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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Plan to Be Active in UFA Market This Summer

The Montreal Canadiens are not undergoing a traditional rebuild and plan to be aggressive in free agency, according to a report.

The Montreal Canadiens are not going through a traditional rebuild. Already thinking outside the box and hiring Martin St. Louis — someone with no NHL coaching experience — to coach the team, the organization has already said he might be a long-term fit and aren’t ruling him out of consideration as head coach moving forward. While the team has been abysmal all season, St. Louis has lit a fire under them of late that might lead to the team making more interesting decisions.

Related: Islanders Preparing to Shop Zdeno Chara Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline

Canadiens Jeff Gorton GM Search
Canadiens Jeff Gorton GM Search

Pierre LeBrun of TSN notes the Canadiens still plan to trade some players for picks and prospects ahead of this year’s NHL trade deadline but they’re also planning on actively shopping in the UFA market come July 13. Typically teams that are rebuilding don’t go out and spend big money on unrestricted free agents but the Canadiens are looking to lure one or two bigger names to the club and are hoping St. Louis as coach plays a role there.

Nothing New for Jeff Gorton

Jeff Gorton is no stranger to this approach. When he was the GM in New York and the team was undergoing a similar “roster transformation” he lured in Artemi Panarin and signed him to a huge contract. It was a move that caught some people by surprise, but the move has paid off as the Rangers have moved up the standings much more quickly than a team who typically starts from scratch might. It seems as though Gorton and new GM Kent Hughes are looking to do something similar with the Habs.

This could mean that not every name that has been discussed in Montreal when it comes to trades could be moved. If the Canadiens deem them a useful part of the future, they could be part of this quick retool and not shipped out with the likes of Ben Chiarot, who is unquestionably being moved.

Next: Canucks Testing Trade Market on Defenseman Tyler Myers

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