It’s 3:30 PM EST and the NHL Trade Deadline is just about done and teams are already looking at their schedules for the rest of the season. Teams like the Hurricanes adding Max Domi right at the buzzer or the Penguins adding playmaking winger in Richard Rakell at the eleventh hour, you can rest assured that the playoff bound teams are eager to get going. Unfortunately, the Habs will be on the outside looking in one year removed from their Cinderella story Stanley Cup run in 2021-22 season.
The Habs were sellers this year with last minute purchases at the cash register. First time GM Kent Hughes was very honest and upfront when he said he would be “buying low and selling high”. Nowhere in his plans was Brett Kulak on the block, but maybe that was just a negotiation tactic to get the highest value for the puck moving defenseman. Brett Kulak is on the move to Edmonton for Defenseman William Lagesson and 2023 2nd-Round Pick. That offer is too good to pass up. Lagesson adds depth to Laval and Montreal on the blue line. AT 6 feet 2 inches and 207 lbs, Lagesson is a big shut down D. Moving Kulak was tough for Hughes since he has been performing really well and garnered a lot of interest this season.
The Habs also moved fan favourite Artturi Lehkonen. The Finnish Winger was destined to be moved based solely on his performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs last year was nothing but spectacular. With clutch goals and handwork, Lehknonen won the hearts of a lot of Habs fans. Game 6 Game Winning Goal vs Vegas to clinch the Habs first Stanley Cup appearance since the 1993-94 season. The Habs acquire defensive prospect Justin Barron, a 2024 2nd round pick and a 2022 4th round pick.
The biggest move that Kent Hughes made was a few days before the actual deadline hit. Ben Chiarot was dealt to the Florida Panthers for Forward Tyler Smilanic, a 2022 1st Round Pick and a 2022 4th Round Pick. Chiarot is still in Montreal and will need to be patient for his debut with Eastern Conference favourite Panthers. On Thursday, March 24th the Panthers will visit the Bell Centre to face off against the Habs.
Habs added Nate Schnarr, C from the. New Jersey Devils for Goalie Andrew Hammond. Hughes said that Hammond’s family really appreciated their time in Montreal and had the most memorable moments watching Hammond wear Le CH.
Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton should be proud of the work they’ve done so far but all Habs fans know that it’s far from over. The team is younger and faster and will be better as a result of the transactions the front office made today.