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Canadiens' Speculation Builds As Trade Deadline Approaches

The Montreal Canadiens have improved under interim head coach Martin St. Louis, but that doesn't change the fact the team is expected to be sellers at the upcoming NHL trade deadline.
Jeff Petry

The Montreal Canadiens have improved under interim head coach Martin St. Louis, sporting a record of 7-4-0 under their new bench boss. 

Given their lowly position in the standings, however, that effort remains overshadowed by speculation over which players could be shipped out by the March 21 trade deadline.

Jeff Petry remains a prime candidate. His improved performance under St. Louis could bolster his stock in the trade market. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman recently linked the 34-year-old defenseman to the Philadelphia Flyers while Montreal Hockey Now's Marco D'Amico cited a “well-placed NHL source” claiming the Dallas Stars could have Petry in their sights.

Cap Friendly indicates Petry is signed through 2024-25 with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million. Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has indicated he's willing to move the veteran blueliner if a fair deal can be found. He can afford to wait until the off-season if no suitable offers appear before the deadline. 

Friedman also reported the Canadiens could attempt to move Shea Weber's contract. The 36-year-old defenseman is on long-term injury reserve amid speculation his playing career is over. He noted Weber has four years on his contract with an annual cap hit close to $7.9 million but his total actual salary over that period is $6 million.

The Athletic's Michael Russo wondered if the Minnesota Wild would be interested. Weber's contract would provide an avenue out of their salary-cap hell over the next three seasons from buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported last Thursday the New York Rangers remain linked to defenseman Ben Chiarot. Meanwhile, Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli had Habs winger Artturi Lehkonen atop his list of five potential difference-makers for playoff contenders.

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