Insider: Utah Ready To Make Yet Another Big Splash With UFA Defenseman

The Utah Hockey Club said they were going to be aggressive in beefing up their roster heading into their first season in Salt Lake, and so far they have not disappointed. Two huge trades on Saturday landed them an all-new top-pairing on the blueline, as they acquired Mikhail Sergachev and John Marino. 

But they're not done upgrading their defense just yet, according to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, who had this to say about Utah after Day 2 of the Draft was complete:

I still think there’s some people who believe they are going to be in on Brandon Montour if he hits the market from Florida.

"I haven't been known for my patience," said billionaire Utah HC owner Ryan Smith on the eve of the Draft. That's certainly clear at this point. 

Montour is an impending unrestricted free agent, and is still fresh off helping the Panthers take home the Stanley Cup. The 30-year-old right-shot d-man is coming off a 3-year, $3.5 million AAV deal, but he is due to at least double his pay, and then some. AFP Analytics projects Montour at landing a $7.7 million AAV over a six-year contract. 

He had a drop-off in his offensive game this season, recording 33 points in 66 games, after exploding for a 73-point campaign in 2022-23, but nevertheless, will be a wanted man if the Panthers aren't able to re-up with him by Monday and he becomes a free agent. With trade rumors surrounding Aaron Ekblad, it would be hard to imagine Florida letting Montour go as well. But stranger things have happened, and Ryan Smith is lurking. 

If Utah is able to land Montour as well as their big trades completed on Saturday, they will have themselves quite the formidable top-four on defense, with whoever lines up with the new recruits. 

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