June 13, 2024

Emerging Trade Targets for the Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are expected to be active in the trade market this summer, with two key targets reportedly on the trade block.

With a wealth of draft picks, an abundance of young defensemen, and ample cap space, the Canadiens are looking to boost their offensive firepower. The increased parity in the league, the demand for immediate results, and a rising salary cap make this offseason particularly intriguing. As the NHL Playoffs wind down, specific trade targets are becoming clearer, prompting general managers to start making inquiries.

Goaltenders like Linus Ullmark and Jacob Markstrom have been known trade targets for months, but the market for forwards has only recently become more promising.

Martin Necas

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently suggested on the 32 Thoughts Podcast that Martin Necas’ time with the Carolina Hurricanes might be coming to an end. Friedman stated, “I’ve believed for some time that one just probably won’t work out there. I don’t think they’re going to do what Necas wants to do.”

Necas’ father has also indicated that his son prefers to leave Carolina for more playing time and better usage. A source confirmed that the Canadiens have expressed interest in Necas, making him a top target for their summer acquisitions.

About Last Season: Martin Necas - Canes Country

Necas ended the 2023-2024 season with 24 goals and 53 points in 77 games, adding four goals and nine points in 11 playoff games. As a pending restricted free agent (RFA), Necas could be a strategic “Sign & Trade” candidate. Teams can offer eight-year contracts only if the player was on their Reserve List as of the last Trade Deadline or has an extra year left on their contract as of July 1.

Given Necas’ age (25), aligning with the Canadiens’ core, and if he agrees to a contract similar to or slightly below Nick Suzuki’s $7.85M cap hit, he could be a valuable long-term asset for Montreal. His skill set fits the Canadiens’ needs perfectly, making them likely to pursue him aggressively if the financials align.

Nikolaj Ehlers

According to The Athletic’s Murat Ates, the Winnipeg Jets are likely to shop Nikolaj Ehlers ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft to strengthen their defensive depth.

Ehlers, a pending free agent, possesses the speed and skill set the Canadiens need. Over the last four seasons, Ehlers has maintained a point-per-game pace of over 60 points, with 20 or more goals in seven of his nine NHL seasons. Despite a less productive offensive season for the Jets, Ehlers scored 25 goals and registered 61 points in 82 games, leading the team in even-strength play with a 54.68% CF% and a 54.7% expected goal differential.

Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers on quick start: 'I feel I've taken a big step'

The Jets are looking for defensive reinforcements or additional draft capital, making the 28-year-old Ehlers a potentially attractive acquisition for the Canadiens. The Canadiens and Jets have a history of trades, most recently with Sean Monahan, suggesting a possible deal for Ehlers could be on the horizon.

Both Necas and Ehlers would need to fit within the Canadiens’ salary structure, especially with future contracts for Juraj Slafkovsky and Kaiden Guhle. However, acquiring either player could significantly enhance the Canadiens’ offensive capabilities.

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