NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Deadline Scuttlebutt Around the Montreal Canadiens

Matt JohnsonCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2012

NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Deadline Scuttlebutt Around the Montreal Canadiens

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    Habs fans don’t seem to be too optimistic these days, and with good reason. The Canadiens are currently tied for last place in the Eastern Conference, and their short surge for a playoff spot seems like ages ago. Their season can be considered somewhat of a write-off at this point. It is not too likely that they will make noise at the trade deadline.

    The trade deadline can be used as an opportunity for the Canadiens to build for the future. There is really no chance of them playing in the postseason this year. They just have not proven they are able to compete consistently with even the mediocre teams in the East.

    They have a great young goaltender in Carey Price, but other than that, they should be focused on next season. With the East not being super competitive, it would not be overly difficult to contend for a playoff spot next year. They need to use the trade deadline to free up salary cap room and get some young prospects.

    Here are some possibilities for the Canadiens to make the most out of their disappointing season and salvage some hope for their fans going forward.

Get Rid of Scott Gomez

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    His year-long goalless drought was embarrassing and his recent altercations with head coach Randy Cunneyworth just adds to the mess. No team in their right mind would pick up Gomez’s lavish contract, so Montreal may try to restructure his deal in anticipation of a new CBA and unload him to a team for a discount.

    He has not lived up to his billing in Montreal and is taking up an incredible amount of cap space. Its time to work on getting him out. Au revoir.

Find a Buyer for Travis Moen

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    There are a number of teams who could use a player of Moen’s skill at this point in the season, and the Canadiens are not one of them. They should seek out potential buyers and market Moen’s potential to contribute to another team’s Cup run.

    Perhaps a team like the New Jersey Devils may take a shot at a player like Moen. They too can use improvement offensively and need a sudden boost if they are to make a serious playoff run. The Canadiens should pursue draft picks, and Moen is the perfect bate to attain them.

Take Lessons from Columbus

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    That sounds pretty pathetic, and it should. The Columbus Blue Jackets have been a consistently terrible team since they joined the league. However, they seem to be realizing the importance of attracting young prospects in an effort to build a team from the bottom. Just look at their recent trade with the Los Angeles Kings.

    Montreal must consider this strategy. They should look to teams with instant needs and play to that angle. If they are to seriously compete over the next few years, they must revamp their roster and develop young talent through prospects and draft picks.

Re-Sign Andrei Kostitsyn

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    He may be one of the players that the Canadiens can move forward with in to next season. Kostitsyn has not been great, but there is reason to think he could be one of the main leaders next year.

    If Montreal has ambitions of a fire sale next Monday, Kostitsyn may be someone they should consider holding on to. At 27 years old, he has a healthy amount of experience and is not past the prime of his career yet.

Trust Their Current Roster

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    This may be a tough one to swallow for Habs fans, but perhaps they can give their team a mulligan on this season. The coaching drama did not help chemistry on the ice or among fans, and we have in fact seen them play very well at times.

    In front of their bright goaltender they have potential, and a pressure-packed offseason might just be what this franchise needs to get back on course. If they can put this season behind them and get the most out of their stars during training camp, they could be in the thick of the Eastern Conference battle come next season.

    But for now, they must finish their campaign on a high note.