Canadiens trade draft picks, Fairbrother for Avalanche’s Alex Newhook

The Montreal Canadiens have traded for Colorado Avalanche forward Alex Newhook.

Colorado got the 31st and 37th picks in this week’s draft and defenceman Gianni Fairbrother from Montreal. The move clears potential salary cap space to try to keep pending free agent centre J.T. Compher, after the Avalanche acquired Ryan Johansen from Nashville over the weekend.

Newhook tallied 66 points (27, 39) in 159 games for the Avalanche.

He was selected by Colorado as the 16th overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Newhook is expected as a restricted free agent to get a raise from the US$925,000 he made last season. The Boston College product had four points in 12 games on Colorado’s 2022 Stanley Cup run.

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Montreal general manager Kent Hughes says Newhook, who battled for ice time on the star-laden Avalanche, will have a chance to develop into an impact player on a young Canadiens team under head coach Martin St. Louis.

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“It takes time for players (to develop) and it is harder to do that when you come to an experienced team,” Hughes said.

“We have the luxury as we go through this process that players can make mistakes … it’s just a different environment with the state that we’re in versus Colorado at this point.”

Fairbrother was the 77th overall pick by Montreal in the 2019 draft and has spent the last two season with the Laval Rockets.

He had eight points in 28 games for the AHL team but suffered a season-ending injury in a game against the Belleville Senators on Oct. 9, 2022.

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Fairbrother is under contract through next season at an NHL salary of $860,000 and $80,000 in the American Hockey League.

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