Massive trade looming between the Canadiens and Utah?

Aaron Itovitch
April 23, 2024  (2:37 PM)

Montreal Canadiens logo and general manager Kent Hughes with the Salt Lake City skyline
Photo credit: Markerzone

It's no surprise that one of Kent Hughes' main goals this summer is to bolster the Montreal Canadiens' attack by acquiring a player who can play on one of Martin St-Louis's top two lines.

Indeed, the general manager of the Tricolore has repeatedly stated that he would not hesitate to make a trade if it could improve the team in the long term, while addressing a current need within the Montreal organization, namely the lack of offensive "punch."
While the defensive squad faced some challenges this season, the emergence of young defenders like Lane Hutson, Logan Mailloux, and David Reinbacher suggests a promising future for the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge. In addition, beyond these two prospects, Martin St-Louis can rely on the presence of several defenders who have already played regularly in the Bettman circuit, such as Mike Matheson, David Savard, Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, and Jayden Struble.
Given that the Montreal defense is brimming with talent, it would be wise to sacrifice one of these defenders to address a significant issue: the team's difficulty in scoring goals. Indeed, the Montreal Canadiens finished the current campaign ranked 26th in the NHL with an average of only 2.83 goals per game, which is clearly not enough in a league now focused on offense.
It is therefore crucial that Kent Hughes makes a move and adds a quality forward to assist Nick Suzuki, Juraj Slafkovsky, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, and Alex Newhook!
In this regard, a blockbuster trade between the Canadiens and the defunct Coyotes has just been raised by Billy Scott from NHL Trade Rumors. According to him, Kent Hughes could contact the next general manager of Salt Lake City to snag Clayton Keller, which would significantly advance the CH's top-6.
"After a long rebuild, the Canadiens are eager to move to the next stage and become a playoff-aspiring team again. Acquiring Clayton Keller would be a major addition to the Montreal attack. Keller is a proven goal scorer, who has regularly achieved 70-point seasons, even on a team in rebuilding. He is exactly the offensive spark that could take the Canadiens from the cellar to the playoffs." - Billy Scott

However, for such an acquisition, he believes the Tricolore would need to part with three important elements: former fifth overall pick in the 2022 draft, David Reinbacher, this year's Winnipeg Jets first-round pick, and center Jake Evans.
- Clayton Keller

- David Reinbacher, Jake Evans, and the Winnipeg Jets' 2024 first-round pick

Honestly, the idea of adding a player as talented as Clayton Keller is genuinely intriguing. The 26-year-old forward has amassed 86 and 76 points over his last two seasons, crossing the 30-goal mark in each of them. Selected 7th overall in 2016, he could be the ideal player to complete the duo formed by Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook.
However, while I'm ready to trade the Jets' pick for a true offensive attacker, losing David Reinbacher would be a significant blow to the organization. Apart from Logan Mailloux and David Savard, no defenseman currently on the Montreal roster is ready to rack up significant minutes on the right side of the defense. Moreover, it's important to remember that the Québécois is now 33 years old, and his future with the club seems uncertain once his contract expires.
It's certainly a proposition that could give both general managers pause for thought!
If you were in Kent Hughes' shoes, would you accept this trade?
23 AVRIL   |   168 ANSWERS
Massive trade looming between the Canadiens and Utah?

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