Proposed acquisitions for the Canadiens: William Nylander and Elias Lindholm have just been targeted but not so fast

Elias Edmonson
November 26, 2023  (12:58)

We have often repeated that the summer of 2024 will be an important one for Kent Hughes. The leadership of the Habs seems to be aiming for this moment to move to a new stage of rebuilding, and the addition of a renowned free agent should definitely not be ignored.

This free agent could very well be the Toronto Maple Leafs forward, William Nylander. He will become a UFA on July 1st and it would be surprising if Brad Treliving could keep his services in the long term. Therefore, as we had envisioned, this would be the ideal time for Hughes to agree with the Swedish forward.
The excellent journalist from Sportsnet, Eric Engels, however, puts a damper on this personnel movement. According to him, signing an impact player as early as the summer of 2024 would be a bit too hasty. He thinks that the club's defensive squad is not yet mature enough and that Hughes should wait until 2025 to add an impact player to his team.
« Even if the Canadiens added one of these three players [William Nylander, Elias Lindholm, or Jake Guentzel], I don't think they would be as advanced in their process in the first year. The promising defense, which is the basis of their future core, still needs another year of experience after this one, and this maturation will coincide with that of Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, and Kirby Dach who will all enter their prime. » - Eric Engels

In a recent paper, Pierre LeBrun met with 12 members of the leadership of various NHL teams and asked them to evaluate Nylander's future contract. The views really diverge and range from a minimum of 9 million dollars AAV in one case to 12.25 million dollars AAV in another.
To date, the CH has more than 15 M$ of cap space for the summer of 2024, with only three restricted free agents to sign in Samuel Montembeault, Arber Xhekaj, and Justin Barron. Add here Price's contract which could still go on the LTIR and the CH will have more than 25 M$. Less the few performance bonuses (+- 4M $), the CH could have nearly 11M $ of cap space (without Price).
While the CH has room, we must not forget that Nylander, who is 27 years old, is currently in his best years. His arrival before the maturity of the team's youngsters could therefore waste the best moments of the forward.
This season, Nylander is on track to have the best campaign of his career. He has accumulated 12 goals and 15 assists for a total of 27 points in only 17 games. If he maintains the pace, he is heading towards a 130-point season. Not bad for a player who has never exceeded 87 points in his career.
Proposed acquisitions for the Canadiens: William Nylander and Elias Lindholm have just been targeted but not so fast

When should Kent Hughes move to the next step and add an impact player?

Summer 2024 with Nylander38650.4 %
Summer 202523230.3 %
Summer 2024 with Lindholm14819.3 %
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