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According to our capsheet, the Habs have a little under $1.85 million in a full season cap hit to add. At this time, Jaroslav Spacek has not formally been placed on LTIR, his MRI is reportedly scheduled for Monday. Those results will determine whether he can be placed or not. If he is indeed out for the season which has been widely speculated, his full season cap hit can be added to the ~$1.85 M, giving the team roughly $5.6 M that they can take on.

At any given time, an NHL club can only carry 50 active contracts (called the Reserve List). The Habs currently have 50. However, as long as none of Phillipe Lefebvre, Louis Leblanc, and Alexander Avtsin play no more than 9 games with the Habs between now and the end of the season, those contracts will “slide” off the Reserve List. Even still, the Habs at max can only add 3 more players between trades and any collegiate free agents whose contracts would be effective this season.

The last 4 deadline moves by the Habs have all fallen either before or at noon EST. Last year’s pickup of Aaron Palushaj was early in the morning, as was their acquisition of Todd Simpson in 2006. The 2008 trade of Cristobal Huet fell just before noon EST while Michael Leighton’s waiver claim in 2007 was made official exactly at noon.

Farm Strategy

Heading into Monday’s trade deadline, Pierre Gauthier will once again be faced with a conundrum lots of GM’s face every year. The Habs aren’t just 1 player away from contending, so do you buy or stay pat? Heck, do you consider selling? As fans, we’re always secretly hoping our team is a buyer and often proclaim instead of dealing picks, to “sell the farm.” But that in itself presents a new situation of sorts for Gauthier.

For those of you don’t follow the Hamilton Bulldogs with regularity, let me sum up their success thus far. Curtis Sanford. That’s it, especially with players like Pacioretty, Weber, and Desharnais up full-time with the Habs…or with a new team come 3 PM Monday. The Bulldogs aren’t in a position to lose any more players and stay competitive.

As a result, dealing 1 player may kill a playoff run and slow the development of a lot of the Habs’ better prospects. So if you’re not 1 player away, is it worth the potential longer term woes to add that extra depth guy? There’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s something that needs to be considered. I suspect that Gauthier may try to hedge his bets; if he moves a Bulldog, he may either try to get a replacement in the trade (like we saw with Maxwell-Dawes) or to make a separate small move (either a trade or AHL loan). But one thing’s for sure, it’s never as simple as merely “selling the farm.”

If you have any questions regarding this article or the capsheet, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].

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