Under the Radar Montreal Canadians Trade Targets
By James Stephan (@J_Habs)
The Montreal Canadiens are currently placed 4th in the Eastern Conference and much to the chagrin of many their results this season will likely leave the head coach in a safe position barring a monumental collapse. Though Michel Therrien appears safe, the NHL has proven time and time again that the winds of change can turn on a dime.
For now a roster change seems far more likely.
With the trade deadline approaching, and Marc Bergevin’s known dislike for making rash deals on march 5th it is likely that if the Habs are to make a splash it will come much earlier.
Marc Bergevin has constantly echoed the sentiments of a long term view, a grand master plan, and he’s also emphasize his desire to have the youth step up.
Assuming the Montreal Canadiens are buyers come trade deadline day here are 5 players that would fit into Bergevin’s long term plan.
Jaromir Jagr – Getty Images
5. Jaromir Jagr – New Jersey Devils
The 41 year old grizzly future hall of famer is New Jersey’s best producing forward this season, and by now it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
New Jersey would likely be willing to part with the talented Czech – but it is also likely that Jagr’s services would spark a bidding war.
Jagr’s presence on the team would not only bring an infusion of offense to the team but his poise and cunning with the puck would be a positive influence on young forwards like Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk.
He would be a valuable acquisition for Marc Bergevin as he is a big body top six forward who makes everyone he plays with better – however, how high a price would Bergevin be willing to pay for the forward he could have signed for free this passed off season?
- Matt Moulson – Getty Images
4. Matt Moulson – Buffalo Sabres
Whether you believe he was riding the coat tails of John Tavares or not, Matt Moulson is a goal scorer. Bergevin aside from hunting for the White Rhino that is a top line scoring powerforward, Matt Moulson would address one of the qualities that the Montreal GM has been searching for. Goal scoring.
A pending UFA and former 30+ goal scorer would come at a high price however his scoring instincts may be what the Habs target if the price is right. The starting point for negotiations has been rumored to be a high draft pick and solid prospect.
3. Michael Grabner – New York Islanders
Michael Grabner – Getty Images
For an offensively starved roster, Grabner would bring an element that few players bring on the roster: Elite Speed. The Montreal Canadiens once dubbed the “Flying Frenchmen” have always been a fast paced puck possession team and when they are on their game they play with speed, skill and tenacity.
With only 7 goals and 16 points in 47 games, Grabner wouldn’t mind a change of scenery and the Islanders would certainly be open exploring potential offers for the 26 year old.
The Austrian speed-demon brings with him quick feet which make him among the fastest in the NHL as well as possessing a strong ability to put the puck in the net. Something the Canadiens are sorely lacking.
The price tag for Grabner isn’t as astronomical as say an Evander Kane and his skill set would complement any one of the Habs centers nicely as he would blast through the offensive zone to create time and space for his line mates.
2. Tuomo Ruutu – Carolina Hurricanes
Tuomo Ruutu – Getty Images
With Carolina all but announcing a fire sale with the rumor that Cam Ward is available – it is reasonable to assume that agitating scoring forward Tuomo Ruutu would also be available.
Ruutu brings a goal scorers mentality as well as being adept at setting up his line mates. The robust Finn also has a never-quit attitude that the Canadiens so highly covet at a 4.75 million dollar cap hit.
The Hurricanes currently have 49 points in 48 games and currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference. While a few wins and a few hot players make the difference between growing a playoff beard or scheduling the next round of golf; it is highly likely that if the Hurricanes become sellers Tuomo Ruutu would be highly sought after come trade deadline.
1.Evander Kane – Winnipeg Jets
Evander Kane – Getty Images
It should come as no surprise that Evander Kane’s name keeps popping up – without a doubt he’s been enquired about by 29 other teams however its fairly obvious by now that he is the elusive Crown Jewel that Marc Bergevin wishes to acquire.
The young, uber talented power forward has all the skill, size and speed to be one of the elite players in the NHL and if the Montreal Canadiens are serious about acquiring a top line forward Evander Kane would certainly fit the bill.
No need to get too excited about the Jet’s star wearing the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge any time soon though as he would command an astronomical price that would cause any GM to think long and hard about.
Rumored offers and asking prices for Evander Kane have been swirling around a top six forward, top prospect and a first or second round pick; if Evander Kane is publically shopped ala Marian Hossa or Ilya Kovalchuk we could see even higher price tags. It will ultimately come down to how badly Marc Bergevin wants the skilled powerforward.
If Marc Bergevin does aggressively pursue a top line forward it’s likely that he’ll target one with more than a few good years ahead of him however if the asking price is too high, a player like Jagr may be the next best thing.