Montreal Canadiens: The Three Easy Steps to Contend for Connor Bedard

Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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May 4, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Patrice Bergeron. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Patrice Bergeron. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Avoid top free agents

Part two of this plan following directly after part one which was trade Jeff Petry. Part two is: avoid all really good free agents. There is no point in trading Petry and then replacing him with Kris Letang.

The Canadiens have been linked to Letang and Patrice Bergeron who are both free agents this summer and were both clients of Kent Hughes before he took the Habs general manager job. But it doesn’t make sense. Why would veterans like Bergeron and Letang leave their Stanley Cup contending teams for the worst team in the league?

They probably wouldn’t. But they are from the province of Quebec and have a relationship with Hughes. Is that enough to entice them to sign with the Canadiens? If so, it is the Canadiens who should pass. They aren’t in a position to contend in the next couple seasons, so why sign a star free agent who will only help them get a little closer to the playoffs, but not actually into the postseason?

They shouldn’t, and general manager Hughes hinted at that on TSN Radio earlier this week. What they should do is sign a couple of cheaper free agents to one year contracts. Get a few veterans who can handle a lot of minutes, but aren’t exactly difference makers on the ice. Call them stop-gaps for the blue line.

In a few years, the Canadiens defence will be made up of some subset of Alexander Romanov, Kaiden Guhle, Mattias Norlinder, Logan Mailloux, Justin Barron, Jayden Struble, Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris. Only Romanov should be guaranteed a spot on the Canadiens full time next season.

Harris and Barron would be fine at the NHL level right now, but why not let them develop a bit more as a top pairing for the Laval Rocket for one season? Meanwhile, a veteran free agent like Nikita Zadorov, Justin Braun or P.K. Subban could play big minutes on a losing team before being traded at the deadline for a decent draft pick.

A top four of Edmundson-Petry and Romanov-Savard might be just good enough to get the Habs the 11th overall pick next season. A top four of Romanov-Savard and Edmundson-Braun gives them a much better chance at picking Bedard.