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Canadiens Sign Alex Newhook: Repeat Smart Kirby Dach Deal

The Montreal Canadiens have signed Alex Newhook to a four-year deal and in many ways, it mirrors their smart Kirby Dach deal.

The Montreal Canadiens have made a significant addition to their roster, signing Alex Newhook to a four-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $2.9 million. The 22-year-old centerman joins the Canadiens after an impressive season with the Colorado Avalanche, where he recorded 16 goals and 14 assists in 82 games during the 2022-23 campaign. Newhook, a native of St. John’s, NL, also contributed with one assist in seven playoff matchups.

Canadiens Trying to Repeat The Early Success of Kirby Dach?

The acquisition and signing of Newhook provide Montreal with the opportunity to retain his services for one Restricted Free Agent (RFA) year and three RFA Arbitration years. It’s being seen as a strong bet by many and as Eric Engels writes, it’s reminiscent of a deal GM Kent Hughes did not that long ago with Kirby Dach. Engels writes:

“Alex Newhook came to Habs with 27G, 66 pts in 159 games. Also had a Stanley Cup. Kirby Dach came with 19G, 59 pts in 152 games. Newhook ppg was .41, Dach’s .39. Newhook signs four years, $2.9Maav, Dach signed four years, $3.36Maav. Pretty good GMing from Kent Hughes.

Like Dach, despite not meeting the lofty expectations set during his draft, Newhook still has time to develop into his potential. The Canadiens have taken a calculated risk with this new deal and many believe it will be a smart one. Throughout his tenure with the Colorado Avalanche, Newhook encountered challenges in maintaining consistency and confidence. That doesn’t mean he won’t shine in his new surroundings and it will be intriguing to observe his progress under the guidance of Martin St. Louis and alongside a younger core in Montreal.

If both Dach and Newhook can come close to realizing their full potential with their respective contracts, the Canadiens may find themselves in a favorable salary cap situation in 1-2 years when they are ready to compete at a higher level. This indicates the forward-thinking strategy of the organization, as they anticipate the potential long-term benefits that can arise from these signings.

Newhook Has the Game to Back Up This Deal

Throughout his NHL career, which spans 159 games with the Avalanche, Newhook has accumulated 66 points, including 27 goals and 39 assists. Notably, he played a pivotal role in helping Colorado capture the Stanley Cup in 2022, contributing four assists in 12 playoff appearances. In Colorado, Newhook primarily fulfilled the role of a third-line two-way center. However, the Canadiens believe he has the potential to thrive in a top-six position and showcase his offensive skills. He’ll have a greater opportunity in Montreal where their depth of scoring will help as he potentially moves into an elevated role. This signing presents Newhook with the chance to establish himself as a key member of Montreal’s forward group.

Alex Newhook Kirby Dach Montreal Canadiens
Alex Newhook Kirby Dach Montreal Canadiens

At the same time, with Nick Suzuki already solidifying his position as the top center, the acquisition of Newhook could allow Dach to transition to the wing. Dach, who was acquired as a reclamation project, has performed admirably in Montreal. This move would provide an ideal opportunity to explore Dach’s long-term role while slotting Newhook into the second-line center position. The Canadiens are eager to see how this potential line combination unfolds and believe it is a worthwhile experiment to maximize their offensive output.

This deal places the Canadiens $3,509,166 above the salary cap ceiling, considering a roster composed of 21 active players (12 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders) along with five players on injured reserve or long-term injured reserve.

Next: 5 Things That Max Domi Will Bring to the Maple Leafs?

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