Grading Kent Hughes a year later on the Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens (Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) /

Montreal Canadiens: The Trades

The draft may have been the most important part of Kent Hughes’ job thus far, but the job he’s done via trading has been the most impressive so far. First and foremost, Hughes has made quite a few trades, which has shown fans that he is not afraid to use the trade market if he believes it will help his team win, and as of right now, that has mainly meant trading proven assets for futures, with one notable exception. This really isn’t all that different than Marc Bergevin, who was constantly making moves on the trade front. Where the two differ is what they value.

Marc Bergevin was the man in Montreal for 10 seasons, and while he made plenty of trades during that time, one thing remained true for almost his entire tenure. First-round picks were never on the menu, whether that meant acquiring one or trading it away. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of Bergevin, there are several ways to build a team, but it’s really a unique strategy.

Most teams seem to want to acquire a first-round pick if they are likely to miss the playoffs, and playoff teams are obviously more willing to depart with their own first-round picks. Bergevin didn’t do either of those two things until the 2021 offseason, during his last few months on the job. He acquired a first-rounder via the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet and then traded the pick away (the pick was originally MTL, but was top-10 protected) less than an hour later for Christian Dvorak.

Kent Hughes does things a little differently. In his first year on the job, Kent Hughes acquired four first-round picks. One for Tyler Toffoli, one for Ben Chiarot, one for Alexander Romanov and one for acquiring Sean Monahan. Hughes has also already traded a first-round pick, sending the pick he received for Romanov to Chicago for Kirby Dach, a trade I think Canadiens fans enjoyed a lot.

This difference in philosophy is not guaranteed to lead to more success, but it is still very refreshing nonetheless. Habs fans can tell you that Bergevin’s strategy didn’t lead to enough success, and the hope is that Hughes can change that as the Habs rebuild wears on. With another trade deadline just a few months away, it’ll be very interesting to see what Kent Hughes has in store for Habs fans this go around.