The 2024-25 season could be Jake Evans final one with the Canadiens

Jake Evans has been effective in his fourth-line role, but with contract expiring in July 2025 and younger options pushing for the lineup, he might be gone soon.
Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators
Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens centre issues are now a thing of the past, which presents another issue.

Who stays and who goes - Jake Evans is likely the next player to be shipped out in favour of a younger, cheaper option. With Evans's contract set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 campaign, it's unlikely the Canadiens offer him what he wants when they have internal options that will save them money. It's not that Evans hasn't been an important piece for the team, but he doesn't bring anything to the team that they would be devastated to lose.

Now, I do believe that he is an effective penalty killer and has always been solid in the faceoff dot. But he isn't likely to sign for a short bridge deal and giving him a raise would take away from other players who will need contracts. It's easier to bring in a fourth-line centre than it is a top-four defender and Owen Beck and Oliver Kapanen could sooner fill Evans's role.

I don't expect that Montreal will want to lose him for nothing at the season's end, so the likelihood of a deal at the Trade Deadline seems increasingly likely. The deal isn't likely to be of the blockbuster variety, but more to give Evans the opportunity he deserves, to thrive with another team who will make the best of his talents. Sort of a gentleman's trade, which Kent Hughes has become known for.

Perhaps Evans and a pick for a prospect or something to that extent could be a hypothetical swap. Evans is still relatively young and while he doesn't move the needle offensively, he is an effective staple in a bottom-six centre role. His penalty-killing prowess and strong 200-foot game make him a player that a playoff team may want to add when loading up before the postseason.

Swinging a deal at the deadline would ensure that the Habs get the most value out of Evans and since his contract expires at the end of the season, he would be merely just a rental. Rentals at the deadline have been known to bring back good returns. It would be a win-win situation, especially if a younger player impresses down in Laval.