Montreal Canadiens: Sean Monahan Saga Shows Habs GM Playing 3D Chess, Leafs GM Playing Checkers

Dec 1, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom (25) stops a breakaway
Dec 1, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom (25) stops a breakaway / Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens entered the NHL's All-Star break as sellers in the trade market and emerged from the break with another 2024 first round pick in their arsenal.

That pick, of course, came from the Winnipeg Jets in a trade for Sean Monahan. This was the second trade the Canadiens made involving Monahan, and in each deal they were the team walking away with a first round pick.

When he was initially acquired, Monahan was seen as a broken down asset that was ruining the Calgary Flames cap structure. He had one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $6.375 and the Flames determined he just had to go.

Flames general manager, at the time, Brad Treliving wanted Monahan gone so bad they attached a first round pick to him, and though there are several conditions attached, the Canadiens will get a first round draft pick in 2025 for taking on one year of Monahan's contract.

Monahan immediately played well with the Canadiens, scoring 17 points in 25 games before being injured. This season, he has 13 goals and 35 points in 49 games. To sum it all up, in addition to receiving 19 goals and 52 points in 74 games from Monahan, the Canadiens also get a first round pick in 2024 and a first round pick in 2025. They gave up.... nothing. And if the Jets win the Stanley Cup this year the Canadiens also get a third round pick in 2027 as a condition of the more recent trade.

The reason the Flames made the initial trade was so they could sign Nazem Kadri to an ill advised seven year contract that keeps him locked in through his 38 year old season. That costs the Flames $7 million per season, which is even more than Monahan's previous contract. This season, Kadri has 39 points in 49 games. So, Treliving went though all this just to get four more points out of a center.

Not shockingly, Treliving has since been fired by the Flames, but more surprisingly he immediately found work with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Last summer, his first at the helm of the Canadiens oldest rival, he spent a total of $16.7 million to bring in John Klingberg, Ryan Reaves, Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Klingberg has since done them a favor and told them he won't play hockey the rest of the season. The team kept Reaves on injured reserve long after he got healthy because he does more good for the team while not playing than he does while playing. Bertuzzi is being gifted ice time with some of the best players in the league but has scored less goals than Joel Armia. If Max Domi miraculously scores a hat trick tonight, he will finally pass Johnathan Koavcevic in the goal scoring department.

It all just shows that Kent Hughes is capable of thinking two steps ahead and is going to build this Canadiens team into a real contender soon. Meanwhile, the Habs rival continues to pursue shortsighted additions that don't really fit the team needs and will soon be trading away their best players in a rebuild much like Treliving's former team is doing right now.