With the deadline less than 72 hours away, anticipation and speculation are rampant, as are the crazy ridiculous rumours of course. Last year, the Habs made a huge splash on the market, getting Alexei Kovalev and Jim Dowd in the days before the deadline. Could something like that happen this season? Hard to say now, but let’s have a look at who the Habs may want to move, and players other teams may want off the Montreal roster.
Rating System: There will be a trio of ratings out of 5, one for willingness to deal (Montreal’s perspective) and one for interest (other team’s perspective). 0 means no interest/willingness, 5 means high interest/willingness. Final rating will be the overall likelihood that the player would be traded.
Jose Theodore: Willingness (3), Interest (1)
Would the Habs like to unload Theo’s large contract? I’m sure they would, but in reality, they can’t. Injured players cannot be traded, and he’s on the IR. I’m sure some teams would want him, but how many want to trade for a player who may not be back until the playoffs? Likelihood: (0)
Cristobal Huet: Willingness (0), Interest (4)
Let’s put it like this: Why would the Habs want to trade him? Other teams will want him I’m sure, but it ain’t happening. Likelihood: (0)
Andrei Markov: Willingness (0), Interest (4)
Again, not really someone the Habs would want to part with, especially since he’s the closest the Habs have to a #1 d-man. Not going anywhere. Likelihood: (0)
Sheldon Souray: Willingness (2), Interest (3)
This is the first of a few interesting players. Yes, the Habs need help on D and trading him would go against what they need, but Souray arguably has the most value of the d-men the Canadiens may want to trade. His contract, although not great, isn’t bad either, and that could have some teams interested. All in all though, it’s hard to see him moving, unless the team is getting a significant upgrade in another area. Likelihood: (1)
Mathieu Dandenault: Willingness (3), Interest (2)
Dandenault hasn’t exactly panned out as the Habs had hoped, but he hasn’t been a complete disaster either. He would be a valuable 6th d-man for a contending team, but the contract (3 more years) will scare most off. Likelihood: (1)
Craig Rivet: Willingness (1), Interest (3)
Rivet’s had a nice consistent season, which is the exact reason Montreal will not want to move him, consistency is too big an issue with this team. Likelihood: (0)
Francis Bouillon: Willingness (1), Interest (4)
Undersized, yes, but he does get the job done. His contract is easy to swallow, which would increase the overall interest for him. He’s not one on Gainey’s immediate chopping list, but it wouldn’t blow me away if he was moved for some help at forward. Likelihood (1)
Mike Komisarek: Willingness (2), Interest (4)
Komisarek is one of the few pieces that could net a significant return by himself, cheap deal, young, and now he’s improving. Lots of teams out of contention will look at him as something they’d want if the Habs approach them for an upgrade, either at D or forward. Likelihood: (2)
Mark Streit: Willingness (3), Interest (3)
Streit hasn’t played a game for Montreal in about a month, so I’m sure he’s on the market. His performance at the Olympics increased his trade value, and he would be intriguing for a team looking to rebuild, lots of risk, lots of upside. Likelihood: (3)
Saku Koivu: No-trade clause, cannot be dealt.
Alexei Kovalev: Willingness (2), Interest (2)
Because of his contract, there will always be some interest in dealing him away for cap space. And, of course, there would be some interest from contending teams with cap space. Hard to justify dealing away your top point producer when you’re trying to make the playoffs though. Likelihood: (slightly better than 0)
Michael Ryder: Willingness (1), Interest (4)
What’s not to like from another team’s perspective? He’s young, cheap, and he scores. This is exactly why he’ll be in Montreal after 3 PM Thursday passes, UNLESS there’s an offer that blows Bob Gainey away. Likelihood: (slightly better than 0)
Chris Higgins: Willingness (0), Interest (5)
The way he’s been playing lately, who wouldn’t want him? Gainey has reportedly said though that he is going nowhere. I’ll take him for his alleged word. Likelihood: (0)
Mike Ribeiro: Willingness (4), Interest (2)
An under-achiever, the Habs would like to deal him and either get an upgrade at 2nd line C for him or allow Tomas Plekanec to take that role for the season. Problem is, with his alleged antics and iffy on-ice performance, teams aren’t banging on the door to get him. Likelihood: (2)
Richard Zednik: Willingness (3), Interest (4)
Here’s the ultimate wildcard. He’s proven before he can produce, particularly in the playoffs, so that has teams interested. His role is reducing in Montreal, so he’d be available. My prediction, if only 1 player is moved between now and Thursday at 3, it will be him. Likelihood: (3)
Jan Bulis: Willingness (2), Interest (4)
He’s the perfect add-on for any playoff team, very strong 2-way skills, and is a free agent at year’s end, so long-term contract isn’t an issue. But, since he’s getting the job done for the Habs, do they really want to move him? If the right deal comes along, it wouldn’t be too surprising. Likelihood: (2)
Alexander Perezhogin: Willingness (1), Interest (4)
Teams will want him if the Habs look to go and get a proven veteran player like Kovalev last season (well 2 years ago). However, the team has said they like how he’s progressing, so this may not be the perfect match. That being said, like Bulis, it certainly isn’t a stretch that he could go if there’s a deal Gainey really likes. Likelihood: (2)
Radek Bonk: Willingness (5), Interest (1)
If the Habs could find a suitor for him that doesn’t involve an equally bad contract coming back, the deal would be done by the time you finish reading this sentence. It’s not going to happen though. Likelihood: (0)
Steve Begin: Willingness (0), Interest (5)
Who wouldn’t want him? A cheap spark plug who can score the odd goal. Thing is though, the Habs want him too, he’s going nowhere. Likelihood: (0)
Tomas Plekanec: Willingness (0), Interest (4)
Young, cheap, rapidly improving, what’s not to like? Given that he would likely get a greater role if Ribeiro is dealt, it is very unlikely that Montreal will want to move him. Likelihood: (0)
Niklas Sundstrom: Willingness (4), Interest (3)
His role in Montreal has dropped to press box warmer barring an injury. That being said, he still is an effective penalty killer with an expiring contract, so there will some interest, particularly on a team struggling on the PK. Don’t be surprised to see him go. Likelihood: (3)
Aaron Downey: Willingness (4), Interest (1)
If someone wanted Downey, I’m sure the Habs would oblige. Raitis Ivanans or Peter Vandermeer from the Bulldogs could fill his 3-4 minute a game role just fine. Problem is though, what team looking to load up wants an enforcer who’s already been waived this season? Likelihood: (0)
Garth Murray: Willingness (3), Interest (1)
There’s a chance a team may like Murray as a young guy coming back, although his injury will scare most, if not all off. Likelihood: (0)
Now, let’s take a look at a few Bulldogs that could be moved as part of a trade. No ratings appear here.
Duncan Milroy: He has not progressed like the Habs had hoped when they drafted him, but he hasn’t been a bust either. There is still some upside for him, which may intrigue a team or 2.
Corey Locke: Given the depth down the middle, it doesn’t look like he’ll be in Montreal anytime soon. He does one thing and does it fairly well, score. Several teams may want to take a gamble with the small centreman, especially with the success of smaller players in the new NHL.
Peter Vandermeer, Johnathan Aitken, Jeff Paul: All have next to no value, unless a team wants them to help an AHL playoff wall. Despite the Bulldogs’ recent success, they’re still well out of the playoffs, so the team would have no problem parting with any of the vets.
Be sure to check back after the trade deadline for the HW Recap: Deadline edition, where we’ll evaluate all the trades, as well as the big winners and losers of the day’s events. The regular recap format will resume after that edition.