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Quotes of the day: Hughes | NHL.com

MONTREAL – The Canadiens announced Thursday that they have traded Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Evgenii Dadonov. Managing Director Kent Hughes spoke to the media following the announcement of the transaction.

Here are some excerpts from his press briefing held virtually.

Hughes explains the impact Weber had in the locker room:

I have always admired him from afar. I’d see him at the NHL awards show most summers in Las Vegas or things like that, and I’d say hello to him. And even though he wasn’t around often, his presence was definitely felt. I felt his presence. We talked to the players and everyone around, and I think that was one of the main things we heard from the players; that his absence created a leadership vacuum, that he was that kind of presence and really helped the team navigate off the ice. And it’s not everyday you see people like that. When we have some in the organization, we are lucky. And the few times I met him in Vancouver or Montreal, he seemed like a great guy, very quiet, unassuming‚Ķ It’s almost surprising to see a guy who plays so intensely and can play through pain and the significant injuries he’s had, while also being low-key and unassuming off the ice.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Shea Weber marked the team with his unconditional leadership. pic.twitter.com/B0XdkveN20


Hughes on Weber’s condition:

According to everything we heard from our doctors, he is in poor physical condition. I think I possibly mentioned that if I thought he was able to come back soon, we wouldn’t have traded him. We have always worked with the idea that Shea’s injuries are debilitating and make it impossible for him to return to the game.


Hughes on whether the trade could give the team more flexibility to move into the Draft and the opening of the free agent market:

On the one hand, we traded a player who had significant value on our payroll, but we would also have had the possibility of using the space on the long-term injured list when the season started. We lose a certain capacity by agreeing to take a salary, but we accept less. [Tout √©change futur] remains to be determined, because there is a lot of discussion and exploration of several ways to create flexibility or make changes. But I think I said from the beginning that everything we do or try to do is to try to put on the ice a team that can win on a regular or sustainable basis. Everything we do will be done, first and foremost, with this goal in mind. So when we make a trade like this, whether it limits us in the short term or not, I think it benefits us — it certainly does from a longer-term perspective, that is- i.e. for years two, three and four. I think what mattered most to us, but hopefully there will be more news to come in terms of changes.


Hughes describes the leadership role to be filled with Weber’s departure and the importance given to it:

I think the team was finding a lead, simply because he wasn’t there. But there is definitely a sense of ending that comes with this exchange. I was asked early on, when I accepted the job, if I thought a captain would be put in place. I believe him. It is however not something that I will decide unilaterally. It’s something we’ll be discussing with the coaching staff, but we’ve had time to observe, assess and talk to the players about who’s making their mark and who has the leadership and maturity to play this role in a market like Montreal.


Hughes on Dadonov:

We believe that Dadonov can bring an attacking element to our team. Of course, we need to continue to improve the team offensively. It is certain that he has a year left before becoming a free agent at the end of the year. But we would rather bring a player who can help us than trade a draft pick that can help us in the future.


Hughes about the possibility of a transaction involving Jeff Petry :

I don’t believe there is an imminent transaction. But I’m not saying there couldn’t be one by the Draft because two weeks ago I couldn’t have predicted that Shea would be traded either. Sometimes some things happen faster than others. It is certain that the teams are in the process of evaluating their needs, evaluating the players with whom they will want to agree or not, etc. So, we’ll see, but I can tell you that the phone is ringing more this week than last week, and I expect it to ring even more in the coming weeks.

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