Montreal Canadiens: Why Habs Need To Make A Move Now

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The potential for Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes to make noise this trade deadline season has been covered extensively by this and other sites. In the likely event that the Habs' front office, consistent with their ongoing rebuild, sees the need to move veterans for valuable futures, it would be best for them to make a trade now.

With intensifying reports of interest for Sean Monahan, coupled with strong recent performances, there is reason to believe that there are final or nearly final offers for him available to the Canadiens. Of course, Monahan is not the only player who could potentially be traded.

The description of "talented veteran with a movable contract" also applies to Matheson, Savard, and Allen. Depending on how eager the Habs are to move talent, even players like Evans, Montembeault, Pezzetta and Kovacevic (humble though their returns may be) could be on the move.

I don't mean to speculate on specific returns these assets could net (God knows enough has already been written on that subject). I just think that whatever moves Kent Hughes can make now, with his current leverage, at this point in the season, need not wait unnecessarily for the deadline to inch closer.

The importance of drafting high, especially this year, cannot be understated. However, it is unethical, anti-competitive, and culture-destroying to have players and coaches intentionally throw games. The only way to properly "tank" is by offloading players who do not align with a team's competitive window. The Habs have already banked enough points (many in losing efforts due to OTLs) this season and need to start taking losing seriously — sorry to fans whose idea of success is building a perennial wild-card team.

Another reason the Habs should get a head start is that an actual deadline is approaching. Any high schooler can tell you how sneakily these can undermine even the best-laid schemes for success. Last year, the Flyers were infamously unable to move James van Riemsdyk at the deadline. As a result, the Flyers drafted lower than they would have liked (they can thank Montreal for passing on Michkov), JVR wasted an ever-evasive chance to compete for Lord Stanley, and a contending team missed out on the chance to add him to their arsenal.

Lastly, in a salary-cap-driven league, contending teams have finite and few disposable dollars to spend on rental players. It would be a shame if other rebuilding teams "used up" all the available assets on the market. As interested as teams may be in Monahan and co., they wouldn't hesitate to fill their needs from other sources if they offer sweeter deals now.

Heading into the All-Star break, the onus should be on Kent Hughes to kick off the festivities of trade season.