With the 2014 trade deadline just a day away, it’s time to finish off our
annual trade odds series. Which of the Habs’ forwards are most likely to
be moved while who is most likely to stay put? Out of their prospect pool,
which forwards would be of interest to other teams that the Canadiens could view
as potentially expendable?
Lars Eller: 25%: Although this would be selling low, I don’t think the
Habs would just be dumping him for a pick, a prospect, or another underachiever.
GM Marc Bergevin seems to be more interested in dealing for core players and of
the Habs’ long-term group up front, I think Eller could be let go to acquire the
right replacement player for the core.
Rene Bourque: 15%: Yes, he has struggled and there aren’t teams lining
up to take on his contract. However, given that he is a bigger forward
with some offensive skill, there are probably teams out there willing to trade a
slightly more expensive player who isn’t performing. From Montreal’s perspective, paying more money but getting more production out of Bourque’s spot
has to be seriously considered.
Michael Bournival: 15%: Bournival’s hold on a roster spot had been
iffy before suffering a concussion (which he is close to returning from) and
with a full healthy lineup, he may be #14 on the forward depth chart.
Since he’s still young, cheap, and has upside, there should be teams calling
about him and while he has been a nice surprise this year, he’s far from
untouchable. As a finishing piece to a trade, Bergevin shouldn’t hesitate
to part with him.
George Parros: 10%: Each year, there’s usually a trade or two
involving a goon getting dealt to a team that thinks they need one.
Considering that Montreal really isn’t using Parros and that he hasn’t really
done much of anything, I could see them moving him on to another team and
recovering the 7th round pick they spent to get him.
Daniel Briere: 10%: There have been thoughts that he may have asked
out, though I don’t think they’re true. Given the role he’s in, however,
the Habs may want to try to get out of the last year of his deal and could use
his playoff prowess to try and get some value in return. Briere holds all
of the cards though as he has a full no-move clause.
Brian Gionta: 10%: It’s very rare that a team that is sitting nicely
in a playoff position deals away their captain but the idea can’t be entirely
discounted. The odds of him returning don’t appear to be too high next
year and if the Habs are in on any of the high-salaried options out there,
flipping him to offset the cap charge is certainly an option.
Brandon Prust: 10%: While he fills a need on this team, Prust’s role has been diminished this year while his shoulder issues are a
lingering concern. That, coupled with his contract, means he shouldn’t be
untouchable. With teams around the league always looking to add grit, I
could see the team parting with him if they have reservations about him
returning to the level of play he provided last year.
Travis Moen: 10%: Given his playoff pedigree based on his Anaheim
days, there’s bound to be a few GM’s kicking the tires about his availability.
Considering he has struggled this year (he quietly has just one goal), Bergevin
may be amenable to the idea of moving him and freeing up a bit of salary cap
space beyond this season.
Tomas Plekanec: 5%: Yet again, he’ll be one of the Habs’ most coveted
forwards by other teams. As always though, he’ll be rather hard to get.
Like a few others on this list, the odds of him being dealt would be a bit
higher in the offseason as he shoulders so much of the load on the current team;
he would be really tough to replace for the stretch run. Unless it’s a
home run type of deal, he’ll stay put.
Ryan White: 5%: After hurting the team more than he helped last year,
White has reeled his game in this season and has played reasonably well for the
most part. Given that his contract is cheap, there may be a couple of
teams interested and considering that White is more or less at his ceiling
development-wise, he’s far from untouchable.
David Desharnais: 5%: A few months ago, he’d have been here with the
thought that no one was going to take his contract. Now, he’s this low
because he has rediscovered his offensive form and at his $3.5 M salary,
Desharnais may be a bit of a bargain, particularly considering his chemistry
Dale Weise: 5%: Considering that Montreal just acquired him and that
both Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien publicly talked about him filling an
important need for this team, it’s fairly safe to assume that they’re not going
to turn around and deal him just a half-dozen games later.
Brendan Gallagher: 2%: In a lot of ways, he’s the heart and soul of
the Canadiens with the aggression and enthusiasm that he plays each game with.
Add that with a cheap (rookie) contract and the fact he is one of their better
scorers and you have the makings of a near-untouchable player.
Alex Galchenyuk: 1%: Although he has been a bit more inconsistent in
2013-14, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that doesn’t think that he’s the
future of this franchise up front. Management knows it too and will be
building around him, not using him in a trade to build for the present.
Max Pacioretty: 1%: He’s among the NHL’s top goal scorers and is
signed at a very nice contract ($4.5 M cap hit) for the next half-decade.
While that will have probably every team inquiring about his availability,
that’s also why he’s going to be staying in Montreal for the foreseeable future.
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
forward prospects that the Habs have.
Sebastian Collberg: It’s another year of stalled development as he has
slid even further down Frolunda’s depth chart. His raw offensive skills
are what got him drafted and rated as a first round pick less than two years ago
so there will be teams out there that still believe in Collberg’s potential.
If the Habs make a bigger move at the deadline, I think there’s a good chance
Artturi Lehkonen: One of the Habs’ 2nd round picks from the last
draft, Lehkonen has demonstrated this season that despite his size and
concussion history, perhaps he should have been taken a bit higher than 55th
overall. Before the season, I think most would have put Collberg ahead of
him on the depth chart of the future but now, I’m not so sure. There will
be teams asking for him for sure.
Michael McCarron: He hasn’t had as much of an impact as many had hoped
but McCarron has shown signs of improvement lately and still has the
characteristics that this team is lacking and this management team seems to
particularly covet. He’s not untouchable but I highly doubt he’s being
shopped around either.
Brady Vail: There have been rumblings that despite his strong OHL
season, the Canadiens are leaning towards not signing their 2012 4th rounder.
If that’s the case, they would be wise to deal him now (he’d be the type of
secondary prospect for some of the lower tier rental-type players out there)
while they can still get some tangible value in return.