Hughes talks about Petry, Byron, Price and Slafkovsky

MONTREAL — Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes spoke to the media via Zoom on Thursday afternoon after the free agent market opened.

Here are some excerpts from his press briefing:

Hughes about swapping Jeff Petry :

We are still working. We are talking to some teams about Jeff Petry. It’s our priority to trade him, if we can make a trade that suits us too. Jeff is an important defender in our team. He’s not a player we’re looking to trade because of his game. It’s because of his family situation. If we’re going to trade him, we need to get some salary cap flexibility. It is important. Secondly, we could also get a player or a prospect who could help us be better in the future.

Video: Kent Hughes on the free agent market

Hughes on the type of trade he’s trying to make to get more space:

We can achieve our goal in several ways. We’re not looking to withhold salary or give up hopes or draft picks for another team to take Jeff Petry. Jeff is a very good defender. We don’t have much depth in defense at the moment, so if we trade him, we need to improve our team now and for the future.

Hughes on the striker’s status Paul Byron :

It’s a possibility [qu’il puisse manquer le camp d’entraînement]. We don’t know 100%. I know he had a minor procedure, and we have to wait and see how he reacts to an injection. We’re waiting to see how his body reacts to that. There is a risk that it will not be ready in September.

Video: TOR@MTL: Byron breaks the tie at the end of the game

Hughes on his level of confidence that he can move Petry:

We can make an exchange. We had trades available on Wednesday, and at the end of the day, it’s all about finding the right trade for the Montreal Canadiens. If we are able to find it, we will. Otherwise, Jeff will have to return to Montreal and play here. We love him as a player. I think he likes everything about Montreal, apart from the complications from a family point of view. We will keep trying. It’s not something that has to happen today or tomorrow. It could happen in a week, in a month, and we will continue to work in this direction. The exchange profile could take many forms. There’s more than one way for us to accomplish what we need to accomplish in this exchange, but we’re not going to do it until it works for us too.

Hughes on goalkeeper status Carey Price after his injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP):

You have to give the injection time to have the desired effect, then when it comes back [à l’entraînement], there will be a progression of rehabilitation and a return to activity as you go. We are always in the same position with him, that is, we observe how his knee reacts and if there is a particular point or exercise that triggers the inflammation again and makes it difficult for him to be a full-time goalkeeper. I don’t know if I have the answer to the question of what the exact schedule would be for him [en termes d’entraînement hors saison]. From our point of view, whether he will be ready in September, October or November is less important than finding a more permanent solution to the situation: Is he capable of being a full-time goalkeeper in the NHL or not? When we have this answer, we will be fixed.

Video: VGK@MTL, #3: Price releases the pad against Tuch

Hughes on the plan for first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky:

We’re going to take it a week at a time, a month at a time. I think the goal is for him to come back in early August and train here, skate here, work with the development group here, get to know team players and get used to life in Montreal and North America.

Hughes on Slafkovsky’s move to North America in the near future:

I’m not worried about it because he left his house very early. I believe that at 14 he went to Austria and then to Finland. He already plays against men. He is physically ready for it. I am very impressed with his person and the way he handles things. He is very mature for an 18 year old. The question for us is less to bring him to North America than to manage his year to ensure that we protect him in his development.

Video: Slafkovsky and Mesar chat with supporters

Hughes on possible additions to hockey operations:

I think after the positions for advanced statistics, we will definitely be looking for an assistant coach. This is another thing that needs to be in place before the start of the season. We also need to hire some scouts on the professional side. As for an assistant general manager, there is no plan at this time or a need at this time, but we will continue to assess the situation. There is the possibility of making other additions, but I don’t know if they are at the top of the list here because I want to learn more.

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