The Habs surprised many by packaging their two rental forwards in the same deal, sending them to Chicago for Phillip Danault and a 2018 2nd round pick. Having had some time to evaluate the trade, our writers offer up their comments on the move.
Gordon Black: This is not a homerun by any means, but still a solid return on two players that are not considered core pieces moving forward. I like that they called McCarron up immediately after and announced it would be for the rest of the season. If they decide he is ready for full-time action he will fill much the same role as Weise at less cost and with more upside.
The return is solid; you can never bank too many 2nd round picks while Danault is someone who could be a solid player moving forward. I see a bit of Michael Peca in him and if he rounds into a high-end 3rd line centre, that provides more incentive to break up the logjam by finding a decent return for either Lars Eller or Tomas Plekanec.
Overall, it seems like another decent haul from Bergevin, especially considering the return coming back for players who probably had more value than a utility forward acquired for a player now out of the league and a veteran forward that made the squad on a try-out. The playoffs are still remotely possible, but even if the Habs were to get there, it’s likely that the players traded wouldn’t be the difference and this way they’re not lost for nothing.
Brian La Rose: This was a better return than I was expecting. I thought the Habs would be lucky to get a 2nd for Weise while I had Fleischmann’s value at a late round pick. They got the 2nd, albeit a couple years down the road, while Danault is worth a lot more than a late round pick. From a value perspective (and especially knowing how the rest of the deadline went), the Habs did well here.
It’s interesting finding out just how much Marc Bergevin coveted Danault. It has been noted that Chicago tried to sub in other prospects but Bergevin held firm that the former first rounder had to be in the deal. Clearly the GM is sold on Danault’s potential as a quality NHL’er, albeit likely in a third line role and not the top six where help is sorely needed. We’ll see if time proves him right. He hasn’t looked bad so far at least.
Alex Létourneau: Little surprise with the move as Weise himself had openly been talking about it coming. The more you look at it, the better the trade looks – that’s not saying it’s a phenomenal trade. A young prospect at centre and a 2nd round pick (oddly 2018) for a spark, and great teammate, but likely overachieving Weise packaged with a guy whose NHL career was in jeopardy last summer and seemed to peak in the first quarter of the season. You have to think one or more of the centremen are going to be moved soon into the offseason as that position was already crowded. All-in-all it’s an alright trade once the confusion of a high 2018 draft pick is digested. I’m happy for Weise, he seemed like an all-around good guy and deserves a crack at the cup.
Paul MacLeod: The trade of Weise and Fleischmann was hardly a surprise given the unlikelihood of the Canadiens making the playoffs this season. Although some have expressed the opinion that they should have gotten more, I was pleasantly surprised that they got a second round pick (although it’s in 2018) and a mid-level prospect. Danault looked good in his debut and has some upside so hopefully he will continue to develop in Montreal. Overall, a decent return for two bottom six wingers, but hardly an earth-shaking deal.
Norm Szcyrek: All things considered, this isn’t a bad trade for Montreal. Weise had a strong start offensive start to this season but cooled off considerably since then. He is still on pace for a career high for points. Over his time with Montreal he has lessened his checking/hitting role and focused more on offence despite his limited offensive skill. What has made him more valuable as a rental UFA player for other teams is his postseason play, as he’s scored five goals and five assists over the past two playoff seasons. Contract extension talks with his agent had not been active since earlier in the season. Fleischmann also had a strong start but has slumped since then, and was not likely to be re-signed in the off season.
Danault has been slowly developed by Chicago and as a 23 year old this has been his first year that he’s stayed with their big club all season. He is a centre with average size, who appears to have good defensive skill and good skating but limited offensive skills. His role for the Habs will be as a bottom six forward, no less, no more. His contract will be up in the offseason as a RFA so it’s not likely he will cost very much more to re-sign. The second round pick they also got in this trade is good, but it’s likely to be a late pick in that round, and with it set for the 2018 draft, the earliest Montreal could likely see that player join their organization is in the fall of 2020. The moving of the two veterans will give other younger players including Danault a solid chance to play the rest of this season.