Canadiens Contractual Obligations: Charles Hudon

With the first part of this series tackling Artturi Lehkonen, it is not about to get easier.  The Montreal Canadiens have some decisions to make and while the verdicts of many may appear to be simple, ironing out the details and understanding why is sometimes more complex than it appears.  Recency bias and –conversely– legacy bias tend to make short term perception erase the proper path in a long term game and that is exactly what the Canadiens should still be playing right now.  Many of the names to be involved in this could very well be part of that and perhaps this guy should be one of them…


Charles Hudon


This situation got sticky pretty quickly.  After 30 points in 72 games in the 2017-18 season, Charles Hudon saw just 32 games of action during the 2018-19 season.  While most any conclusion that could be drawn up here would be a presumptuous theory, something appears to have happened; did Charles Hudon fall out of favor with Claude Julien? Does he simply not fill a need that has not already been filled? What exactly is the issue?


Forgetting the numbers for a moment, Charles Hudon stands out when he is on the ice.  There is something about him that makes him visible to spectators when he is so much as skating around on any given shift which causes people to notice him.  Beyond that, the kid does have enviable vision and offensive awareness.  Getting back to the numbers –important ones at that– he has always shown up in the playoffs in every level at which he has played, boasting a damn near point per game average over his career in the post-season.


Whatever the case may be for Charles seeing such limited ice this past season, it makes it easy to forget what kind of value he holds and the promise about him.  He was –and is– expected to top out somewhere in a middle six forward group and one would have to believe that in the event that he were to be moved that it would not be a tall task.  If Charles Hudon is no longer part of the team’s plans, trading him or accepting compensation is fine as long as they gain appropriate value in return for him.


After all, what was the problem with getting rid of –for example– Sven Andrighetto? The team does not likely sit in the locker room at second intermission in need of a big goal saying to each other “Fuck, we could have used Ghetto right about now!” but the problem therein at the time was the inappropriate value in return, more likely leading to a conversation of “Well, our offensive production is as dry as a fart but I don’t suppose Andreas Martinsen is gonna rip on down and fire one top corns.”


The point is that it is too easy for anyone to take a look at the 2018-19 campaign and notice Charles Hudon, conspicuous by his absence.  Five points over the span of the games he did play certainly does not paint a pretty picture but his point total from the season before was about on par with the likes of Evan Rodrigues, Mikko Koivu, Devin Shore, Connor Brown, Adrian Kempe and Anthony Beauvillier.  For the sake of contractual projection, the veteran presence of Mikko Koivu will be filtered out but the rest of these names and perhaps a few comparable others should be considered.


Verdict: If he does not fit the franchise’s vision going forwards, issue a qualifying offer if he is not moved during entry draft weekend and either issue a “show me” contract or accept compensation for the offer that he does receive.  Given the circumstances of a down year, any offer would not eclipse two years and likely be for just next season at a value of approximately $1,500,000 to a hair under $2,000,000 as many comparable players bear a cap hit of $2,100,000 to $2,300,000.  The compensation for Charles Hudon in this case would end up being a second or third round pick should the projection for him come to fruition.


Charles Hudon wants to play and made it clear when he said that if he was not going to see the ice that he wanted to be moved.  With waiver eligibility, there is obviously a reason that he was kept in the press box for half the season.  Marc Bergevin knows that someone would grab him and take the chance on him and that has certainly not changed now.  The expected return in a trade would likely be either moving up somewhere in the draft or obtaining the pick that would have been his compensation.


Then again, the real food for thought here, if his salary could be brought down as a result of the 2018-19 season, some of the teams that bear the aforementioned comparable players are facing cap crunches.  This could be something to chew on, depending on the direction of those franchises as well.  After all, how much freedom do they have to maneuver?


This situation was relatively quiet through the season but could potentially end up making some noise in the summer…


Check back again soon for the next piece of the puzzle in this series.

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