NHL Trade Deadline: The Habs sit atop the Atlantic Division with 68 points. They’re 3 points back of the Metropolitan’s Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets, and 10 points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals.
With the NHL trade deadline approaching on March 1st, we will be looking at all 30 clubs to examine their potential strategy, whether they’re buyers/sellers, potential trade candidates, or fits to come over in a deal.
This time, we’ll be looking at the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens who have a record of 30-16-8 heading into Tuesday.
Two years ago, it looked like the Habs would go on a huge run, and could possibly be a cup winning team. With Carey Price between the pipes, there’s always that chance. GM Marc Bergevin decided to make various moves at the deadline in 2015.
Bergevin added Jeff Petry in exchange for the dirt cheap price of a 2nd round pick and a conditional 2015 5th round pick. Bergevin also added depth forward Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell in exchange for Jack Nevins, a 5th round pick and a 7th round pick.
All three players were effective additions to the team and all three of those players remain with the team.
Last year was a bit of a different story. The Habs struggled after a strong start largely due to the injury of Carey Price. The Habs found themselves heading into the trade deadline as sellers.
Bergevin dealt expiring contracts Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Philip Danault and a second round pick. Danault is looking like he’ll be a fan favorite in Montreal for years to come and the second round pick could be used as currency on this year’s deadline day.
The Montreal Canadiens have had to play a lot of the season without first-line center Alex Galchenyuk, and his absence coupled with a disappointing season from Tomas Plekanec has led to the Canadiens seeking center help.
The Habs have been tied to the likes of Arizona’s Martin Hanzal and Colorado’s Matt Duchene. Where there is smoke there is usually fire.
At the time, it was deemed too steep of a price to pay, but Chayka may soon find out he won’t get what he wants for his player.
Bergevin seems to be a slick negotiator under pressure looking at his past work on deadline day. The veteran GM will likely play chicken with the rookie John Chayka and end up acquiring Hanzal for less than Chayka wanted to begin with.
The Habs have a pretty decent prospect pool and could afford to move one of them to go for an extended playoff run. The time is now Montreal.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if they added some extra depth like they did when they acquired Flynn and Mitchell on the same day. It just may be on the back end this year. They already made a nice move acquiring Nesterov for pennies on the dollar.