Since the Canadiens have been challenging for top spot in the Eastern Conference the fans and media alike have been drooling over the possibilities of who the Canadiens GM Bob Gainey could pick up at the trade deadline to improve the team further and possibly put them over the top and become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
There have been many names linked to the Canadiens so far in rumors, but let’s try to figure out who is likely and who is not, out of the “big names” that have been made available.
Sundin: Fletcher has a job to do pure and simple: get as much as possible for any player moved. Hopefully, Habs GM Bob Gainey will not pay the asking price for a 2 month rental player.
Sundin himself said yesterday that he will not commit to any team past this season for health and mental reasons and blah blah blah. As an NHL GM, you cannot pay the HUGE asking price unless a cup parade follows this move and I’m not sure that list of teams includes the Canadiens.
Will it happen??: Not a chance.
Hossa: The stumbling block here is also a contract. For the same reasons as Sundin you can’t take the risk unless he can be re-signed to an extension. With that said, if he will sign, and the price
isn’t the entire farm, you go for it.
Will it happen?? In a word, NO. For some reason I can’t see him walking down the hall to change jerseys before the Habs and Atlanta play just 4 hours after the deadline….Although, it would be easier and cheaper then flying him in after the fact.
Richards: Here it is easier, sort of. Richards is signed, and Richards is a top two line centre; the problem is what the return would have to be and being able to justify his enormous contract for his production.Yes he plays on one of the worst teams in the NHL, but that fact only accounts for his + / – stats and not his lack of offensive production. On offense, Tampa still has one of the strongest top two lines in the league and his “average” numbers among top players is not a positive at this point in the season. Tampa Bay has made it public that any deal they make will have to include a defenseman. Since Richards is an upper echelon player, you would have to assume that the defenseman they want/need is also an upper echelon top four type defenseman.
Will it happen?? Could, but there are alot of things to consider in a short time so don’t hold your breath.
Tanguay: This could be the easiest deal to make and most likely to happen. Tanguay is likely the odd man out because of cap reasons for the Flames even though Langkow and Huselius are
UFA’s at the end of the season. The current rumored deal is Ryder and a pick. If it was in Montreal’s court to either accept or turn down, I think Tanguay would have been in his first game for the Canadiens last night vs Columbus (and boy did we need him). This deal is likely sitting on Sutter’s desk until he has exhausted all his options, and then who knows what he will do. Tanguay’s contract is just over $5M and fits more easily then a $7M+ deal from Richards or Hossa.
Will it happen?? It could be the easiest deal to make, but Sutter holds the cards, and that changes everything.
Jokinen: In a “pure hockey deal” this could happen as well. For those of you unfamiliar with the “pure hockey deal” terminology, this basically means that Florida does not need to trade him for any real reason aside from a good return on an asset to improve the hockey team. Florida is under no financial restrictions, and Olli is not a pending UFA that might not re-sign like the Thrasher’s and Marian Hossa’s situation . Jokinen is signed at a very reasonable $5M+ for two more years and is really the most valuable player available this deadline season.
Will it happen?? :If Gainey can justify a package including at least Higgins, a top prospect and a first round pick then there is no reason it can’t happen by 3pm on tuesday.
Montreal appears to be in a great position to make deals having the depth in a prospect pool covering all positions, but the questions will always remain now and after the deadline; How much do you give up in the future for a limited chance now?
Maybe the move made by Gainey and co. will be less dramatic. Picking up Bobby Holik, or other potential UFA’s like Huselius, or Langkow from the Flames, it does seem more like the Canadiens style. Although, Gainey does seem to like surprising people, and maybe he will pick up someone “off the board” for the deadline. Didn’t Lecavalier say something about winning a Cup in Montreal recently??
Of course all of this is speculation and trying to look at each situation as logically as possible, but we all know that logic and reason is not a common trait in deadline deals or the hockey world by and large; Just ask Joe Thornton.