HabsWorld.net -- 

With the Habs having a strong season, there’s a case to be made that the club
doesn’t have too many significant needs, just a few areas that could stand a bit
of improvement.  Which of those are the most pressing and of them, what
ones realistically could be improved upon between now and Wednesday?  Our
writers offer up their thoughts on what they feel Marc Bergevin should be
looking to add.

Our writers were asked, what is the Habs’ biggest need?  Here are their

Matt Dilworth:
To me, this is contingent on whether Rene Bourque or Raphael Diaz return to
the lineup.  Both fill needs that the Habs are currently lacking; Bourque
brings goal scoring and a physical presence while Diaz can play quality
defensive minutes and perform well on the powerplay.  That being said, defence
wins games in the playoffs, and I think that the depth (especially on RD)
needs improvement.  Andrei Markov is already playing too many minutes, and he
will surely be a target in the playoffs.  Any changes that can be made to
reduce Markov’s even strength minutes while shoring up the defence is the move
to make, in my opinion.

Matt Gauthier: The Habs have the #5 offence and #9 defence in the league. They have put in place a real team concept and
everyone is contributing at all levels. The Habs shouldn’t change that. Although
adding a clutch performer would be a nice addition, they don’t necessarily need
a superstar. They need to add other ingredients that will strengthen the chain,
especially ones that will perform well in the brand of hockey played in the

Brian La Rose: Defensive depth is starting to become a notable
concern.  The club clearly has no confidence in Tomas Kaberle or Yannick
Weber while the youngsters from Hamilton have shown they’re not ready to play
regular minutes yet either.  Finding someone capable of playing 18 minutes
per game would really help keep the top players fresh.  Finding one capable
of playing the powerplay (so that we don’t have to endure more Gorges-Bouillon
pairings) would really be nice as well.

Adding some more muscle is also something that needs to be considered. 
I’m not convinced they need an every-game player though.  Yes, there are
matchups where more grit will be required, I’m pretty sure you know the teams
I’m referring to.  However, there are others where a more skilled or
defensive minded fourth line would be more beneficial.  Having the ability
to mix and match based on opponents (or how a playoff series is going) would be
handy so at the very least, adding a competent fourth line physical forward is
something that should be done.

Alex Létourneau: Since I don’t see this team needing
much-to-anything based on their identity and the system they play, any major
move would most likely disrupt the chemistry they currently have going. I don’t
believe in bringing a Jarome Iginla-type player or anything like that, so, maybe
a tough guy with an expiring contract would be best. Once the Canadiens get into
the playoffs, they will need a strong man to complement Brandon Prust for
moments when our smaller guys start getting tossed around. The Habs look good
now but I’m not sure how they’d handle bruising teams in the playoffs.

Our poll on the site for the past week asked a similar question.  Here
are the results of that poll asking what the Habs’ biggest need going into the
trade deadline is:

Top six forward: 41%
Added defensive depth: 21%
4th line tough forward: 20%
Shutdown forward: 13%
Other: 5%

Interestingly enough, the biggest need identified by our readers was one that
our writers didn’t place as high of an importance on.  From my point of
view, although adding another quality offensive forward would be nice, that
would be strengthening a strength as evidenced by Montreal currently sitting
fifth in goals per game.  Although they lack a top scorer point wise,
they’re still more than getting the job done most nights in that regard. 
I’d rather see them try to shore up a weakness over a strength although if
Bergevin were to go and add some more scoring depth, I certainly wouldn’t