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Deadline or Not, Don't Expect Much

February 11, 2019, 1:05 PM ET [473 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The trade deadline is fast approaching and as per usual, the pre-deadline trades have started rolling in. Jake Muzzin is now a Leafs, Brassard is in Florida and Folin and Weise are now in Montreal. Over a month ago, Marc Bergevin met the media and said that he did not expect to be very active on trade deadline day and that he certainly wouldn’t trade away the Habs prospects who impressed at the World Junior. When asked if he could potentially be a seller and trade some right now assets for “reset pieces” he did say that this was a possibility. How likely is that to happen?

Right now, the Habs are in the first wildcard spot giving access to the playoffs but it is by no means impossible for them to catch-up to Boston who have a single point priority on them. The same goes for Toronto, they may be two points clear and have a game in hand, they still need to win that game and they most certainly cannot count their chicken just yet. Lately, the Canadiens have played pretty darn well and one has to wonder if Bergevin will be willing to mess with team chemistry in order to improve for the future. Remember, at the end of the season, Bergevin said there was an attitude problem on the team and said that this would change. He didn’t name names but come October, both Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty were gone replaced by Max Domi and Tomas Tatar (and Suzuki eventually) who both have been highly efficient for the CH. Domi became a solution at centre and Tatar showed that while he didn’t fit in in Vegas, he most certainly could fit in in Montreal. Above all, both players have showed great attitude; leadership, commitment and determination and are a big part of this hockey club’s turnaround.

Tatar has been mentioned by the media as an asset which could be traded, the 28 years old is not all that young and he’s under contract for another two seasons at 4.8 million per but to me, with the way he has performed and the room he’s taken on this team, I’m not sure it would send a good message to trade him.

The other name which popped up quite a bit is Jeff Petry. I know that a lot of the regulars here would like to see him send packing because his stock will never be as high as it is right now according to some…Just like Tatar, number 26 is signed for another 2 seasons while commanding a 5.5 million salary. Unlike Tatar though, he does have a limited no trade clause which specifies that he can submit a list of 15 teams to whom he doesn’t want to be traded. Since joining the Habs, Petey (as his teammates call him) has completed 3 full seasons in which he got 16, 22 and 42 points. Right now, he has 38 points and with the way he produces, he’s sure to obliterate that 42 points mark which was his career year. Right now, the Habs blue line is far from being great and unless something usable right now would come back in the deal, I do not seem the point in trading him. We do have a few notable defense prospects but it’s important to remember that generally, defense players take more time than forwards to mature. Alexander Romanov is only 19 years old, just like Josh Brook, Cale Fleury is 20 years old and I’d had that Juulsen is only 21 and that there are constant rumblings about his health. As for Victor Mete, he’s 20 and has showed this year that yes, young Ds need time to mature. All that to say, I do not think trading Petry right now is a good idea. He’s been very important to this team through Shea Weber’s absence and even since his return, he’s been solid. If you want to reward your team for this turnaround year, you do not take important pieces away from them.

To me, the more likely trade candidates are Charles Hudon and Michael Chaput. Claude Julien has made it very clear that he’s not happy with his 4th line and Bergevin has already moved by bringing Dale Weise back. Weise stayed in Laval for less than 48 hours before being called up. As I write this, Elliot Friedman is reporting that the Habs and Kings are close on a deal that would bring Nate Thompson (The Kings’ 4th line centre) to Montreal. Thompson is a 34 years old player who’s career best offensive season saw him get 25 points in 2010-2011 with the Lightning. In 672 career games, he’s got 57 goals, 77 assists, 134 points and 336 penalty minutes. Friedman doesn’t go as far as to venture a guess on who would be going the other way and the TSN crew seems to think that he should be available for a draft pick but I think we may be sending one of the 2 above mentioned players back to LA. With each passing day it’s more obvious that the Habs have given up on Hudon and that Julien’s patience is wearing thin with his 4th line crew.

To be honest, I wanted to see Jordie Benn traded at some point this season but it has become clear that when he is used in the right spot, he can be a solid bottom pairing defenseman for this team and as they say, better the devil you know.

I know, this is nothing to write home about as far as trades go but come on, our GM is Marc Bergevin. I’m not about to make-up rumours just for the sake of it. We know that he can make hockey traded (Subban-Weber, Sergachev-Drouin) but we also know that the off season is when he tends to make his big moves. At the trade deadline, he goes for depth like Bryan Flynn, Torrey Mitchell, Dwight King and Andreas Martinsen to name a few (I guess the Vanek and Petry deals are the exception – although he only cost a pick and a conditional pick back in 2015).
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