The next part of our trade deadline preview focuses on the forward situation
for Montreal. Current injuries to Brandon Prust, Rene Bourque, and Ryan
White have tested the Habs’ depth up front and many expect GM Marc Bergevin to
make a move or two before April 3rd. If that does happen, what players
could be involved going the other way?
Please note that all odds are independent of each other. In other words,
if someone gets dealt from the above list, all other odds basically get thrown out the
Ryan White: 35%: This may seem interesting considering most feel
toughness is Montreal’s biggest need but he likely isn’t in the lineup anyways
when everyone is healthy. The future upside with him doesn’t appear to be
there either, it looks like his ceiling is a fourth liner. He has a couple
of RFA years remaining which should make him an option for rebuilding teams.
He’s the type of player I could see moved for a rental, a deal that helps now
and doesn’t take away from the long term core, something that White probably is
no longer a part of.
Travis Moen: 25%: His experience and locker room presence would
interest pretty much any team but the three remaining years will weed out some
of the potential suitors. The contract is why I have him this high,
Bergevin has already made one move with the lower salary cap next year being a
key factor, it’s not unrealistic to think he might do so again. I believe
the team would require a physical player who can kill penalties to move him
though and there may not be many of those readily available.
Lars Eller: 15%: His name has been the most discussed when it comes to
the Habs and trades, dating all the way back to training camp. Some have
reported that other GM’s have called about him more than any other player on the
roster. I don’t think Bergevin particularly wants to move him but if he is
garnering that much interest, some team may offer up a return that’s too good to
pass up for him.
Brendan Gallagher: 10%: If the Habs do look to go after an impact
veteran that has some time left beyond this year on his contract, you can be
rest assured that Gallagher’s name will come up very quickly as someone the
other team will covet in return. He’s not someone I would expect to be
shopped around any but I don’t feel he’s an untouchable either if the right
player becomes available elsewhere. It would have to be a significant
player coming back though.
Colby Armstrong: 10%: A players’ reputation has a tendency to stick
around regardless of whether or not a player still actually plays that way.
Accordingly, Armstrong’s name around the league will still be thought of by some
teams as a grinder which should have a couple of teams calling about him.
However, his presence in the room will likely deter Bergevin from wanting to
move him. That said, his spot is one that can be upgraded which means his
spot shouldn’t be secure.
Michael Ryder: 10%: It was reported earlier that Ryder and his agent
aren’t interested in discussing an extension during the season. I doubt
that would be much of a concern to Bergevin but it would present the opportunity
to re-deal him as a rental, provided the team acquires a replacement for him
beforehand. Given his production since joining the team though, I
doubt that will happen.
Tomas Plekanec: 10%: Giving Desharnais a long term extension earlier
this month has created a bit of a logjam at centre moving forward, presuming
Galchenyuk goes back to his natural position in the near future. The
extension pretty much rules out Desharnais getting dealt right away and Galchenyuk is a
core piece for years to come. If Eller doesn’t get dealt, it could be
Plekanec although it would take a substantial piece coming back to do the deal
before the deadline.
David Desharnais: 5%: It would be ‘bad form’ to give a player a four
year extension and then turn around and trade him a few weeks later but anything
is possible. Despite the new deal, he is considered by some to be one of
the weaker links of the core up front; if management feels the same way (and
extended him for cost certainty over anything else), I suppose he could go.
However, I’d expect to see him around for a while yet.
Brian Gionta: 5%: If you view the Habs as a contender, there is one
common element that all playoff contenders share. They don’t trade their
captain at or near the trade deadline. Don’t expect Montreal to buck that
trend. The offseason could be a possibility depending on how things go
between now and then but not before.
Rene Bourque: 5%: Had he not suffered a setback in his concussion
recovery, he’d be a fair bit higher on the list. At this point it would be
very risky to acquire him unless this setback isn’t as serious as presently
speculated. If he is able to return before the end of the year, it will be
a nice late addition for the Canadiens, almost like a deadline acquisition.
Brandon Prust: 5%: He has been better than advertised and it’s hard to
fathom a scenario where the team would trade him. I don’t think he can be
placed in the completely untouchable category like Galchenyuk though so he has
slightly higher odds here.
Max Pacioretty: 1%: His long-term extension which kicks in after this
season is looking more and more team friendly by the day. That’s not the
type of value Bergevin will be looking to move and Pacioretty isn’t the type of
player that’s going to be made available either.
Jeff Halpern: 0.1%: In order to even consider trading him, the Habs
would have to run him through the waiver wire again prior to April 3rd and he
would have to clear. Even supposing for a minute that Montreal would do
this (they won’t), why would another team fail to claim him and then trade for
him? The odds of that happening are incredibly slim.
Galchenyuk: 0.1%: Although his hot start to the season has long cooled
off, there’s no reason for the organization to sour on him. He remains a
useful player in the lineup now and will be even better for years to come.
He’s an untouchable.
It would be too difficult to hypothesize odds for the unsigned prospects
but here are a few that would have some value around the league and thus could
be in play or sought by other teams.
Tim Bozon: Montreal’s third rounder from 2012 followed up a quality rookie
season with an even better one on the scoresheet. I’m not sure he’s part
of the core group of younger forwards in the system though. As a result, I
believe that if a team is coveting a forward prospect over a draft pick in a
deal, he could very well be the one going the other way.
Sebastian Collberg: Unlike Bozon I believe Collberg is part of the core group
moving forward. He was rated as a first rounder by lots of scouts and
draft pundits when he had a
rough year in 2011-12; after a better campaign in 2012-13, I don’t think that
has changed in the minds of many, including the Habs’ management. He’s not
untouchable like the player selected in the first round last year (Galchenyuk)
but I think Montreal would be requiring a significant longer-term asset to deal
Danny Kristo: The Hobey Baker finalist will finally be wrapping up his
college career in the coming days and is expected to sign with Montreal shortly
thereafter. I do believe there are teams out there that feel he can slide
into an NHL lineup pretty much right away which should make him one of the most
sought after Habs at the deadline. I think there’s a chance that he sees
time with Montreal before the year is done though so I expect Bergevin will not
be actively shopping him.