With Kevin Shattenkirk, Ron Hainsey, Michael Stone, and Brendan Smith already dealt this is going to be a much shorter article than it would have been a few days ago. In fact, with Jordie Benn and Brandon Davidson now with the Habs, it’s unlikely they’ll add another one unless they’re sending out another blueliner in the same move.
Nonetheless, here are five players who could fit with Montreal—not in order of probability that they’re acquired but in terms of fit:
Dmitry Kulikov – Buffalo – While Kulikov hasn’t been particularly impressive with the Sabres, he can log big minutes and can move the puck. At 26, he fills a need in Montreal if his back issues are in the past. Could he be the answer to a partner for Shea Weber? Only GM Marc Bergevin knows.
Stats: 36 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, -15 rating, 24 PIMS, 22:11 ATOI (pending UFA, $4.33 million cap hit)
Cody Franson - Buffalo – Franson’s offensive production has dried up after leaving Toronto. A huge body who doesn’t skate particularly well and who is not really a physical player he would frustrate many Canadiens fans but could give the power play a shot in the arm.
Stats: 55 GP, 3 goals, 13 assists, -2 rating, 28 PIMS, 18:44 ATOI (pending UFA, $3.325 million cap hit)
Michael Del Zotto – Philadelphia – While Del Zotto has been a top four option in the past I don’t see his inconsistent play as of late exciting Bergevin or head coach Claude Julien. In his favour, Del Zotto is only 26 and he’ll be highly motivated as he looks to restore his market value for this summer.
Stats: 32 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, -13 rating, 18 PIMS, 19:23 ATOI (pending UFA, $3.875 million cap hit)
Mark Streit - Philadelphia – A past his prime Streit could be an intriguing third paring option and a power play specialist. However, depth isn’t really a big issue at the moment and he’s not a candidate to log heavy minutes with Weber so he’s not really a great fit for a second stint with Montreal.
Stats: 48 GP, 5 goals, 15 assists, -11 rating, 20 PIMS, 19:38 ATOI (pending UFA, $5.25 million cap hit)
Ben Hutton – Vancouver – Hutton has come up as someone that the Canucks could be willing to move despite playing a significant role in Vancouver this year. At just 23 years of age, he has a lot of team control left and could be viewed as a longer-term fit compared to the others on this list.
Stats: 50 GP, 4 goals, 11 assists, -16 rating, 18 PIMS, 20:36 ATOI (two years left, $2.8 million cap hit beyond this season; $900,000 cap hit this year)