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Canadiens Eye Big Trades For Necas and Zegras, But Face Hurdle

The Montreal Canadiens have been linked to Martin Necas and Trevor Zegras in trade talks but one scribe explains why trades are unlikely.

According to The Athletic’s Apron Basu, the Montreal Canadiens are once again exploring significant trade opportunities. Rumors surrounding the Canadiens’ link to both the Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks are true, but the level to which the Canadiens might be talking about trades is not necessarily accurate. The Habs have an interest in forwards Martin Nečas and Trevor Zegras, but despite their interest, the Canadiens face challenges similar to last year’s pursuit of Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Last year, the Canadiens were linked to Dubois but decided against pursuing him due to the high acquisition cost and contract demands, which didn’t align with their rebuilding phase. He ultimately went to the Los Angeles Kings in what many now see as a disaster of a trade for LA. This year, the situation with Nečas and Zegras mirrors that dilemma. The Canadiens have conducted due diligence, inquiring about both players, but the high cost and current team dynamics pose significant hurdles.

Martin Necas Trevor Zegras Montreal Canadiens rumors

What the Canadiens don’t want to do is derail their rebuild and give up too much, realizing that the one player they got back wasn’t the right fit and the cost of acquisition was massive.

What Are the Canadiens Being Asked to Part With?

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Hurricanes seek a star-level talent in return for Nečas. From Montreal’s perspective, this could mean offering someone like Mike Matheson. Matheson, on a team-friendly contract, finished ninth among defensemen in scoring last season, making him a valuable asset. However, trading him would create a gap in the Canadiens’ defense, and Basu correctly points out that Montreal would immediately have to seek a replacement player.

Even if a deal involving Matheson were feasible and a replacement found, the Canadiens would need to sign Nečas to a new contract. Nečas, coming off a $3 million annual bridge deal, is ready for a substantial pay increase, which could make him the highest-paid player on the Canadiens. Just like the Kings found out with Dubois, this financial commitment is risky given the uncertainties about his fit within the team.

Similarly, the Ducks would demand a significant return for Zegras, who has two years left on his bridge deal worth $5.75 million annually. Acquiring Zegras would likely include the desire to extend him to a long-term contract. That means two seasons plus whatever the new deal includes, with a substantial financial commitment.

The Canadiens Aren’t Frontrunners for Either Player

Given these factors, the Canadiens are likely to focus on trading their surplus draft picks and young defensemen for assets that better align with their current retooling strategy. While they remain open to trade opportunities and could be among the busier teams at the NHL Draft, the high costs and timing make it improbable that Nečas or Zegras are seriously on their radar.

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