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Canadiens trade F Monahan to Jets for a first-rounder and a conditional pick

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The Montreal Canadiens have traded centre Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2024 first-round pick and a conditional draft pick, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports.

The Canadiens will receive a third-round pick in 2027 if Winnipeg wins the Stanley Cup, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger adds of the conditional pick, while TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports no salary was retained by Montreal in the deal. Monahan, a pending unrestricted free agent, carries a cap hit of $1.985 million for this season.

The move comes just after Dreger had noted that Wednesday's Elias Lindholm trade to the Vancouver Canucks had sparked interest in Monahan. The Jets are six points back of the Canucks for first place in the Western Conference with two games in hand. 

TSN's Winnipeg Bureau Reporter John Lu adds the Jets were looking to shore up their centre depth after struggling with Mark Scheifele out of the lineup recently. In Scheifele's absence due to a lower body injury, Winnipeg has gone 2-3–1 while being outscored 14-9 in the process. The Jets had a 14-game point streak prior to the most recent stretch. 

Speaking to ESPN after the trade, Jets head coach Rick Bowness said he expects Monahan to open a line with Cole Perfetti and Nikolaj Ehlers after the All-Star break.

The 29-year-old has 13 goals and 35 points in 49 games this season, after being limited to 25 games due to injury last year. He was listed at No. 3 on the latest TSN Trade Bait board.

Two summers ago, the Canadiens received a conditional first-round pick from the Calgary Flames for taking Monahan - and his then-$6.375 million cap hit - in a trade.

Monahan, a pending unrestricted free agent, re-signed with the Canadiens last summer on a one-year, $1.985 million contract, with Dreger reporting earlier this month that the two sides agreed at the time that he could be moved to a contender near the deadline. 

"No different from any other year, there are teams looking for centremen and depth at that position – or a top-two or top-three centreman," Dreger said on Insider Trading on Jan. 11. "We're looking at Colorado. We're looking at Boston, the Edmonton Oilers, maybe even the Washington Capitals if they stay in the mix leading up to the trade deadline. Twenty-nine-year-old Sean Monahan of the Montreal Canadiens is healthy, and he is having a decent year.

"You gotta go back to the off-season and when the Canadiens signed the veteran forward. They had an agreement that said we will trade you when the time is right to a contending team or a team of your choice. Nothing has changed there. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Monahan was among the first forwards to get dealt before the deadline."

In 730 career NHL games played with Montreal and Calgary, Monahan has 231 goals and 514 points.

The Canadiens currently sit 10 points back of the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal is on track to miss the playoffs for the third straight year after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2021.