Bergevin Saying He Will Move Vets Means Petry and Shaw Are On The Move
Marc Bergevin held a pretty insightful presser yesterday before the Habs were stonewalled by Dubnyk and the Wild by a score of 1-0.
Bergevin basically stated the team will not be looking to add rental players for a potential playoff run no matter the teams place in the standings and that the cost of said rentals at the moment is a 1st round pick.
He did however mention that the team might be looking to move on from veterans. After hearing this it made it pretty clear that the "Reset" plan was very much still the focus of the Montreal Canadiens management team moving forward. It makes a lot of sense despite the teams turn around this season. I'm of the opinion that MTL wasn't really as bad as they seemed last season and that they would be better this year, and they are.
What I didn't expect was that Bergevin would steal Max Domi from ARI and he would become an effective #1 C and that 18 year old rookie J Kotkaniemi would step in and provide the team with a another smart C to use. Even without Weber for a majority of this season the team has played well, aside from the PP.
But all of this is a bonus for the Canadiens and clearly they are staying focused on the youth movement, especially after their organization almost went 3 for 3 in World Junior voting for best Forward (Poehling), Defenseman (Romanov), and Goaltender (Primeau, who lost out to Buffalo prospect Luukkonen). Add to that the solid play of Suzuki and Brook for Canada and Ylonen for Finland (who had one more point in the tournament than projected 1st or 2nd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft Kakko) and you can see that the Habs prospect potential is pretty much bursting at the seams.
In fact, I would say this is the best prospect pool the Montreal Canadiens have had in my time following the team, which would be close to 30 years.
Bergevin knows that any deals he tries to make will end up with GM's asking for these prospects in return and he also knows that moving any of them would be asinine at the moment, unless the return in incredible of course. He can't ask any more of his scouting team right now and if he went out and gave away the gems they helped mine for a year or two of production at a time of transition in the Canadiens wouldn't help the Habs in any way, on the ice or in the offices.
So what can we expect from the Habs at the deadline?
Well, I speculated a bit in the comments with HB member Obie (who sometimes tells me how stupid I am, but yesterday we found some common ground) that the smartest move to make would be to move on from #2D man Jeff Petry.
Petry has been a great Hab and while some may be quick to pile on him he has always remained professional and productive with the Canadiens for a reasonable cap hit of $5.5 million. He is in the middle of a career season where he is on pace for 15 goals and 56 points and just turned 31. Petry has two more seasons left on his contract but after this season his actual salary is $4 million for each of the last two seasons. His contract also has a 15 team no trade list that came into effect this season as the agent and GM worked to future proof the contract so that should the Canadiens look to move him, it will likely only be to playoff teams.
With 16 teams able to negotiate for Petry that pretty much gives Bergevin all the leverage in the world to negotiate a solid return from a team in need of an offensive RD with speed. The part that should make the return great is that Petry gives his new GM 2 more years of stability at a reasonable cap hit and the new owner only has to pay $4 million for his $5.5 million dollar acquisition. This is not a rental, but a solid piece to add to the teams Stanley Cup aspirations for 2 more years.
With the cost of rentals sitting at 1st round pick value right now, what could the return be for a 56 pt RD with term left on his contract and who's salary is less than his cap hit? The answer should be: Fantastic. With the future of MTL's RD looking like Weber, Juulsen, Brook it seems logical that the Canadiens should be looking to move certain players for maximum assets. Petry will be 33 by the time his deal is up and I doubt he will be looking to take discounts to stay in MTL so it makes sense to move him in the middle of his best season and get a return that looks something like: 1st rd pick, stud prospect, +. The comments between HB readers and I wondered if the Vega Golden Knights might be a good fit and speculated if a deal around VGK 1st and Swedish LD prospect E Brannstrom would work. Brannstrom has shown very good potential so far and could be the top 4 LD the Habs need.
With the LD looking like it could be Mete, Reilly, Romanov in the very near future it would be a wise decision to pry out an elite LD prospect in a deal to add high potential prospects to the blue chip they already have in Romanov.
Another player that the Canadiens need to get healthy so they can move is heart and soul player Andrew Shaw. There should be no shortage of buyers for the services of Shaw for their teams playoff run with the only detriment being his injury history and the remaining term on his contract, 3 more years after this one at $3.9 cap hit. A selling feature on Shaw is that his actual salary paid goes down for the next 3 season ($3.25, $2.75, $2.9) so if the Canadiens could offer to eat $1 mill of salary or cap for the remaining years it could likely resolve all blockades in any negotiations.
I'm not really sure what Shaw could get in return but I would bet Bergevin would look to recoup at least one of the two 2nds he dealt to acquire the 27 year old winger.
Changes are coming for the Canadiens, regardless of playoff positioning and it seems like management has a proper gameplay in place for the now and future. For that I'm a grateful Habs fan.
Go Habs Go