With a flurry of trades dominating NHL headlines this month, and the February 28 trade deadline only 13 days away, it’s time to take a look at what Montreal Canadiens’ GM Pierre Gauthier might do to bolster his roster.
Besides the Philadelphia Flyers and possibly the Boston Bruins, the Eastern Conference doesn’t have any “ELITE” teams, and therefore any team that makes the playoffs can go on a playoff run if they get hot at the right time. Having said that; it makes sense for the Habs to address some needs via trade, but it doesn’t make sense to sell the farm to try and win the Cup because the odds of that happening are still slim. According to CapGeek.com, the Montreal Canadiens can add a player with a cap hit of just over $4 million.
1 – TOP 6 WINGER
I can’t figure out why people are so adamant that the Habs should be trying to trade for Stephen Weiss out of Florida. He’s a good player, but the team is set at the center ice position for this year with Plekanec, Desharnais, Gomez, Halpern. What they really need is a winger to play on the top 2 lines to replace Andrei Kostitsyn, who absolutely needs to be traded at this point. It doesn’t need to be an impact player, but at least someone who will work hard, can add some size and put the puck in the net.
SUGGESTED TARGETS: Erik Cole, Milan Hejduk, Jakub Voracek, Dustin Penner, Cory Stillman, Milan Michalek, Devin Setoguchi, JP Dumont, Brad Boyes
TRADE CONDITION: Andrei Kostitsyn must be going the other way
2 – TOP 4 DEFENSEMAN
The Habs seem to have 3 good pairings on D in Gill-Subban, Hamrlik-Wiz, Spacek-Weber; but the problem is in a long playoff series, they don’t have any depth if one of them gets injured. Alex Picard has done some good things this season, but he is not an NHL regular. Also; the fact that 3 of the D are over 35 years old is a concern too. The Habs need someone to strengthen the top 2 pairings and log some big minutes, especially considering the depth on the top 3 lines of teams like Philly and Boston. The supply of D who fit this description is very limited; therefore the demand and asking price are expected to be high.
SUGGESTED TARGETS: Chris Phillips, Tomas Kaberle
TRADE CONDITION: Only trade for Phillips or Kaberle if you are confident you can sign them to a contract extension.
Let’s take the simplest scenario to see how this would play out; Montreal and Ottawa strike a deal that sees Milan Michalek and Chris Phillips head to Montreal in exchange for a 1st round pick, Kostitsyn and a good forward prospect. In this scenario, Montreal would also need to send a player down to the AHL, which would likely mean Picard and one of Eller/Pyatt for Cap reasons.
After a trade like this, Montreal would line up like this in the playoffs…
Eller/Pyatt (13th F)
Weber (7th D)
I don’t know about you but I certainly like Montreal’s chances a lot more if they ice a lineup like that.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.