Major Trade Looming Between the Canadiens and Blue Jackets? The Opportunity for Kent Hughes Seems Perfect

Aaron Itovitch
February 26, 2024  (12:35)

Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets logos
Photo credit: Denver Sports Radio

It's hard to say what's happening in Columbus right now. The team is technically still in full rebuild mode, but despite several major summer acquisitions to jumpstart the franchise more quickly, this team has been treading water for three years.

However, what seems alarming is primarily the poor management and development of promising young players. Here we can think of Adam Fantilli, Kent Johnson, and Adam Jiricek, who have all felt the wrath of head coach Pascal Vincent, whose work has been highly criticized since the start of the season.
A new chapter occurred recently when Johnson, the organization's 5th overall pick in 2021, was "benched" during a game where he only hit the ice for a total of 6 minutes and 57 seconds. Considering he was playing an average of 15 minutes last year, this is completely absurd.
Although he totaled 40 points in 79 games in his first NHL season last year, coach Vincent absolutely did not like the young player's performance at the start of the season, even sending him down to the minors, where he scored 15 points in 10 games.
Unfortunately for the 21-year-old forward, things didn't improve afterward, as he only scored one point in his last 10 games. He has scored 16 points with the Blue Jackets this year, in 41 games.
Given the poor treatment he's receiving, which seems to directly affect his on-ice performance, a change of scenery could be extremely beneficial for him, and it will be interesting to see if the change of general manager in Columbus could influence his departure.

An interesting target for the Canadiens?

If that's the case, Kent Hughes will absolutely be a person to watch in this matter. Johnson represents exactly the profile of promising young forward who could play in the top-6 of the club as early as next year and could become a certain business opportunity in terms of the price to pay.
His raw talent is really immense and, like Kirby Dach in Chicago before his acquisition, he is not being used in the right way by his organization. The arrival of a young player like him, as we have seen several times under Martin St-Louis, could fully allow him to reach his potential in Montreal.
He could become a great play partner for Kirby Dach, as well as for the future potential top-6 pick in the next NHL draft.
Credit: Habs et LNH
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Major Trade Looming Between the Canadiens and Blue Jackets? The Opportunity for Kent Hughes Seems Perfect

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