5 players the Canadiens could trade to free up cap space

May 20 2023, 2:36 pm

The Montreal Canadiens are heading into what may turn out to be a very busy offseason. If they’re looking to make a splash in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft as well as free agency, fans should expect some familiar faces to depart.

Heading into the summer, the Canadiens find themselves with approximately $8.5 million in projected salary cap space. This leaves them with important signings to make, including promising young talents such as Cole Caufield and Rafaƫl Harvey-Pinard, among others.

Not counting guys on expiring deals, here are five players the Habs could potentially deal away to free up some more cap space.

Christian Dvorak

Following his acquisition from the Arizona Coyotes in 2021, Christian Dvorak has become a decent bottom-six centre for the Canadiens. However, his $4.45 million AAV makes him the sixth-highest-paid active player on the roster.

With a good amount of depth pieces up the middle already, exploring trade options for Dvorak, who still has two years left on his deal, might allow the Canadiens to manage their financial commitments better while maintaining a competitive roster.

With disappointing stats, a fairly high contract, and multiple teammates available to replace him, Dvorak is an expendable of the puzzle.

Joel Edmundson

Joel Edmundson is the only defenceman who remains from Montreal’s epic run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021. The veteran blueliner has battled a series of injuries in recent seasons but is still a steady force when healthy.

With that said, the 29-year-old may be sent packing this summer for a few reasons. Firstly, the Habs have a surplus of left-handed d-men, and if they are forced to choose between Edmundson and the right-handed David Savard, they might opt for the latter.

Edmundson is also the second-highest-paid blueliner on the Canadiens, making an average of $3.5 million a season. His departure gives the Canadiens more opportunity to sign a high-value player in free agency.

Had he not been injured during the season, Edmundson very likely could have already been gone at the Trade Deadline. So don’t be surprised if the Habs finally pull the trigger this summer.

Jake Allen

With Carey Price on LTIR, Cayden Primeau still in the AHL, and Samuel Montembeault quietly assuming his role as a starter, the Habs still have room for Jake Allen ā€” in the backup position.

With that said, if Montreal has full confidence in the potential of Primeau and the abilities of Montembeault going forward, they might deal Allen away to a team looking for some help between the pipes.

Allen, 32, is about to head into the first year of a two-year contract extension that will pay him $3.85 million a season. If Montreal can get that money off their books and get an asset in return, they could be doing themselves a big favour.

Joel Armia

Joel Armia has spent the last five years in Montreal. Over his last three, he’s put up exactly 14 points per season. With two years left on a deal paying him $3.4 million a year, most Habs fans would agree that he is overpaid.

However, the biggest criticism about Armia’s time with the Habs has been a serious lack of consistency. As a result, trading his relatively high contract is no easy feat.

But if Kent Hughes can find the right dance partner and sweeten the deal a little bit with a draft pick here or some retained salary there, a trade involving Armia can certainly happen.

Habs fans should just prepare for an underwhelming return. No one ever said clearing cap space would be pretty.

Josh Anderson

Josh Anderson’s value to the Canadiens is undeniable. Since arriving in 2021, the power forward’s physical style of play and his ability to score important goals has made him a fan favourite.

What he brings to the ice is no secret to other teams around the league, either. As a result, his trade value is expected to be quite high. With four years left on a deal paying him $5.5 million a season, the 29-year-old is the third-highest-paid player on the team.

If Montreal is looking to make a big signing or even just assess other needs via a trade, they may be forced to part ways with Anderson in the process.

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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