With four NHL-ready netminders and a potentially crowded crease on his hands, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes revealed Monday that he's open to trading newly acquired goaltender Casey DeSmith.
Speaking with media members at the annual Canadiens Golf Tournament in support of the team's charitable foundation, the Habs GM shared that he was exploring multiple options, but that a move to send the 32-year-old out of town was among the possibilities.
“We are open to making a trade at the beginning of the season,” Hughes said in French to reporters when asked about DeSmith, noting that the club was in a position that would likely necessitate placing multiple goalies on waivers before the start of the campaign. "I think it’s something we’ve discussed, but not something we’ve made a decision on."
Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis also spoke on the matter, inferring that the process could be resolved shortly.
“I think we have good options,” St. Louis said. “It’s a decision we’ll have to make in the coming days.”
DeSmith, acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this summer as part of the three-team Erik Karlsson blockbuster, spent a considerable portion of last season as the starter for a disappointing Penguins group as Tristan Jarry battled injuries.
In a career-high 38 games, the Rochester, N.H., native posted a .905 save percentage and a 3.17 goals-against average. Both marked career worsts for DeSmith.
While Hughes hadn't outright alluded to a trade in the past, the messaging remains largely in tune with previous sentiments he'd shared. Earlier this summer, when the Canadiens acquired DeSmith, Hughes pointed to the logjam in Pittsburgh the netminder was leaving behind, and that even though he was joining another large goaltending group, the team planned to do right by him.
"I told Casey to be patient, the goal is not to bury you in the American Hockey League," Hughes said in August. "We will continue to look at possible trades or to make some changes. But it’ll take patience with the goalie market, it’s always slow."
DeSmith is heading into the final year of a two-year pact he signed last summer.