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Canadiens may be forced to trade young first-round pick this summer

Published March 31, 2024 at 10:18

A new development with the Montreal Canadiens will complicate Kent Hughes's task this summer, and it directly involves defenseman Justin Barron.

Due to his professional level experience, a significant change will alter the situation with Barron next year.

The 2020 first-round pick will no longer be waiver-exempt for the 2024-2025 season, meaning he can't return to Laval without risking being claimed by another NHL team.

With his offensive profile and young age (only 22 years old), it's almost certain that a team would dare to snatch him up should he fail to make the Canadiens' roster next year.

Things get complicated for Justin Barron with the Canadiens

The problem is that there will be fierce competition on the CH's blue line, greatly complicating matters for him and the team's management.

As journalist Arpon Basu from The Athletic points out, there should be no fewer than 12 defensemen at the next camp who could have a legitimate chance of making the Canadiens' lineup.

Here they are:

- Mike Matheson
- David Savard
- Kaiden Guhle
- Arber Xhekaj
- Jordan Harris
- Johnathan Kovacevic
- Jayden Struble
- Justin Barron
- Logan Mailloux
- David Reinbacher
- Lane Hutson
- Adam Engstrom

From this group, we can already state that Matheson, Savard, and Guhle will definitely be in Montreal, and we could also add the names of Xhekaj, Harris, and Kovacevic, unless there's a surprise.

I've omitted Struble's name because he could be sent back to Laval without passing through waivers.

This leaves very little chance for Barron to play as a regular defenseman with the main team, and I haven't even mentioned the names of David Reinbacher and Logan Mailloux, who seem to have already surpassed him in the right-handed defensemen hierarchy.

The end of Barron with the Canadiens?

Just like that, due to the defensive logjam, the chances of Barron making the Canadiens' lineup seem very low, meaning waivers await him in the fall.

Could this new risk of losing him for nothing force Kent Hughes's hand to trade his services this summer?

It's evident that the general manager will try to do something to take advantage of his surplus in defense to acquire a young top 6 forward.

Barron, combined with a first-round pick, could be a very likely trade foundation for Hughes, especially since right-handed defensemen always have a more interesting value on the trade market.

This will be a big file to watch during the next summer season.

Credit: DLC
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