Hughes surprises and finally opens the door for a trade he refused to make until now

Jeff Drouin
September 30, 2022  (1:12)

Since becoming the Habs' general manager in January, Kent Hughes has always said that he is not a fan of the strategy of having a team liquidate a large contract to free up payroll.

Well, there was the transaction that sent Shea Weber's contract to Las Vegas, but it must be said that the context was quite different, due to the fact that Weber was no longer able to help the Habs on the ice.
That said, as J.B. Gagné of GoHabsGo reports, only fools don't change their minds, and during the broadcast of Radio-Canada's Tellement Hockey podcast, journalist Alexandre Gascon met with the Habs' GM. The latter mentioned for the first time that he could use draft picks to liquidate contracts that are pinching him on the payroll. This would allow him to clean up the club's finances.
A type of trade that he has always refused to do until now, but he finally opens the door.
"We've got a lot of draft picks and, like I said, at some point we're going to be able to use those picks for that. Those picks can also be tools to trade up to go get players in the future. So depending on the timing, especially the progress of the young guys and the team as a whole, it can change the way we approach (the trades). We keep some flexibility, but for sure the sooner our young guys show us they're ready for prime time, it could get ahead of the decisions we make, but we want to be careful and not be impulsive."

As we've seen over the past few months, Hughes has held his ground on the Jeff Petry issue, when he had no intention of getting rid of him just to make room on the payroll. He had to involve Ryan Poehling in the deal to send #26 to Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Michael Matheson, who looked pretty good in the Habs' first exhibition game Monday night against the New Jersey Devils.
Gascon even mentioned that the acquisition of Sean Monahan could only be temporary and that Hughes would not rule out trading him to another team.
He always said he wouldn't trade a player or a contract just to get rid of him, that there absolutely had to be something in return for the Habs, whether it was a high enough pick or a player, as we saw in the case of (Sean) Monahan. He's always said he's not going to "get rid of" him. But here, yesterday, he said, 'Ideally, we won't do that. But I'm not ruling it out."

Still quite surprising as a statement. If we look closely at the Habs, there are three players who have contracts rather difficult to pass on to other formations, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Mike Hoffman.
Could the addition of other elements allow Kent Hughes to send one of these three players to another team?
For now, it's too early to speculate, as the season hasn't started yet and in Hoffman's case, he didn't play a bad game Monday night against the Devils.
File to follow for sure
To listen to the Totally Hockey podcast, click below:
Hughes surprises and finally opens the door for a trade he refused to make until now

Which of these three players is most likely to leave first?

Joel Armia11831.1 %
Brendan Galalgher5815.3 %
Mike Hoffman20453.7 %
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