Next up in our 2018 Trade Odds series is Montreal’s goaltending and defence, spots where we could see some changes made before the February 26th trade deadline.
Please note that all odds are independent of each other.
Antti Niemi: 40% – The way Niemi has performed with the Habs should make this number higher than it is but there just aren’t a lot of teams that are going to be looking for goalies. Although Niemi has done quite well in Montreal, teams may be scared off based on his play with Pittsburgh/Florida. A handful of backups may change places by the deadline (Philly is off the table now with them acquiring Petr Mrazek) and Niemi could be viewed as an insurance policy but any return would be quite low.
Less Than 5%
Carey Price – With the year he’s having and the new contract kicking in next season, no team will be making a trade of that much significance by the deadline. Depending on the direction the team goes, that could change in the summer (which is still doubtful but there’d be more of a chance of something happening then than now).
Joe Morrow: 35% – Contending teams aren’t going to be viewing Morrow as a top-six fit but those that are cap-strapped may appreciate the chance to get someone at the league-minimum salary. It’s also somewhat plausible that a non-playoff team might want to get a look at him in a swap of similar players in a change-of-scenery deal. I could see Montreal giving him a qualifying offer in the summer to keep his rights so it’s far from a guarantee that he moves.
Jakub Jerabek: 25% – It’s out there that there is mutual interest in a contract extension but the team can’t find him to be too valuable of an asset since he has basically been a scratch since it was mentioned that Montreal would like to get a deal done before the deadline. Contending teams may view him as passable depth but considering he hasn’t been able to hold down a regular spot in Montreal’s lineups, those teams wouldn’t be offering much more than a token late-round pick to get him.
[Update: Traded to Washington]
David Schlemko: 25% – Schlemko hasn’t panned out quite as well as the Habs were hoping. Yes, he’s a mobile player on a back end that isn’t the greatest at skating but he has had a few too many adventures in his own end. It doesn’t appear that Claude Julien is confident using him in a top-four role most nights and if that’s the case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Marc Bergevin try to get out of the two years left on his contract.
Jordie Benn: 20% – I know he’s a popular pick to be moved but Benn’s versatility to play both sides as well as a pretty cheap contract ($1.1 million) makes him someone that the Habs will want to keep around, especially if they’re viewing this season as a retooling opportunity and not the start of a rebuild. However, if another team is looking for affordable defensive depth beyond this season, Benn could fetch enough of a return to persuade Bergevin to move him.
Karl Alzner: 5% – In terms of getting value for the contract, that’s not going to happen. But if there is a team looking for help on defence with a pricey, underachieving forward that they want to move (like a Milan Lucic in Edmonton or Loui Eriksson in Vancouver, for example), there’s an outside shot at something happening.
Less Than 5%
Victor Mete – One of the few bright spots on the Habs this season, Mete is safely pencilled in as part of Montreal’s future plans. Even in their quest for the ever-elusive top-six centre, I have a hard time thinking they’d be willing to move Mete to get that player.
Jeff Petry – I wouldn’t be surprised if Bergevin fielded some real interest in Petry considering how he has fared since Shea Weber went down but his full no-move clause may make that a challenge. If they were to look at moving him, July would be the more logical time to do so when his trade restriction drops by 15 teams.
Shea Weber – While teams can trade injured players (remember the Jose Theodore trade?), the odds of someone trading for an injured Weber with eight years left on his contract are pretty much sub-zero.