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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 43 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The final part of our trade deadline preview series looks at potential acquisitions. Although Marc Bergevin has said he doesn't want to take away from the core of the team for rentals, that doesn't preclude him from moving a lesser asset for one. Even though there aren't many sellers, there are several players that could fill various roles for this team not only for this season but beyond as well.
The list below will focus on players that for the most part haven't been discussed elsewhere. We know the big names that are still out there or the tough guys that many fans covet, there's little point in bringing those up here. Player stats are through March 28th.
There are two areas I could see the Habs trying to improve before the deadline. The first is adding some toughness (although I'm staying away from the pure enforcer discussion) as well as a second/third line forward to hedge against Rene Bourque's concussion concerns.
LW/RW Ryan Jones (EDM): He is off to a slow start since returning to the lineup in late February but he still would bring some value in terms of depth scoring. The past two years he averaged 17.5 goals while receiving third line minutes while being a physical presence. He also historically has shown he can take a regular shift shorthanded.
Contract Status: $1.5 million this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 15 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, -2 rating, 6 PIMS, 13:50 TOI, 30 hits, 7 blocks
LW/RW Chad LaRose (CAR): 2012-13 has been a down year for the long time Hurricane. His offence is down and he recently missed time with a concussion. That said, he still has the potential to provide some offensive punch from the lower lines while throwing his weight around at the same time. I think he's a solid buy-low candidate.
Contract Status: $1.7 million this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, +1 rating, 8 PIMS, 12:23 TOI, 36 hits, 1 block
LW Cody McLeod (COL): McLeod is what many fans seem to want Travis Moen to be. He brings a little bit of offensive ability to the table, plays a physical style, and is a willing combatant in fights (23 scraps since last season). The fact that his contract is quite reasonable may up the asking price though, a mid-round pick isn't going to cut it.
Contract Status: $1.15 million per year through the 2014-15
Stats: 33 GP, 3 goals, 3 assists, +4 rating, 72 PIMS, 11:31 TOI, 57 hits, 14 blocks
C Jerred Smithson (FLA): This is probably less likely now with the re-acquisition of Jeff Halpern but despite the fact both are strong at the faceoff dot and can help kill penalties, Smithson can still bring additional elements to the table. He isn't as quick as Halpern but he has good size and hits often. Smithson is far from a 'Plan A' acquisition but if it's late in the day and Bergevin is looking to add some cheap depth, this is a player worth acquiring.
Contract Status: $800,000 this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 33 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, -4 rating, 8 PIMS, 10:19 TOI, 77 hits, 24 blocks
RW/C Maxime Talbot (PHI): There is some speculation that the Flyers would be willing to part with him and his energetic style would be a great addition to the fourth line and penalty kill. However, the term remaining on his contract may scare suitors off.
Contract Status: $1.75 million per year through the 2015-16
Stats: 33 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, even rating, 23 PIMS, 15:34 TOI, 55 hits, 27 blocks
LW Raffi Torres (PHX): He certainly won't be winning any popularity contests around the league but there's no denying he can be an effective bottom six player. He isn't as physical as he used to be but can still throw his body around while chipping in with a few goals here and there.
Contract Status: $1.75 million this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 26 GP, 5 goals, 5 assists, -2 rating, 13 PIMS, 13:02 TOI, 47 hits, 12 blocks
C/LW Antoine Vermette (PHX): With Phoenix having a fair amount on the books already for next season with quite a few players (including Mike Smith) to re-sign, I think there's a good chance they move the versatile forward. Vermette is terrific at the faceoff dot and regularly shifts from centre to the wing with ease. He also can play all special teams aspects while his physical play is better than most would expect. If Bergevin is looking to add some scoring help that will be around past the next few months, I think he could very well be a target.
