Montreal Canadiens: Bob Gainey's Dilemma

Francois GendronSenior Writer IJanuary 29, 2009

The 2008-2009 NHL season is now in a crucial phase. For many teams who plan on being a part of the playoffs, it is now a race towards the finish line.

For teams like the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings, staying healthy is the only condition to be competitive and to have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup.  For a team like the Montreal Canadiens, some help from their general manager will be needed.

The Canadiens have lost their last three games, many players are currently underachieving, and GM Bob Gainey knows his team cannot compete and win a seven-game series against the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the New Jersey Devils. Only a significant move from Bob Gainey can pick his team up to the opposition's level.

Tomas Plekanec, Sergei Kostitsyn, Roman Hamrlik, and Christopher Higgins are four players that should give more to the team. More than often, their contributions are limited.

This is Bob Gainey's dilemma: who can I get and who am I ready to part with in return? We all heard about the rumors surrounding Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier.  He could be on the trade market. How about his linemate Martin St. Louis? Could he be a solution for the Canadiens?

Other rumors suggest that defenseman Jay Bouwmeester of the Florida Panthers is one of Gainey's options. Once again, what is the price tag for this solid defenseman?

Gainey also has eight expiring contracts on his hands. Among those eight players are Mike Komisarek, Saku Koivu, and Alex Kovalev. Who does Bob wish to re-sign?

Bob Gainey has work on his hands. Like a game of chess, it is now his time to move a pawn. Canadiens' fans are holding their breath until the trade deadline.