Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes in front of the 2020 NHL entry draft board
Photo credit: Markerzone

Kent Hughes' Next Trade Target Revealed? A Former Top-10 Pick Has Emerged as a Possibility

Published January 21, 2024 at 10:29

For the first time in several years, the direction in which the organization is heading is finally positive. Indeed, the rebuilding process undertaken by Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton is slowly starting to bear fruit, and the future looks increasingly promising for Martin St-Louis's men.

Moreover, we can certainly observe a very important trend in the way the Montreal brass wishes to build the Tricolore's lineup. First, the new leaders are truly committed to having a solid defensive brigade, having played several high-potential defenders in the Tricolore's organizational chart.

As for the offense, the general manager fully trusts his young forwards, such as Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, and Juraj Slafkovsky. Moreover, the team is also looking to acquire forwards with immense talent to help CH's offense, mainly targeting players who have not yet met the expectations placed on them, as was notably the case with Alex Newhook and the former Chicago Blackhawks center.

Finally, regarding the goaltender position, the contract extension granted to Quebecer Samuel Montembeault demonstrates that the Tricolore wants to give him a more important role, he who will surely occupy the number one spot. However, the management seems determined to improve its fate, as evidenced by the selection of Jacob Fowler last year.

Kent Hughes must address an important situation with the Canadiens

Although the organization's recent personnel moves demonstrate a clear vision and a precise plan, Martin St-Louis's top 6 is sorely lacking in offensive punch. Furthermore, most of the prospects in the organizational chart (Joshua Roy, Owen Beck, and Filip Mesar) have interesting skills but should potentially develop into third-line forwards.

Whether through the draft, the free-agent market, or via a trade, the GM of the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge will inevitably have to add a top-tier forward to his roster if he hopes to see the Canadiens fight for a playoff spot in 2024-2025 or 2025-2026.

In this regard, La Presse journalist Mathias Brunet has compiled a list of five forwards who perfectly fit the type of player sought by Kent Hughes, all of whom could potentially provide greatly appreciated reinforcement to the Montreal attack. Among the names are star forward Trevor Zegras and the second overall pick in 2019, Kaapo Kakko.

Both forwards would be attractive additions, but the price to bring them to Montreal is likely to be extremely high.

We therefore wish to divert your attention to the other three forwards mentioned in his article, who would be much easier to acquire. According to him, Alexander Holtz, Peyton Krebs, and Dylan Holloway would be intriguing targets for Kent Hughes and the Tricolore, who possess major assets but would seriously benefit from a change of scenery.

Alexander Holtz

Personally, the Swedish forward would undoubtedly be our number one choice. The 7th overall pick in the 2020 draft is only 21 years old and has shown very encouraging signs in recent games. If the right winger had only recorded six points in his first 28 games in the NHL, he had still accumulated 27 goals and 27 assists (54 points) in 62 games in the American League.

However, Holtz has taken a crucial step this season, establishing himself as a formidable weapon in the offensive zone. The Stockholm native has collected 22 points, including 12 goals, in 44 games, proving that he has the necessary capabilities to succeed in the NHL. He has a devastating shot and exceptional game vision, making him a real poison in attack.

Trade suggestion: Josh Anderson (50% of the salary retained), Jordan Harris or Justin Barron, and a second-round pick in 2025 for Alexander Holtz.

Peyton Krebs

Acquired in the trade involving Jack Eichel and the Vegas Golden Knights in 2021, Peyton Krebs was selected 17th overall in the 2019 draft, just behind forwards Cole Caufield (15th) and Alex Newhook (16th). Once seen as a future top 6 forward, the center has had several difficulties contributing offensively in the world's best league.

Knowing that the Sabres have several talented forwards, such as Tage Thompson, Jack Quinn, Casey Mittelstadt, and Alex Tuch, Krebs' future in Buffalo seems increasingly uncertain. Moreover, the organization will rely on the emergence of many promising prospects in the coming years, as Zach Benson, Jiri Kulich, Matthew Savoie, Noah Östlund, and Isak Rosen all have the skills necessary to play in the top two lines.

Although he has only accumulated 57 points in 179 games in the NHL, the former Golden Knight has immense potential. Recall that Kirby Dach hadn't produced much either before coming to Montreal.

Trade suggestion: Sean Monahan and Jake Allen (50% of the salary retained) for Dylan Holloway and a third-round pick in 2024.

Dylan Holloway

Finally, the last player who could be targeted by Kent Hughes is Edmonton Oilers forward Dylan Holloway. The former teammate of Cole Caufield at the University of Wisconsin was drafted in the first round (20th overall) in 2020. At 22 years old, the left winger from Calgary has produced everywhere he has played, except in the NHL where he has amassed a total of 10 points in 65 games.

However, Holloway continues to refine his skills in the American League, having accumulated nine goals and five assists in his last sixteen games with the Bakersfield Condors. However, due to the depth of the Oilers at the forward position, he has had some difficulty establishing himself in Kris Knoblauch's lineup, and a change of scenery could benefit him greatly.

Trade suggestion: Cayden Primeau and a fourth-round pick in 2024 for Dylan Holloway.

For more information on Mathias Brunet's list, it's here:

January 21   |   287 answers
Kent Hughes' Next Trade Target Revealed? A Former Top-10 Pick Has Emerged as a Possibility

Who would you like to see in Montreal this most?

Alexander Holtz14650.9 %
Peyton Krebs4214.6 %
Dylan Holloway9934.5 %
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