Montreal Canadiens: Why Kent Hughes First Big Move Should be Trading Ben Chiarot

The Montreal Canadiens 1-0-2 streak over the past three games is as close to a hot streak as the team could pretend to have accomplished this season.

They have been battling the Arizona Coyotes for the position as the worst team in the NHL standings, and the Canadiens currently have the upper(?) hand in that battle. Their 8-25-7 record is just slightly worse than the Coyotes who are 10-26-4.

Both teams are on pace to finish the season with about 48 points in the standings.

The terrible season has already forced the Canadiens to fire Marc Bergevin and replace him with Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes in the front office. Gorton was hired in late November, but the team didn’t announce Hughes as the new general manager until the middle of January.

Hughes will do some minor roster tinkering here and there with call ups to replace injured players. While none of those transactions will be noteworthy at the end of the day, there is an obvious choice Hughes has to make with his first large transaction as the Canadiens general manager.

The first thing he needs to do is trade Ben Chiarot.

First of all, it is an easy and obvious trade to make. Chiarot plays big minutes and can eat even strength time, shut down opponents and kill penalties. He is on an expiring contract so he will definitely be traded before the March 21st trade deadline. So, no one will be shocked if Hughes trades Chiarot.

Secondly, Chiarot runs the risk of being injured if they wait too long. He plays a ton of minutes, blocks a lot of shots, hits everyone, fights, battles along the boards and in front of the net on every shift. The Canadiens are likely going to be able to get a first round pick for Chiarot. But if he breaks his wrist in a fight, or breaks a bone in his foot or ankle blocking a shot, the Canadiens might get nothing for him.

Most importantly, the reason Hughes should trade Chiarot first is it will be a home run among the fan base. A lot of Habs fans don’t really appreciate Chiarot for what he does, and they focus on what he can not do. He gets mocked online by fans who can’t stand seeing him on the power play. It is often pointed out he shouldn’t be on the ice in overtime and that he is not a very quick skater.

Those things are true, but he did prove he could shut down some of the NHL’s best players in a playoff series last spring and summer. So, general managers will give up a lot for him, like a first round pick, but fans won’t be devastated to see him go. This will result in a huge portion of the fanbase loving the Chiarot trade.

Hughes can take care of some obvious business by moving pending free agent Ben Chiarot. In the process he can avoid disaster by dealing the gritty defender before he gets hurt and the Habs new general manager would score some serious P.R. points with the fan base along the way.

It makes a lot of sense for Hughes first big move to be a Ben Chiarot trade.