Contract Status: $3.75 million per year through the 2014-15
Stats: 34 GP, 8 goals, 7 assists, -4 rating, 24 PIMS, 18:15 TOI, 45 hits, 25 blocks
There are two areas in particular I could see the team looking to fill. The first is a right hand shooting defenceman (or someone who can play that side) to play alongside Francis Bouillon on the third pairing. (A top four d-man that would move Bouillon to his weaker side is also an option.) The other is someone who can comfortably be part of a second powerplay unit.
Kurtis Foster (PHI): He has a cannon of a shot from the point and would also improve the teams' size on the blueline. However, he doesn't use that size effectively and he is also prone to lapses in the defensive zone. At best he would play as a sixth defenceman but he would be a small upgrade over using Yannick Weber regularly.
Contract Status: $950,000 this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 16 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, -1 rating, 6 PIMS, 12:57 TOI, 12 hits, 11 blocks
Jordan Leopold (BUF): Leopold has scored double digit goals the past three seasons but this year has fallen off the map offensively. He is a prime 'change of scenery' candidate with some upside moving forward as he is more than capable of logging a regular shift. However, he plays the left side so someone (likely Bouillon) would have to go to his wrong side to accommodate him. The big question though is whether or not Buffalo would move him within the division.
Contract Status: $3 million this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 24 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, -6 rating, 14 PIMS, 21:08 TOI, 28 hits, 49 blocks
Ryan O'Byrne (COL): A physical defenceman with a right hand shot is something the Habs could really use. However, his struggles in his own end continue to plague him (a recent study of advanced stats yielded him dead last out of qualifying blueliners for shutdown play against above average players) which makes him a risk. Given that Colorado has some depth on defence though, he shouldn't cost too much to acquire and could be worth taking a gamble on.
Contract Status: $1.8 million this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 31 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, -6 rating, 48 PIMS, 18:59 TOI, 69 hits, 47 blocks
Stephane Robidas (DAL): If Bergevin decides that the Canadiens could use another blueliner that can help out next year, this would be a player to inquire about although he won't come cheap. Robidas is an effective shot blocker and plays a lot more physical than he did in his first stint with Montreal years ago. He also has had some success offensively in past years although that part of his game has tailed off recently.
Contract Status: $3.5 million per year through the 2013-14
season. He also has a full no-trade clause.
Stats: 32 GP, 0 goals, 10 assists, +3 rating, 32 PIMS, 22:15 TOI, 85 hits, 62 blocks
Cory Sarich (CGY): There's nothing flashy about his game at this stage of his career. He is a physical stay-at-home player with pretty much no offensive game to speak of. He's not going to be able to log 20 minutes per game but 14-16 isn't out of the question. Given the current condition of the Habs' sixth defenceman at the moment, that's still quite the improvement.
Contract Status: $2 million per year through the 2013-14
season. He also has a full no-move clause through December 31st, 2013.
Stats: 14 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, -6 rating, 2 PIMS, 12:11 TOI, 23 hits, 10 blocks
Ladislav Smid (EDM): There are two things Smid does particularly well. He loves to hit and he blocks a lot of shots. He isn't going to bring any sort of offensive game to the table and he can be inconsistent with his effort level at times. Still, he is a strong defensive d-man, one with a mean streak. There will always be room on a good team for one of those.
Contract Status: $2.25 million this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 33 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, -4 rating, 41 PIMS, 20:09 TOI, 99 hits, 90 blocks
Tyson Strachan (FLA): He isn't a well known player around the league but Strachan is a tough player to play against. He can hit, he'll drop the gloves when necessary, and he can provide a team with reasonable #6 minutes. Adding him would be better than the status quo and he shouldn't cost too much to acquire.
Contract Status: $600,000 this year, pending UFA.
Stats: 30 GP, 0 goals, 3 assists, -5 rating, 31 PIMS, 18:43 TOI, 76 hits, 47 blocks
- Deadline Preview, Part 3: Forwards posted by B. La Rose
- Deadline Preview, Part 2: Defencemen and Goalies posted by B. La Rose
- Deadline Preview, Part 1: Bulldogs posted by B. La Rose