Since Kent (Quent in French) Hughes was hired as General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, his message was clear, he wants to make changes and start from scratch. Hughes is an intelligent person that has quickly, in less than 30 days, put his plan into action and sees a massively positive reaction from the fans of Les Habitants. First, Quent fires Head Coach Dominique Ducharme, then goes against what most armchair experts were saying and hires two-time Stanley Cup champ and Hall of Fame Player Martin St-Louis. Hughes told us that he would be thinking outside the box when hiring his new Head Coach and that he did. St-Louis can only have a positive impact on the youth of today and the young stars of the Montreal Canadiens.
Hughes makes another huge splash today and trades last year’s leading goal scorer for the Habs, Tyler Toffoli. The Canadiens receive forward Tyler Pitlick, prospect Emil Heineman, a first-round pick, and a 2024 fifth-round pick in return for Toffoli. Toffoli was one, of a series of successful signings, that former Habs GM Marc Bergevin made. Toffoli lead the team with 28 goals during their Cinderella season that ended with a cup run loss in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Toffoli played a huge role on that roster and now he gets another chance with the Calgary Flames.
This trade is good on so many levels. Most importantly that Heineman is 20 years old and performing well in the Swedish Hockey League. The picks don’t hurt either. Conditionally the first-round pick is top 10 protected. Meaning if the Calgary Flames pick climbs in the top 10 then the Habs would be given a 4th rounder as compensation and the original pick becomes a first-rounder in 2023.
Like any prospect, the majority of hockey fans never heard of always brings out the ones that act as if they know who Heineman is. Emil Heineman is an LW that can score. At 6’1 he adds size to an already small roster. That’s all we know.
Some other important role players from last season are on the block as well. Leader by default Jeff Petry has had an awful season thus far and has voiced his displeasure while asking for a trade. Petry ended up on the fan’s bad side when he didn’t defend Montembeault being run over by Zack Kassian. The team lost its identity. Unhelped by the lack of play from Ben Chiarot, the shutdown defenseman has been on the receiving end of a lot of backlash from the media and fans alike.
Expect teams with the draft capital to take on Chiarot and Petry. Chiarot has been linked to the Jets and Rangers. Not sure if the Rangers will include Lafreniere, but if Hughes is as smart as we think he is, he will definitely make a play for the Quebec native 1st overall pick in 2021.