Kent Hughes not in a rush to extend Slafkovsky, Guhle

Juraj Slafkovsky and Kaiden Guhle proved how important they are for the future of the Habs. So their new contracts will reflect that, but they haven't begun discussions yet with Kent Hughes.
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Two of the Montreal Canadiens most talented young players are due for a contract at the end of the 2024-25 season, but reportedly haven't begun talks regarding their futures yet.

Kaiden Guhle, one of the club's best young defenders, played his second season with the Habs anchoring the top defence pair with Mike Matheson. It's still early in his career, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more important young piece on the blueline than Guhle. Yes, there are David Reinbacher, Lane Hutson and Logan Mailloux, but Guhle has already proven his worth to the team.

Juraj Slafkovsky on the other hand, is looking precisely like the player that Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton hoped for. Slafkovsky ascended to the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield and showed that he was the power forward and the big piece that the Habs' top line needed. There is nobody else in the prospect pool that possesses the combination of size, skill and power that Slafkovsky does.

With both players eligible to sign new contracts as of July 1st, it would be wise for Hughes to figure something out before that date reaches. But he has his sights set on Arber Xhekaj, who is due for a new deal as of July 1, 2024. Certainly, he doesn't want to risk Xhekaj being offer-sheeted.

So, with that - he may very well figure out what will work with Xhekaj first and what the plans are for the roster to look like this coming season. With 10 players in total set to have their contracts expire after the 2025-26 season, Hughes may decide some will be dealt at the deadline or allowed to walk come July 1st. With those decisions made, he will have a clearer idea of the salary situation and perhaps opt to sign his two young guns to long-term deals, should they be interested in doing so.

Interestingly the talks haven't begun yet, but with a big decision looming with the two first-round draft selections come June 28th, Hughes has plenty to think about right now. But there is no reason to believe that Hughes doesn't have a plan in place. Everything that he has done to this point has proven that he is a very calculated guy, who never shows his hand.

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