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Savard, Monahan, Price & More

In this edition of the Montreal Canadiens News and Rumors recap, general manager (GM) Kent Hughes is definitely no longer on vacation as he slips into the weekend after making a big trade to help the Flames from Calgary with their ceiling situation. There’s also sad news about Carey Price’s future and disagreements between Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) member Serge Savard and former general manager Marc Bergevin.

Habs legend Savard still angry

HHOF defender and former Canadiens general manager Serge Savard shared some of his thoughts on the Marc Bergevin era. He did not hesitate to criticize the treatment reserved by Bergevin to the former Canadians.

“The Alumni had a hard time with Marc Bergevin. He didn’t want anyone near the (Canadian) locker room. Even when we went to the alumni lounge. We had to take a detour just to get there.

–Serge Savard (translated from French) (from ‘CH: Serge Savard criticizes the Marc Bergevin era’ Journal de Montréal, 08/16/22)

Things seem to be quite different now in this respect under Hughes. With the hiring of Chantal Machabee as Vice President of Communications, there is clearly a greater focus on alumni inclusion with the addition of Ambassadors and their inclusion in dissemination on social networks.

Canadiens add another center

In a deal that was essentially a salary cap by the Calgary Flames to make room for the addition of Nazem Kadri and his salary, Hughes added 27-year-old, 6-foot-2, 200-pound center Sean Monahan.

Monahan, a seven-time 20-goal scorer, is coming off his worst statistical season in the NHL, which saw him score just eight goals and 23 points in 65 games played. It could be a player nearing the end of a career or it could be related to playing despite the pain of a hip injury that led to season-ending surgery, leaving him in reserve for long-term injury (LTIR). The former sixth overall pick of the Flames in 2013, he has spent his entire career with the Flames and is only signed for one more season at a cap of $6.375 million.

Related: The Canadiens’ defensive improvements will rely on the goaltenders

The Canadian also added a conditional first-round pick for accepting his contract, but it’s complicated. It could be a first in one of the 2024, 2025, or 2026 seasons, and it’s also possible it could be Calgary’s pick or even a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers.

With the addition of more than $6 million in salary, a Canadiens team that only had about $200,000 of cap space before the deal was done and the need to sign restricted free agents Kirby Dach and Cayden Primeau, Hughes had to do something to massage the cap. Unfortunately, the response also meant there was horrible news for Canadiens fans about Carey Price.

End of the era of Canadiens awards

Hughes met with the media Aug. 18 after the Monahan trade was finalized and confirmed that Price would go to LTIR and likely not play next season.

Kent Hughes speaks with the media about today’s transaction involving Calgary. Kent Hughes now speaks to the media regarding today’s trade with Calgary. #GoHabsGo https://t.co/bTs7YeTmFL

Hughes said the news on Price’s knee was disheartening and that he was unable to play this season, it provided the cap space that allowed for the Monahan acquisition. He later mentioned that it was also unlikely that Price would be able to play again without surgery, that rehabilitation alone probably wouldn’t be enough. He preferred to wait to talk about Price’s long-term future until a later date, when Price and his doctor would be available to the media.

From a purely salary point of view, his four-year contract in no way compromises the future of the Canadiens. Price can finish his contract on LTIR and Hughes can approach building his squad without worrying about his cap. It will only cost owner Geoff Molson money and no cap space, which isn’t a big deal considering the revenue streams he receives from the Canadiens organization and Molson Brewing.

Farewell price?

The news about Price being what it is, it puts his actions in his final game against the Florida Panthers in a new light as a “goodbye and thanks” feel as opposed to a comeback. If this was the end, it is good that he received the affectionate sending that he made.

In light of the disturbing news from #Habs Hughes today about Price, this small gesture says a lot – Price waving at his kids in the crowd during his home games at the end of last season. https://t.co/d4iikBS27J

Looking back, given the severity of his injuries, Price’s efforts to fight back and get back on the ice last season most certainly exemplified the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. That’s why he received the 2022 Masterton Memorial Trophy. If this really is the end of an era, Habs fans should still have the opportunity to give him the ovation he deserves at the Bell Centre, if presented at the season opener.

As NHL training camps approach, stay up to date using our coverage on the THW Podcast Network for all your hockey needs. This includes THW’s affiliate podcast Habs Unfiltered for the latest Habs news, ratings and rumours.

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