, proving his abilities are still there. But at this point, it’s obvious that management will move the veteran sniper if and when they can.

At 33 years old, Hoffman would be better suited as a second or third liner on a team looking to make a deep playoff run.

Christian Dvorak

Marc Bergevin acquired Christian Dvorak shortly after losing fellow centreman Jesperi Kotkaniemi in an offer sheet submitted by the Carolina Hurricanes. The transaction, which many deemed a panic move, cost the Habs two draft picks, including a first-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft.

The Habs needed centremen at the time, and Dvorak could fill that role.

Now, with players like Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach, Sean Monahan, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Sean Farrell, and Jake Evans in the team’s centre position pipeline, there’s no denying that Dvorak, who has put up 40 points in 110 games with the Canadiens, is an expendable asset.

Teams looking for depth down the middle are likely to come knocking for the 27-year-old.

Joel Edmundson

As trade rumours swirled, Joel Edmundson’s name was linked to a number of teams this past season. But as the trade deadline came and went, it appeared that Hughes could not find a deal sweet enough to pull the trigger on.

Edmundson, 29, has one year remaining on his contract beyond this season, carrying a $3.5 million cap hit. It’s entirely possible that the 6-foot-5 defenceman is shipped off in a trade this summer.

Jonathan Drouin

Things have been anything but easy for Jonathan Drouin since he was acquired by the Habs back in 2017 in exchange for Mikhail Sergachev. From injuries to bad puck luck, the 28-year-old forward’s past six seasons have been, in one word, disappointing.

Drouin, who is playing out the final days of a six-year, $33 million contract, has found his stride a few times here and there, but a change of scenery might be the best thing for him.

Unless the price is incredibly low, Montreal should not hesitate to send the Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts native to the free agency market in July.

Joel Armia

This 6-foot-4 forward can use his speed and strength to produce offence and change the dynamics of a game. The problem with Joel Armia, though, is his inconsistency.

In over 250 games with the Canadiens, Armia has put up 92 points. He’s the kind of player that can score you a hattrick or not show up at all. Unfortunately, most fans are used to the latter with him. As Montreal expands its talent pool, bottom six lineup space for Armia is becoming more and more limited.

The 29-year-old will be a UFA at the end of the 2024-25 season. If the Canadiens can move his contract before then, they will.

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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