The Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche face each other tonight for the first time of the season, and with both teams mightily struggling, trade talks are heating up before the Mar. 4, 2009, trade deadline.
The Canadiens have lost four games in a row, and Wednesday's 7-2 shameful performance against the Oilers was their seventh consecutive loss on the road.
The Avalanche have lost three consecutive games, and have lost seven of their last nine games. They currently sit dead last in the Western Conference with only 51 points, eight points fewer than the eight seed, the Minnesota Wild. With all their injuries, it is highly improbable that they will be able to turn it around and clinch a playoff spot.
As a result, tonight's matchup will be a great opportunity for Bob Gainey and Francois Giguere to scout each other's team and players.
A trade that would make sense for both teams would be the following:
Colorado trades Ian Laperriere, John-Michael Liles, and Andrew Raycroft for Jaroslav Halak, Mathieu Dandenault, Kyle Chipchura, and a high draft pick.
The Canadiens desperately need a good puck-moving defenseman and Liles is a power-play specialist. Laperriere adds grit and toughness to a soft Habs team, while Raycroft is an insurance policy in case Marc Denis isn't able to back up young Carey Price.
The Avalanche's goaltending has been a problem all year long and, Halak is a young and talented goalie who is looking to be a starter, which will never happen in Montreal.
Dandenault is simply a throw-in as he doesn't fit in the Habs plans, while Chipchura is too similar to Maxim Lapierre; therefore, he's expandable and would replace Tyler Arnason next season as the Avs' third line centre.
It should be interesting to see who comes out on top tonight!