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Trevor Zegras isn’t happy in Anaheim.

Let’s play a game.

Enter star player ___ wasn’t happy in Buffalo, Toronto, Tampa, Winnipeg, Columbus, Philadelphia, etc. We’ve seen this before. We’ve Drouin’d ourselves before, right?

Every year, the NHL sees a handful of talented guys who just can’t or won’t work out with their respective teams. And every year, a boatload of media and fans, whether for content or fantasy, dream of seeing these players in a Habs jersey to help their favourites … well, usually lose in the late playoff rounds (take that, Toronto). In 2024, I think I’ve heard more about the potential arrival of Zegras than the legendary Marian Hossa’s gloves being delivered to the Bell Centre or Martin Havlat eating a hot dog at Brebeuf.

Zegras, whom Michel Bergeron recently compared to Mike Ribeiro, is a strange player in today’s NHL. You have truly never seen a player with his mix of offensive skills, but it doesn’t stop there. In his short stint in the AHL with Kevin Dineen, the then-Gulls coach told The Hockey News that Zegras had a vast understanding of his two-way responsibilities on the ice and an attention to the small details that showed all the promise to make the phenom succeed on NHL ice in the short term.

And speed. Zegras had speed of execution that shows that if coupled with any of the Habs’ up-and-comers, he could create one of the most feared top-six in their division. And you know what? Zegras is not one to shy away from the media. His happy-go-lucky air d’aller would endear him to even the grumpier portions of the media gaggle. Hey, check some interviews of Zegras on YouTube; the kid ain’t no grouch!

But … and there’s always a but.

How much of that speed is left after a terrible ankle injury? Can Montreal’s Martin St. Louis really reach the young man’s ego to be able to be an effective asset on a Montreal team that has made culture and consistency a priority? Man … if there was ever a combine for disgruntled NHLers, you can bet Nick Bobrov would be spending his summer in a rink.

Then there’s the other facet: the Habs have never done well with big-personality players. And Zegras has personality galore, to the point where he’s grated analysts and other players who have described him with so much ridicule that you’d think we’d be dealing with Yakupov levels of cringe.

Are they being unjust?

The number one criticism remains Zegras’s overall game, lack of physicality, and his on-ice antics. Zegras can be a game-changer, but not always for the right reasons, throwing tantrums and even causing Sidney Crosby to lose his cool.

For Habs brass, you also have to think long-term, integrating a player who doesn’t command respect among his peers could be an issue once they try to add players on the free-agent market. In a hypothetical black hole, there are players who could snub the Habs just because of how much they dislike Zegras. Has this happened before? Yes.

So, should Hughes take a chance?

Zegras’s value might never be so low as it is at present, but the intangibles are and will remain scary when discussing the Bedford native. That will have to be considered before deciding if they want to make a real run at acquiring him.