The Montreal Canadiens acquired Christian Dvorak from the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, sending the 25-year-old center to Montreal in exchange for a first-round pick in 2022 and a second-round pick in 2024. The move filled an immediate need for Montreal, who lost center Jesperi Kotkaniemi after declining to match the Carolina Hurricanes‘ offer sheet earlier in the day.
Dvorak, drafted 58th overall in 2014 by the Coyotes, has played 302 career games, notching 146 points on 67 goals and 79 assists. He had 17 goals and 14 assists in 56 games last season.
After the clock struck zero on Saturday’s deadline to match the Hurricanes’ offer sheet, the Canadiens wasted no time filling the gap by obtaining Dvorak. The draft picks shipped to Arizona were basically offset by the compensation received for Kotkaniemi, which were a first-rounder and third-rounder in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
“Carolina has used a tool available to them in the collective bargaining agreement and we accept that decision,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement.
It should be noted that the Coyotes will receive the better of Montreal’s two first-round draft picks in 2022.
Dvorak brings more than just point production as well, considering he’s averaged a faceoff percentage of 51.5 percent in his five-year career, and was 553-for-1,062 last season, coming in at a 52.1 percent clip. His career Corsi For comes in at 49.6 percent, and he led all Coyotes forwards last season, averaging 18:24 time on ice.
Montreal is receiving a natural-born leader, as the American led the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) London Knights to the 2015-16 championship as captain. That same season he led the OHL in goals, was a first team All-Star selection, won a Memorial Cup, and captured the bronze medal at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
Coyotes Position Themselves To Accelerate Rebuild
Arizona GM Bill Armstrong is already well into (yet another) rebuild in The Valley, but the 2022 first-rounder will certainly help bolster the team’s already-crowded draft positioning. Remember, the Coyotes obtained a first-round pick from the Colorado Avalanche after trading goalie Darcy Kuemper, so the most recent transaction gives them three first-rounders in next year’s draft.
Though Dvorak’s presence will be missed, Armstrong received a great return for a player that has never eclipsed 40 points in a single season.
“On behalf of the entire Arizona Coyotes organization, we would like to thank Christian for everything he did for the organization the last five seasons,” Armstrong said in a release. “We wish him the best in the future.”
The Coyotes have 12 total picks heading into next season’s draft, including five second-rounders, as well as the aforementioned three first-rounders. Needless to say, though it’s tough to see Dvorak leave the only NHL team he’s played for to this point, the return made it possible for Armstrong and the Coyotes to accelerate the team’s rebuild, and begin stockpiling talent in its pipeline.
A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes contributor for The Hockey Writers.