A few months ago, the thought of selling at the trade deadline would have been dismissed as loony. However, that’s where the Habs find themselves with several players expected to move. Which ones will go? Our odds start with the goalies and defencemen.
Please note that all odds are independent of each other.
Ben Scrivens: 15% – His play with the Habs hasn’t been all that great but this is the time of year where a couple of teams will look to add a veteran third option. (Look at Montreal with Devan Dubnyk in the past.) For any deal to happen though, it would seem likely that the team would have to retain 50% of the remaining money Scrivens is owed and even doing that would only yield a late or conditional draft pick.
Mike Condon: 5% – As much as he has struggled lately, I don’t think many teams around the league have really changed their view of him. He’s a rookie who was asked to replace Price over a long period of time. That’s tough for anyone to do, let alone a rookie. I actually think there’s a decent chance Condon is traded (his contract is a nice asset) but the time for that deal to get done is in the offseason, not now.
Carey Price: 0.1% – The nightmare started when he was injured for the second time. Something tells me Marc Bergevin isn’t signing up for this to continue over the long haul which is what would happen if Price were to be traded. It’s safe to say he’s staying put.
Greg Pateryn: 25% – When the Habs extended Pateryn in July, it looked as if he was going to be part of the plans but his usage this season suggests otherwise. While he’s signed for two more years, it’s at a cheap rate that any team could fit in, even as a #7. If the team has soured on him (or views Barberio as the better fit as a #7 moving forward), they can probably get a mid-round pick at the deadline. They could also probably get that at the draft so it wouldn’t be shocking to see them hold on to him to see if he fares well with (presumably) more ice time down the stretch.
Alexei Emelin: 15% – As we all know, the playoffs are a lot more physical than the regular season and this is where someone like Emelin becomes a bit more valuable. With two years left after this at a fairly pricey rate ($4.1 M) though, he’s probably better suited for a player-player type of trade. Those moves tend to be more frequent in the offseason compared to now which also happens to be when Emelin’s NTC protection drops, making it a lot easier to trade him in the summer.
Andrei Markov: 15% – Of all the players who could move out of Montreal at the deadline, Markov is probably the closest fit to a ‘final piece of the puzzle’ type of player. The fact he has one year left after this lowers his value somewhat; the Habs would have to take money back for next year to get a deal done. His NTC is only a partial one and knowing it goes away entirely in July, I could see Bergevin approaching him to see if he’d waive for other teams as well if the market dictates that they can get value for him now. It won’t be an easy trade to make though because of the contract and Markov’s recent struggles.
Nathan Beaulieu: 10% – Given the uncertainty on the left side long-term and the lack of depth in the system, I don’t see the team being all that enthusiastic about moving Beaulieu. Yes, his development has been slow and he still is prone to some really poor decisions in his own end but he still is someone that should be viewed as part of the core moving forward. Given Montreal’s current situation, the only rationale to move someone like that is if it’s for another core player and I don’t see those types of moves happening by the end of the month.
Mark Barberio: 5% – He has done a nice job since getting recalled just after Christmas and has settled nicely into a 6/7 role. Perhaps more importantly, Barberio has played himself into the discussion beyond this season; he is a pending RFA that should be cheap next year as well. No other team will view Barberio as more than just depth so the Habs would be wise to just keep him as depth for themselves.
Jeff Petry: 2% – As much as he has struggled lately (before getting hurt), Petry is still thought of as a core guy long-term. Even if he wasn’t, with five years at #2 money left plus a full NTC, there’s pretty much no chance he’d be dealt in the coming days anyways.
P.K. Subban: 1% – Most years, he’d be at Price’s level in terms of the odds. However, his NMC/NTC comes into effect in May (as soon as he turns 27, not July 1st) so if Bergevin has any thoughts of trying to get out of Subban’s big contract, this has to be the time to do it. I can’t imagine the GM necessarily wanting to do that (he has told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that he doesn’t plan to trade him) but because of the pending trade restrictions, I have to allow for a slight chance that moving him could happen.
Tom Gilbert: 1%– He’s out for the year as a result of left knee surgery. No one’s trading for a UFA-to-be that isn’t going to play for them. The only way he moves now is if the Habs take on a big contract and need to send some offsetting money the other way. That doesn’t seem likely to happen.
Goaltending: Medium/Low – I think the Habs are nearing the point where continuing to play Condon at the NHL level is going to do more harm than good. He could strongly benefit from a stint in St. John’s to get some confidence back. Then there’s Scrivens who is more or less just a placeholder that isn’t part of the plans moving forward. If they move him or want to send Condon down for a bit, they might want to add a veteran #3 type of goalie (someone like Justin Peters, for example) to fill that vacated spot in the short-term.
Defence: Low – With Petry soon to return, Montreal will be back to eight healthy defencemen. With Gilbert gone for the year, they still have a full group of seven to work with (plus Victor Bartley on recall for the time being); they don’t technically need to add anyone to the NHL roster. They need improvements on the back end for the IceCaps but that’s about the only real need that they have at that position.