Montreal Canadiens: Sean Monahan Will Be Replaced By Committee - A Blessing In Disguise

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Monahan Trade Stings, But The Benefits Will Be Plentiful

Brandon Gignac
Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

To be completely frank, the Habs have been playing above their skill level. For the culture, playing a winning brand of hockey is important. But if you look closely enough, these wins just push the Habs into a weird spot. 

It’s unlikely that they are strong enough to be labelled a contender. Samuel Montembeault has stolen games and Monahan has elevated the forward core. If the Habs squeak in as a Wildcard team and then bow out in the first round, they earn experience, but their draft stock drops. 

With Monahan out, the forward core is worse off, for the time being. But he is sort of the gift that keeps on giving. Kent Hughes acquired a first-round pick for the upcoming draft, and the Habs' pick will only become more valuable; as the team slides down the standings. 

Even when Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook are healthy, the Canadiens are still a forward or two away from being legitimate contenders. So the pick takes on more importance, regardless of whether it is moved in a package or Hughes drafts a player in the back half of the first round. There are plenty of different options available, including - trading up, making a package with the pick, a player and a prospect for a high-potential forward or entrusting in the scouting staff. 

Ideally, the Canadiens will fall into the top-five range in the draft and have their pickings with a talented forward. As I said, the loss of Monahan will no doubt impact the Canadiens. But, while it stings now, the talent in the 5-10 range as opposed to 10-15 will be the ultimate gift.

With a hole on the top power play unit, the Habs will promote another player into the spot once occupied by Monahan. The results of whoever gets put there could also spark another move. Perhaps Tanner Pearson slots into the bumper spot, and subsequently plays well enough to garner trade interest; which only further improves the Habs chances of acquiring a top of the lineup forward talent.

Rafael Harvey Pinard, Jesse Ylonen and Gignac will also be getting increased minutes. On the power play of all places, which will only allow them to sharpen their offensive tools. The increased reps, will allow for them to grow, while allowing the management team to assess the team's needs.