There’s no denying the Habs need help up front. While there’s a good chance they’ll look to simply add via the rental route, there are a few forwards in Montreal who could potentially be on the move.
Please note that all odds are independent of each other.
David Desharnais: 40% – Before anyone thinks I’m crazy, Desharnais is up this high simply for the potential for having to send some salary the other way in a trade. The Habs can add roughly $4 million via trade – that’s enough for one notable addition but if GM Marc Bergevin wants to make a couple of those moves, someone with a somewhat sizable contract (such as Desharnais) would need to go as well. I also wouldn’t rule out him being moved for an overpaid depth defender either in a swap of undesirable expiring deals.
Daniel Carr: 30% – While he’s currently with the IceCaps, he has spent most of the season with Montreal so let’s cover him here. Carr is one of the types of young players that often get moved at the deadline – someone that has shown some potential but is perceived to have stagnated. He’s under contract for one more year at a reasonable rate so he’s someone a team may ask for instead of a mid-round pick in a smaller trade.
Sven Andrighetto: 30% – A lot of the stuff with Carr applies here although Andrighetto is a restricted free agent after the season and it’s plausible to think he heads back across the pond if things stay the way they are for him. If the Habs are trading for a rental forward and the acquiring team would rather a replacement player over a pick, Andrighetto would be a prime candidate to go the other way.
Brian Flynn: 20% – Flynn has been serviceable as a depth forward but if the Habs wind up adding a player or two up front, he’s going to basically be a press box player the rest of the way. He’s someone who could also move if Montreal has to send a small salary back to make the cap part of a trade work. It doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be back next year so they may be comfortable moving him now, especially since players like McCarron and de la Rose have shown they can handle a fourth line role.
Tomas Plekanec: 15% – I suspect Bergevin is more willing to move him now than he was even a couple of months ago but his $6 million contract is hard to work into a deal at this point of the year. Realistically, the only way I can see Plekanec moving now is if they find a trade for another centre with term left on his contract. It could happen but that feels like a move that would be more likely to happen in the offseason.
Torrey Mitchell: 15% – It’s noteworthy that with Michael McCarron up, Mitchell has been used on the right wing lately. Were they auditioning McCarron to see if they could move Mitchell? If so, the results were underwhelming but the fact they made the 32 year old shift spots suggests to me that they could consider moving him. That said, considering their depth down the middle, the only way I could see this happening now is if there’s another centre being brought in.
Brendan Gallagher: 15% – I think there is cause for serious concern regarding his scoring touch after two surgeries on his hand. If he can’t shoot as well as he did before, Gallagher’s effectiveness is going to be reduced in a big way. With that in mind plus his current reputation around the league, the time may be right to move him if Bergevin wants to shake things up with a core player for core player move. If Gallagher’s struggles continue the rest of the way, it may be a harder move to make in June.
Alex Galchenyuk: 10% – Considering his recent struggles, his name is being suggested as a trade possibility more than he should be. As things stand, he’s still one of Montreal’s top offensive players on a team that is currently lacking in offensive players. It doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to trade him right now. (If I were to run this series again in June though, this number would be considerably higher…)
Paul Byron: 10% – What a shocker, his offensive explosion early on wasn’t sustainable. That said, I don’t think that really makes him more likely to be moved as the team clearly still values his speed and tenaciousness. Other teams will have interest – just like last year before the Habs extended him – but it’s hard to imagine the Habs deal Byron now.
Andrew Shaw: 5% – I don’t think many fans like his contract right now and I suspect there aren’t many general managers out there who do either. But Shaw was brought in to provide a spark, especially in the postseason. Realistically, he’ll have to get at least one trip through the playoffs with Montreal before Bergevin even considers the thought of moving him, even if he continues to struggle.
Phillip Danault: 5% – Danault has been one of the few bright spots in recent months and has shown himself to be a legitimate part of the future plans for the Habs. It seems highly unlikely that they’re going to turn around and deal him now. About the only way I can see him going is if they’re getting a legitimate top liner and the other team insists on him being a part of the package (and I don’t envision that happening).
Artturi Lehkonen: 5% – I have little doubt that he will be one of the most asked about players on Montreal by other teams. Lehkonen, though he has tailed off lately, has done enough to still be effective most nights and looks like a legitimate middle six forward over the long-term future. Unless they’re getting a big time forward back in a return, it’s hard to imagine them considering dealing the rookie Finn away.
Alexander Radulov: 2% – Teams with eyes on being a playoff contender don’t typically trade top line forwards away at the deadline, even if he is a pending unrestricted free agent. I don’t think the Habs are prepared to hand him an extension yet (in a perfect world, they’d like to evaluate his postseason play before making that commitment) but they’re not going to be worried about the risk of losing him for nothing either.
Max Pacioretty: 1% – He’s set to lead the team in scoring for the sixth straight season, is the captain, and is on a below-market contract. One of those reasons is enough to say he’ll still be around past March 1st, all three makes it a certainty.
Scoring Forwards: High – I don’t think this slump that pretty much everyone is currently in will last another couple of months but regardless, some more scoring help is needed. The Habs were at their best when they had three lines capable of scoring. They had that early on when some players were playing over their heads but they’re a couple of players away from having that now.
Defensive Forwards: Medium – Given how erratic the penalty kill has been this season, adding someone who could help in that regard would be beneficial. It’s not as big of a need as getting some more scoring help though.
Depth Forwards: Medium – A lot depends on the type of depth player they’re looking at. Montreal’s fourth line isn’t particularly physical so a depth forward like that would be useful, even just for matchup flexibility. Merely adding another player like a Flynn though doesn’t make much sense as there are several players in the minors who adequately play as an injury replacement.