1709095700 Nine contracts restricting Kent Hughes39 work

Nine contracts restricting Kent Hughes' work

Five months later, Canadian leaders were reluctant to speak out series makes sense. Not only has it been a mission impossible this season, but it will be a few years before we can see spring hockey again in Montreal.

This organization is in a comprehensive reconstruction process. It doesn't take a simple wave of a magic wand to transform a team that has been going in circles for 30 years.

Because that's what we've seen all these years. Successive managements have merely plugged the holes. However, a team that stays in the second third of the peloton never wins a championship.

Rebuilding requires courage from the owner and his hockey players. We know when it begins, but we don't know how long it will take to reach the promised land.

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes

Kent Hughes isn't at the end of his problems yet. His team is not progressing at all and has too many players whose contracts or performance make it difficult to trade them. “Archive photo, QMI Agency”

Small improvement

The Canadian is only in the second year of his recovery program. The progress curve has been low so far this season. There is even a step back in the rankings, where the Canadian sees a drop of two points compared to his record last year.

If the observation is better for individual chapters, the fact remains that the increase is limited to a few names.

Juraj Slafkovsky is by far the most improved player. He complements his linemates Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield well. Kaiden Guhle is still the best hope in defense. Jayden Struble is a huge revelation, while Jordan Harris and Justin Barron, who has been with the Laval Rocket for a month, remain projects.

But please don't touch Arber Xhekaj!

He brings a toughness that the Canadian desperately needs, and his play has improved during his stay in the American League.

Too many players

Kent Hughes' big problem right now is that he has too many players he can hardly do without, either because of their big contracts or because of their limited talent.

The first is Brendan Gallagher, who will give everything he has until his final appearance in the National League. We love him for all his work, but he is physically exhausted.

It won't get better. He will celebrate his 32nd birthday in May and has three years left on his contract.

The same goes for Josh Anderson, who can no longer take advantage of his scoring opportunities and will also reach 30 in May.

Jake Allen (one year left on his contract), Joel Armia (one year), Christian Dvorak (one year), Jake Evans (one year), Tanner Pearson (free agent at the end of the season), Michael Pezzetta and Jesse Ylönen (restricted free agent on End of campaign) are others who make a limited contribution.

The salaries of these nine players amount to more than 23 million. That's a lot of money for a team starting from scratch. The Chicago Blackhawks have a salary cap of more than $9 million and the Anaheim Ducks have a salary cap of more than $8 million.

It will be interesting to see how Kent Hughes performs leading up to the trade deadline and then throughout the offseason. He has plenty of draft assets with 23 picks split between this year and next.

In the meantime, fans who are foot-tapping will have to be patient.

Rome wasn't built in a day.