The NHL Trade Deadline is now less than two weeks away which means it’s time to kick off our annual Trade Odds series. First up is a look at the IceCaps, beginning with the goalies and defencemen.
Please note that all odds are independent of each other. Players on minor league deals are not given odds even though they could be dealt in an AHL trade.
Zach Fucale: 10% – While Fucale has played better in recent weeks, his overall season performance hasn’t been strong enough to change his overall outlook as a prospect to the point where other teams may covet him. He’s still a long-term project and between that and the continued uncertainty with Carey Price, it’s unlikely that he gets dealt this season.
AHL Contract: Eddie Pasquale – He’s a fan favourite in St. John’s and has some experience in a playoff push at the AHL level. With Fucale being a rookie, they’ll want to keep Pasquale and his experience around.
Mac Bennett: 35% – He’s not this high because he’s playing well enough for other teams to want him. No, he’s here because with the Habs being at 48 contracts, they may have to move out a player that isn’t playing now and likely won’t be back next season to match the number of contracts coming back in a trade. That’s pretty much where Bennett is as he’s now a regular in St. John’s press box with an expiring deal.
Dalton Thrower: 15% – Thrower is looking like a bust of a selection and he’s having a hard time even succeeding in the ECHL. With another year on his contract, I could see Marc Bergevin trying to attach Thrower to a deal with one of their NHL rental players merely to try to get out of the final season to open up a contract slot for next season.
Joel Hanley: 15% – While he has played regularly over the last couple of months after seeing some time as a healthy scratch, I don’t see the Habs envisioning Hanley as more than minor league depth moving forward. He’s another candidate to move simply to match the number of contracts in a trade.
Darren Dietz: 10% – It’s his final season of waiver exemption and Dietz hasn’t really taken the strides forward towards solidifying himself as part of the future plans for the organization. Dietz is a candidate for a ‘change of scenery’ type of trade but those tend to happen more in the offseason.
Morgan Ellis: 10% – Considering how much he has improved this season, there should be a few teams that have taken notice. However, Montreal should also be one of those teams and they will probably want to keep Ellis around as a result. He’s a candidate for a call-up if some blueliners off the NHL roster get traded.
Victor Bartley: 5% – Considering he’s a UFA and that he’d be a rental depth defenceman, this probably seems low but given the comments made at the time of the trade and even after, it seems like the organization is genuinely interested in Bartley. I think he’s first in line to be recalled if a trade is made that sends a Montreal defender out.
Ryan Johnston: 5% – While his play in his own end has left a lot to be desired so far, Johnston’s play with the puck on his stick and his offensive instincts make him an intriguing, albeit undersized, prospect. I think the Canadiens haven’t seen enough either way in the month that he has played to make a determination about his NHL future so they’ll want more time to evaluate him meaning he’s likely to stay.
Brett Lernout: 5% – Lernout has held his own as a rookie and will still have three years left on his deal after the season (yes, he is eligible to slide despite being in the minors). That’s going to make him appealing to other organizations but as a player projected to play with some skill and grit on the back end, Bergevin should be wanting to hold on to him.
AHL Contracts: Travis Brown and Josiah Didier – Brown is a full-time ECHL’er that’s just there for injury depth while Didier had taken hold of a regular spot in the lineup before getting hurt. Neither player will carry much value in any AHL trade unless someone really wants to take a closer look at Didier.
Goaltending: Medium – With Dustin Tokarski dealt earlier, there is no depth beyond Fucale and Pasquale. As a result, the Beast (their ECHL affiliate) have been playing musical chairs between the pipes and are on goalies #6 and 7 right now. Adding another one to the fold that can help Brampton and give the IceCaps a bit of insurance should another injury hit would be useful.
Defence: Extremely high – Right now, St. John’s defence corps is lousy compared to other teams around the league. When you consider that Mark Barberio won’t be back and that one of Bartley or Ellis is likely to be recalled after the deadline (unless you don’t think a Montreal d-man gets moved), it’s only going to get worse. They could use two quality players on the blueline which would go a long way towards helping their playoff hopes.