In his former life as an agent, Kent Hughes was a keen negotiator. Qualities that he certainly still possesses in his position as general manager of the Canadian.
However, contrary to what one might think, a good negotiator does not necessarily imply being a good liar. For the past few days, rumors have been swirling that the Canadiens are eyeing Pierre-Luc Dubois.
“I can't talk about players from other teams. I've already been scolded for that, ”said the general manager of the Canadian when questioned about his interest in the Quebec striker.
When colleague Jean-François Chaumont challenged him on the subject, Hughes smiled broadly. After biting his lip and probably twirling his tongue seven times before speaking, he replied, “If we could afford to get a great established center in the NHL, for sure. we would be interested. »
However, the Canadian would have tried to get their hands on Pierre-Luc Dubois last week. A source familiar with the matter even claimed that Hughes made a very attractive offer to the Winnipeg Jets during the draft.
Hughes had a plan< /p>
In his first full season with the Jets, the 24-year-old center had one of his best seasons with 60 points, including 28 goals.
Restricted free agent since July 13, Dubois has earned an annual salary of $5 million in each of the last two campaigns. We can expect him to pocket roughly the same amount. With perhaps a slight increase.
Therefore, the Habs currently do not have enough room under the salary cap to make his acquisition. But if Hughes made a concrete offer to the Jets, it was because he had a plan in mind and was confident that he could meet the limit set at $82.5 million for the next season.
< p>Obviously, the departure of Jeff Petry would make things easier.
Forget the hostile offer
If Hughes was put off at the first question, he probably interpreted it as a sounding about a hostile offer. Although it would be possible for the GM of the Canadiens to do so, it would not be in the interest of the team to do so.
For an offer of between $4.2 million and $6.3 million, the Canadiens should give the Jets, as compensation, their first and third round picks. For the subsequent tier ($6.3M to $8.4M), an additional second-round pick must be provided.
Compensatory picks must be returned in the next draft. As the Canadian is likely to be eligible for the Connor Bedard lottery, it can be assumed that Hughes will not be interested in giving him to the Jets.