Two players to buy and one prospect to sell for the Canadiens at the trade deadline

While the Montreal Canadiens have plenty of players to sell at the trade deadline, there are a few young players this organization should consider buying.

New York Rangers v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Rangers v Toronto Maple Leafs / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages
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Player to buy: Kaapo Kakko

Kaapo Kakko may never be more than a bottom-six forward despite the New York Rangers selecting him second-overall in 2019. After potentially setting the stage for a breakout year in 2023-24 following a decent outing that saw him put up 40 points last season, Kakko has once again regressed.

This year, he has just 11 points in 41 games, and it’s safe to assume he will never average more than a half-point per game since it has never happened in his near five seasons with New York. The closest he came was in 2022-23 when he logged 40 in 82 games, but as mentioned, he couldn’t build on that success. 

But, just because he’s had a tough time finding his game offensively, it does not mean Kakko holds no value to a team like the Canadiens that won’t contend for another year or two. One possession metric that jumps out is his on-ice save percentage, which remains in the mid-90s despite New York’s primary goaltender, Igor Shesterkin, unable to find his rhythm until after the All-Star Break. 

This shows us that Kakko holds value on the defensive lines, and that he can force opponents into making contingency plans with the puck, or into mistakes. While such a game isn’t flashy, players like Kakko are a goaltender’s best friend.