The final part of our Writers Weigh In trade deadline preview series focuses
on who should be trade bait for Montreal. Some fans want to see the core
get a boost but to do so, one of the players from the core may have to be let
go. Others want to see depth pieces added and shipped out. Our
writers offer up their thoughts on what Habs they believe should be dealt.
The writers were asked the following: If you could trade one player off
of the current roster, who would it be and why? Note that for the sake
of not having everyone pick the obvious, no one was allowed to pick Tomas Kaberle, who recently cleared waivers and appears destined for a compliance
buyout in the summer. Here are their responses.
Save trading Kaberle to free up some cap space, there isn’t an easy
answer to who would be the best candidate to be traded. The players we’d like
to see traded won’t likely fetch a decent return, and one must always consider
messing up chemistry in the locker room. That all said, I think that the
obvious answer would be Yannick Weber. Weber has fallen steadily on the depth
chart since arriving in Montreal, and honestly, deserves a fresh start
elsewhere. Since I can’t imagine anyone coveting Weber greatly, it would seem
unlikely that a team would trade anyone decent in return; it’d likely be a
similar under-achieving player in return. If such a possibility exists, or if
a 3rd round pick or higher is available, I’d be all for trading Weber.
Matt Gauthier: I really like all the
players on the roster and it is difficult to envision any of them leaving.
It’s really a great group of guys that are all contributing and working hard.
If one needs to be sacrificed, it is probably going to be Lars Eller. I
believe his value has increased considerably this season and there are not
many good young centers like him in the NHL. With Desharnais and Plekanec
established for the long term, plus
the presence in the system of potential great 3rd line centers, Lars may
become expendable. He could be replaced by a player that would be less
creative offensively but who would improve other aspects of the team.
Brian La Rose: The easy answer is Weber
who has played all of two games this season and appears to have no future in
the organization. That said, his value in any trade is more or less as a
throw-in or for a late round pick/minor leaguer. That’s no fun to talk
about so let’s move on to another player.
Ryan White would be my selection which I’m sure will
catch some by surprise since he is one of the few physical players the
Canadiens have. That said, ever since he was benched for his second
stupid mistake, he more or less has stopped doing what made him useful.
He is now hesitant to throw a hit and doesn’t seem interested in fighting.
Yes, he is still above average on the draw but Jeff Halpern can take care of
that this year while there are options in the system and free agency to cover
that element next season. White has a couple of years of RFA status left
which could interest a selling team. If they’re to move him, the Habs
will need to acquire a physical player back; a hard hitting depth UFA rental
for White is a deal that would make sense. It’s pretty clear the
coaching staff has little trust in him so it would be a good time to move
White, who no longer appears to be part of the future plans, elsewhere.
Alex Létourneau: Yannick Weber, even though he’s on injured
reserve (although he has declared himself to be healthy). There’s simply no
room for him anymore. Raphael Diaz pretty much showed he’s a better version of
Weber last year and was doing plenty to substantiate that this season until
getting knocked out against Ottawa with no return date in view. Montreal has the
depth at defence barring a horrific slew of injuries. I would even take a late
round draft pick or a depth guy for the Hamilton Bulldogs as, realistically,
that’s probably all he’s worth. He’s a restricted free agent after this season so maybe trade
his rights or something along those lines but there’s no way he’s kept around.
Anyone who makes Tomas Kaberle a viable defensive option shouldn’t be around.