With the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline now less than a week away, scouts from every
team will be out in full force to take one last look at some potential trade
acquisitions. Just who could those players be from the Habs? Our
annual trade odds series continues with Montreal’s goalies and defencemen, plus
some comments on the Habs’ prospects at those positions.
Peter Budaj: 2%: In Budaj, the Habs have an above average backup who
is great in the room and has a good relationship with the starter. Even
better is that he has another year on his contract at a pretty good cap hit of
$1.4 million. I can’t see GM Marc Bergevin wanting to move him.
Carey Price: 1%: Price has been dominant for most of the season and is
coming off a stellar effort for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics. In my
opinion, he has been the MVP for the Habs so far this year which means there’s
next to no chance that he gets dealt.
Francis Bouillon: 15%: The veteran blueliner has suggested that he’d
like to keep playing beyond this year. Given that he’s rarely playing now,
his NHL future probably won’t be in Montreal. At this time, there are
teams looking for veteran depth and there may be a few teams that would inquire
if the price was low enough (think a late round pick). If that’s all the
Habs could get though, might they be better off keeping him as depth for
Andrei Markov: 10%: Given that he plays 25 minutes a night and that
Montreal is right in the thick of things in the playoff race, I don’t think
Bergevin will be actively shopping him. However, I put him here ahead of
several other d-men in case contract talks are really not going well while
there’s always the possibility that a desperate team is willing to overpay.
If I had to guess what happens, he will stay past the deadline and not have a
contract extension signed.
Josh Gorges: 5%: I can envision a scenario where the team may want to
move him and try to find someone who can play a similar role that’s a bit
cheaper or to fill another area of need. However, a deal of that ilk is
more likely to occur during the offseason given the effect that dealing one of the
teams’ leaders would have in the room.
Davis Drewiske: 5%: This may seem high considering that he last played
in April of last season but his contract for next year gives him a bit of value.
If a team is going to carry an extra defenceman, he may as well be cheap or
content with his role and Drewiske meets both of those criteria. He’s
eligible to go on a conditioning stint to Hamilton which would probably be
beneficial to help get him in game shape and which could help (or hurt) his
Douglas Murray: 5%: As much as some are hoping for him to be dealt,
the lack of size and strength on the blueline in general suggests to me that
they’re most likely to keep him. Unless Jarred Tinordi shows that he is
more than ready to assume the bruising role in the next week (and considering he
doesn’t do that regularly in Hamilton, that’s highly unlikely), I think Montreal
will want to keep Murray around.
Alexei Emelin: 2%: Although he has struggled considerably at times
this year, he still is one of the few physical defencemen on a team lacking in
that regard. Plus, Emelin’s new contract has yet to kick in and it’s
widely frowned upon to trade a player before his recently-signed extension
actually comes into effect.
P.K. Subban: 1%: He’s the key player on the present and future
bluelines for this team. The only way I could see Subban being traded is
if they’re miles apart in contract talks. Even then, if they’re going to
trade him for that reason, an offseason deal makes a lot more sense than one
between now and the 5th. He’s staying put.
As always, I won’t assign trade odds to these players as they’re practically
impossible to guess. However, here are a few thoughts on some of the
defence/goalie prospects that the Habs have.
Mac Bennett: After a slow start to the year, Michigan’s senior captain
has picked up in recent weeks. He’s likely to turn pro before the end of
the AHL season (once his college campaign is over) and should attract some
interest. I’m hopeful the Habs keep him as his skating and puck moving
ability are elements that Hamilton’s defence corps solely lacks most nights but
those strengths will catch the eye of other GM’s as well.
Zach Fucale: I didn’t get why he slipped into the 2nd round on draft
day and I still don’t now. I’m sure there are quite a few teams who have
called or will call about his availability but given the lack of goalie depth in
the system, he may be close to untouchable…and that’s a good thing.
Magnus Nygren: I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when
Nygren was sent back to the Swedish league. Was the loan amicable or not?
Is he willing to return next year, or even this year once the SHL season ends?
Answers to these questions would indicate the Habs’ level of interest in trading
him as well as the interest of other teams as quite frankly, his offensive
ability makes him an intriguing project. Of the prospects listed here, I
think he’s the most likely to be dealt.
Dalton Thrower: His rebound overage season in junior should have him
back on the radar of other teams. Depending on what the Canadiens’ plan is
for some of their other defensive prospects (sign Bennett or not, whether or not
to sign Josiah Didier a year early, will Nygren be back, etc), he could be
available and would carry some value as a secondary piece in a bigger deal or in
a trade for a lower line forward.