10:39 a.m.: The Canadiens have confirmed the deal as reported.
9:44 a.m.: The Jets are nearing a deal to acquire center Sean Monahan from the Canadiens, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reports Friday. Montreal will receive a first-round pick plus a conditional later-round pick in return, per TSN’s Darren Dreger. Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Free Press confirms the first-round pick is Winnipeg’s 2024 selection. Dreger adds the conditional pick is a third-round choice in 2027, which will be transferred to Montreal if the Jets win the Stanley Cup this season.
TSN’s Darren Dreger said earlier Friday that interest in Monahan had spiked after the Flames opened trade season by dealing first-line center Elias Lindholm to the Canucks on Wednesday for an expansive return. The Jets and an undisclosed team were still in talks with the Canadiens as of Friday morning, according to Dreger’s report.
Monahan, 29, is on a one-year contract carrying a $1.985MM cap hit with a $2MM AAV. The difference comes from a $15K performance bonus awarded if he reached 26 games played in 2023-24 that the Canadiens have already paid out, per CapFriendly.
The Jets will not have to concede a roster player in this deal for financial purposes. They have $3.8MM in accumulated cap space at the time of the deal and can absorb Monahan’s full contract without retention. The Athletic’s Arpon Basu confirmed the Canadiens are not retaining salary in the trade.
While Monahan may not have the two-way acumen and minute-munching reputation of Lindholm, he’s outpaced his former Flames teammate on the scoresheet this season. The 2013 sixth-overall pick has managed to avoid injury this season and, as such, is having his best offensive campaign since his career-best 34-goal, 82-point season in 2018-19.
At the time of the deal, Monahan is tied for second on the Habs in goals with captain Nick Suzuki (13), third in assists (22), and ranks third on the team with 35 points. His 399 faceoff wins are the most of any Canadien. After missing the last 57 games of last season with groin and foot injuries, he looks no worse for wear and is shouldering top-six minutes in the process, averaging 18:27 per game.
That production comes despite Montreal head coach Martin St. Louis using Monahan in a shutdown role. 61% of his zone starts at even strength have come in the defensive zone, 16% higher than his career average. As such, he’s struggled to replicate his strong possession numbers from last season’s limited stint in the Habs lineup, but he has posted a positive relative possession share in limited minutes on the penalty kill and contributed two shorthanded goals.
The Jets don’t need Monahan to shoulder such heavy defensive zone usage – captain Adam Lowry has that handled down the middle. He can, however, fill the second-line center role behind Mark Scheifele and create a domino effect in the Jets’ middle six. With Monahan in the fold, capable secondary scoring options Mason Appleton and Nino Niederreiter can now anchor a third line with Lowry, and 22-year-old Cole Perfetti can maintain a second-line role with a little less responsibility on the wing. Monahan isn’t a long-term acquisition – at least not yet – and making the deal doesn’t impact Perfetti’s long-term standing as a potential piece down the middle in Winnipeg.
Notably, Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has now recouped two first-round picks for two seasons and 74 games of Monahan’s play. Montreal acquired a conditional 2025 first-round pick from the Flames to take on the final season of Monahan’s previous contract, which carried a $6.375MM cap hit. After posting six goals and 17 points in last season’s 25-game showing, Hughes signed Monahan to his current one-year deal in June.
While the Jets won’t need to make any salary cap-related moves to get this trade done, they may need to waive two players after the All-Star break if Scheifele and David Gustafsson are ready to return from their respective injuries. Both players are currently on injured reserve, but after acquiring Monahan, the Jets have a full 23-player roster with no room to activate them. The only waiver-exempt player on the Jets’ roster is Perfetti, who won’t be sent down.