The Washington Capitals’ forward depth is depleted and the Montreal Canadiens have way too many guys up front.
According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the two teams could end up being trade partners, but not at the moment.
Lebrun reports that Montreal recently reached out to the Capitals after the team announced Connor Brown would be likely out for the rest of the year due to an ACL injury. The Caps rebuffed the Canadiens, citing their desire to see how Connor McMichael and Sonny Milano could fill their vacancies at forward.
The Habs have a glut of forwards while the Caps have a bunch of issues upfront, Pierre could this workout for both?
Pierre LeBrun: “Well, certainly on paper, you could see why the two teams would at least want to talk. And I’m told there has been communication between the Caps and Habs, but it hasn’t gone very much past that. The reason is, despite the fact, Connor Brown is gone for six to eight months and the Caps do have his $3.6 million cap hit to play with, for now, Washington is intent on looking at its internal options whether that’s Connor McMichael or Sonny Milano who they just signed and recalled. So for now, Washington wants to look at that.
“The Habs have not only reached out, I’m told, to the Washington Capitals, they reached out to several clubs around the league trying to create a trade market for their glut of forwards whether that’s Evgenii Dadonov, or Jonathan Drouin, or Mike Hoffman and beyond. The Habs have too many guys up front which is why there was some noteworthy healthy scratches every night with this team. We’ll see where that goes, but certainly, Montreal is looking to make a move.”
With the Canadiens trying to rebuild, head coach Martin St. Louis has given more time to its younger players as his veterans have scuffled out of the gate.
Evgenii Dadonov is a former 70-point right wing with the Florida Panthers that was involved in a bizarre trade last season involving the Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks. Vegas, in order to alleviate salary cap constraints caused by acquiring star center Jack Eichel, tried to dump Dadonov’s cap hit on Anaheim without realizing the Russian forward held a no-trade clause in his contract. The trade deadline deal was eventually voided and they had to wait for the offseason to send him to Montreal for Shea Weber’s dead cap hit. Dadonov has zero points in eight games so far this season. He’s in the final year of a three-year, $15 million deal where his cap hit is $5 million per season.
Drouin, a once highly-touted prospect who posted multiple 100-plus point seasons in the OHL, has never really lived up to the lofty expectations put on him when he debuted in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 27-year-old winger has struggled with various injuries and took a personal leave of absence from the Montreal Canadiens during the 2020-21 season due to anxiety and insomnia issues. Drouin recorded 20 points in 34 games for the Habs last season and has two assists in seven games played this year. Drouin is in the final year of a six-year, $33 million contract where he has a cap hit of $5.5 million per season.
Hoffman is another former Florida Panther that has a 70-point NHL season under his belt. Things have gone progressively downhill for the 32-year-old, hard-shooting winger since that career-best 2018-19 campaign (70 points in 82 games). He has scored fewer points and goals in the three consecutive seasons since. Hoffman has a goal and an assist in nine games so far this year. Hoffman has a season remaining after this one on his deal where he makes $4.5 million per year.
Drouin (3) and Hoffman (1) have been healthy scratches this season while Dadonov missed two games due to illness.
The Capitals currently have seven players out due to injury and are especially weak on the wing.
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