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Canadiens Likely Playing Their Last Games as Habs in 2023-24

Christian Dvorak Montreal Canadiens

As the March 8 trade deadline approaches, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes will be looking to unload players the organization has outgrown. It’s not just pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs) he’ll otherwise probably lose for nothing, but also Habs with bad contracts he probably wouldn’t mind losing for nothing. You see? There’s a not-so-happy mix.

Related: Who’s Likely Playing Their Last Season With the Canadiens in 2022-23?

Now, Hughes may very well not be successful. Even just speaking for the pending UFAs, it’s not like they’re all hotcakes or hot commodities in general and can sell themselves. The natural order of things will nevertheless sort itself out, as those contracts expire come July 1. One way or another those unwanted players won’t be back.

The same unfortunately can’t necessarily be said for the other names populating this list of the likeliest Canadiens playing their last games with the Habs in 2023-24. Here are the ones who are not long for the lineup or organization overall in order of increasing likelihood they leave the team (via trade or as free agents) by the start of 2024-25:

7. Christian Dvorak

Christian Dvorak being a second-line-centre insurance policy for the oft-injured Kirby Dach would be an easier sell if he himself wasn’t injured so much. He’s played just 145 games through three seasons with the Canadiens. Plus, when he has been healthy, his production hasn’t really been impressive (68 points).

Montreal Canadiens forward Christian Dvorak – (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Ultimately, Dvorak suits the Canadiens’ purposes more as a third-line centre, at least until their prospect depth down the middle is ready for primetime. Thankfully, his $4.45 million cap hit through 2025 is reasonable on both fronts, in the face of justifiable calls for Hughes to trade him.

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Even the most ardent Dvorak supporters must admit he was never a good fit, even from the start when he was acquired as a knee-jerk reaction to the team losing both Phillip Danault and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Now that he’s here and has failed to live up to expectations on the whole, though? There’s no point in rushing his departure when expectations surrounding the Canadiens are as low as they are.

6. David Savard

The Canadiens are understandably placing a premium on ice time to their younger players. Trading Joel Edmundson last offseason cleared up how much of a priority that was for Hughes and company. However, that was on the left…

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