Major trade involving a defenseman: there is an update

Aaron Itovitch
April 14, 2024  (3:41 PM)

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj and Kaiden Guhle
Photo credit: La Poche Bleue

Since Kent Hughes became the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, the organization has acquired several talented defensemen, making the Tricolore one of the NHL's top teams in terms of defensive prospects.

Moreover, Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, and Jayden Struble have already had the opportunity to log significant minutes in the NHL, proving they will be key elements of Montreal's defensive corps in the years to come. Additionally, we must not forget Mike Matheson, who is having an incredible season with an impressive tally of 59 points in 78 games, ranking him 9th among the NHL's most productive defensemen.
It's difficult to know what Kent Hughes's plan will be with his defenseman, whose contract expires at the end of the 2025-2026 season. While many fans suggested trading him last summer, his current campaign has been so sensational that many prefer to see him stay in Montreal, at least until Lane Hutson is ready to take over the power play reins.
Despite all the named defensemen, there are still three high-quality prospects who have yet to don the Montreal uniform in the NHL. Indeed, Lane Hutson, David Reinbacher, and Logan Mailloux all have immense potential and will inevitably need to occupy a spot in Martin St-Louis's defense soon.
However, according to former Trois-Rivières Lions head coach, Éric Bélanger, even if the defense is filled with talent, there are only two untouchables within the organization. Indeed, in a recent column published on La Poche Bleue's site, he mentioned that defensemen like David Reinbacher, Logan Mailloux, and Arber Xhekaj could be used in a transaction to attract a top-6 forward to Montreal.
«That said, I'm not saying I don't like Reinbacher, Mailloux, Xhekaj and company, far from it! I'm just saying that if the phone rings for these guys, I answer.

You know, when you manage a hockey team and you have a specific plan, sometimes you have to make painful and heartbreaking decisions for the good of the team. If there's one thing we've seen since Kent Hughes arrived, it's that he sticks to his plan.
I'm very excited to see Reinbacher develop in North America, I think Mailloux will be quite the horse in the NHL, Xhekaj is a rare commodity and Struble is a good young defender with great potential, but at the risk of repeating myself, I would be ready to listen to offers for them.» - Éric Bélanger

Moreover, according to the former NHL player, the only two defensemen he would not trade would be Kaiden Guhle and Lane Hutson. After all, the former has already established himself as a crucial element within the Montreal lineup, and the latter is simply phenomenal in the American college ranks.
«Guhle has the makings of a captain. He's already a leader and the way he behaves on the ice fascinates me. It's beautiful to see him go, and he's only 22 years old.


As for Lane Hutson, it's VERY ambitious to classify him this way before he's played a single NHL game, but seriously, what talent!

I don't think I've seen a defenseman as gifted offensively with the CH since Andrei Markov, and I can already imagine Hutson directing the power play for many years.» - Éric Bélanger

Honestly, we largely agree with Éric Bélanger on this point, but we would also add David Reinbacher to the mix. Selected fifth in the last draft, the Austrian has all the attributes needed to become an excellent two-way defenseman in the NHL, showing very promising signs since his arrival with the Laval Rocket.
As for Kaiden Guhle, his performances on the ice speak for themselves. He is a defensive pillar, never hesitating to block a shot or deliver a solid hit. Furthermore, his attitude is impeccable, and many even think he could become the future captain of the Montreal Canadiens.
Finally, even though Lane Hutson has not yet played in the professional ranks, his feats in the American college ranks are remarkable.
Credit: Fanadiens
Le Canadien aurait seulement deux intouchables à la
14 AVRIL   |   194 ANSWERS
Major trade involving a defenseman: there is an update

Who would you trade if you were in Kent's shoes?

David Reinbacher105.2 %
Logan Mailloux2211.3 %
Arber Xhekaj2110.8 %
None14172.7 %
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