Report: Marc Bergevin is trying to trade Charles Hudon

The Canadiens forward wants to play in the NHL.

According to Raphael Doucet. Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is attempting to trade forward Charles Hudon.

It’s rather obvious that Hudon has run his course with the Canadiens, failing to establish himself for several years, despite being offered various opportunities.

His most productive season was 2017-18 when he stayed with the Canadiens for the entire season, playing in 72 games and scoring 10 goals and adding 20 assists for 30 points. But he always seemed to have a very short leash with head coach Claude Julien. He struggled playing against bigger bodies, leading to a weaker defensive game. In 2018-19 he watched a lot of games from the press box as a healthy scratch, only playing in 32 games and this past season he was finally put on waivers, clearing, and joining the AHL farm team for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

The team always seemed to have better options for a top-six forward, and a bottom-six forward, with Hudon failing to carve out a specific identity for himself, never really fitting just right in either role, and never living up to the offensive potential displayed in the AHL. He was only used as a last resort, it seemed, when the team needed a shake-up, or injuries depleted the other options.

The upcoming 2020-21 season appears to be no different for Hudon, as nobody has him pencilled into the season-starting roster. Hudon is looking for a fresh start with another NHL organization, and it would appear that Bergevin is trying to accommodate him by trading the impending restricted free agent. What kind of a return will Bergevin be able to get for the proven yet borderline NHL player remains to be seen.

Failing a trade, if Bergevin were to submit a qualifying offer, Hudon’s options are suddenly quite limited. If he doesn’t want to return to the AHL, where he dominates, then the only way out of the Canadiens organization is to reject the qualifying offer, and turn to Europe. A qualifying offer automatically means that the Canadiens retain his NHL rights.

A potential mechanism to void the NHL rights would be to take the Canadiens to salary arbitration, and hope that the team rejects the arbitrator’s verdict. By doing so he would become an unrestricted free agent, but there is no guarantee that would happen if that route was taken, nor is there anything to suggest he would go down that path.

Hudon is the only player remaining in the organization from Marc Bergevin’s initial draft in 2012, as a fifth-round pick.

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