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Instant Analysis: Desharnais trade frees up precious trade deadline cap space

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The Canadiens acquire another defenceman, and free up cap space without giving up a draft pick

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens made another trade this evening acquiring defenceman Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in return for David Desharnais, and Davidson should instantly provide the Habs with insurance on the back end.

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Davidson hasn’t produced much - he has one assist in 28 games - but he does suppress shot attempts when he’s on the ice. He is signed for next year at $1.425 million and then becomes a restricted free agent.

His shot possession numbers are actually positive relative to the rest of his team, at +2.2% and sit at around 48% overall.

But the big win here for the Canadiens here is cap space. With less than 24 hours to go until the trade deadline, getting anything for Desharnais, even with retaining 20% of his cap hit, frees up a good chunk of money.

The Canadiens now have $1.16 million of cap space which is the trade deadline equivalent of $5.22 million and they did this without trading a draft pick.

It also opens up the possibility that a defenceman could be on the move. With Davidson, the Canadiens now have eight defencemen on the roster, six of which are left-handed.

Desharnais was a great story in his time in Montreal, but clearly the team’s depth made him and his $3.5 million cap hit very expendable.

Data analyst Matt Cane declares the trade a win for the Canadiens.