The Montreal Canadiens announced today that they’ve acquired center Christian Dvorak from the Arizona Coyotes. The return is a conditional 2022 first-round draft pick as well as a 2024 second-round selection.
The conditions listed on the 2022 first-round pick are complex, to say the least. Arizona will receive the better of the two first-round picks that Montreal owns, both their own and Carolina’s (received today as compensation for Jesperi Kotkaniemi). The first-round pick is also semi-top-10 protected, meaning that if one of Montreal’s first-round selections is in the top 10 of the 2022 draft, Arizona will receive the worse of the two picks.
For Montreal, it’s a quick answer to the questions raised by how they’d fill the departure of both Phillip Danault and Kotkaniemi this offseason. There’s a lot to like about this Dvorak acquisition, including his cost certainty. The 25-year-old center is under contract for four more seasons at a cap hit of $4.45MM, with a modified no-trade clause that kicks in for the last two seasons of his deal.
Dvorak, who likely slots as the second-line center behind Nick Suzuki, is a capable two-way player who’s faced tough competition during his time in Arizona. Likely to receive a slight reduction on his 18:24 average time on ice from last season, his offensive numbers could improve from his career-high 18 goals and 38 points with a little less responsibility. From a hockey standpoint, Dvorak’s proven game at the NHL level makes him an immediate upgrade over Kotkaniemi for less money.
The Coyotes are in full teardown mode and not ashamed to show it. The team has now just three forwards on the active roster signed through next season – Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, and Andrew Ladd. Only two of those players are expected to be contributors at the NHL level. The team is projected to have upwards of $47MM in space heading into next year’s offseason and their gutted roster lead many to believe they’ll be in the running for first overall in 2022. Now equipped with eight picks in the first two rounds of the draft, the full rebuild has begun in Arizona.
All salary cap figures courtesy of CapFriendly.com