May 19, 2024

Hypothetical Trade for Trevor Zegras to the Canadiens:

While the Montreal Canadiens may not typically look to acquire long-term talent from outside the organization this year, a trade for Trevor Zegras would be an exception. Zegras, potentially on the move in 2024, could realistically end up with the Canadiens, partly due to his familiarity with Cole Caufield, which makes this trade logical despite some potential drawbacks.

Why Consider Trading for Trevor Zegras? Trading for Zegras would be a rare blockbuster acquisition that aligns with the Canadiens’ need for franchise cornerstones. Zegras, at age 24, fits the team’s age profile, complementing young talents like Nick Suzuki, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Caufield. Although Montreal’s cap space might be tight, the proposed trade package could create the necessary room for Zegras, who is on a $5.75 million AAV contract.

Zegras will be seeking a larger contract after the 2024-25 season, which could motivate him to perform at a high level with the Canadiens, making this trade an attractive prospect.

Dynamic center Trevor Zegras agrees to 3-year contract extension with  Anaheim Ducks - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Zegras’ Role with the Canadiens: In Montreal, Zegras would likely take on a top-six role, possibly playing as a winger on the second line with Alex Newhook and Jake Evans, or alongside Caufield. This arrangement would balance the team’s youth and experience, as veteran players would fill the third and fourth lines, providing depth and stability.

Potential Trade Package for Zegras: The trade would involve significant assets. The Canadiens might offer David Savard, who could be valuable to the Ducks as a trade asset later in the season. Additionally, Montreal would likely include a first-round pick in 2025, a third-round pick in 2026, and a high-end prospect, possibly Owen Beck. Beck, a promising forward eligible to play in the AHL in 2024-25, would be attractive to the Ducks. The package might also include NHL-caliber defenseman Justin Barron, with the Ducks sending a fourth-round pick back to the Canadiens to balance the trade.

Rationale for the High Cost: Acquiring Zegras at a high price is justified by his potential to enhance the Canadiens’ top-six and his familiarity with Caufield. Despite the risks, such as Zegras’ injury history, his proven talent when healthy mitigates concerns. Moreover, the Canadiens would still retain substantial draft capital, allowing them to maintain a strong prospect pool.

Overall, trading for Zegras would significantly bolster the Canadiens’ core, providing a potential springboard towards contention. Even if Zegras doesn’t fully meet expectations, the Canadiens wouldn’t be obligated to re-sign him, making this a low-risk, high-reward move that could bring them closer to their first real shot at contention since the 2020-21 season.

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