Report Card for Montreal Canadiens' 2014 Trade Deadline Decisions
The Montreal Canadiens were big winners at the 2014 trade deadline.
General manager Marc Bergevin waited until the last minute, keeping fans jittery in the process, before landing one of the biggest names on the market. Thomas Vanek is now a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
There were other choices that had to be made leading up to the deadline, mainly whether or not to trade away any of the current roster. Bergevin ultimately chose to keep his squad intact.
Here is a report card for the Montreal Canadiens' 2014 trade deadline decisions.
Acquiring Mike Weaver: B-
General manager Marc Bergevin's first move of the trade deadline period was to acquire Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers for a 2015 fifth-round pick.
If you've never heard of Weaver, don't worry. Most hockey fans haven't. So who is he?
Weaver is a 35-year-old veteran defenseman who has been in the league since 2000. He originally signed with the Atlanta Thrashers after going undrafted following a collegiate career at Michigan State University.
This season, Weaver has appeared in 55 games. He has six assists and is a minus-nine. He also leads the Panthers in blocked shots with 94 and is third in hits with 101.
He has mostly been used on the right side of Florida's third defensive pairing, while averaging 18:47 of ice time per game.
In acquiring Weaver, the Canadiens have got themselves another depth defenseman. He's certainly serviceable and figures to get a regular shift in Montreal.
But at whose expense? Unfortunately for Jarred Tinordi, he will likely be coming out of the lineup. It will also mean Nathan Beaulieu doesn't figure to be part of the team's plan this season.
The two youngsters have played well during their second-half stints in Montreal. They both look like they're ready for the NHL. Michel Therrien despises playing youngsters, however, so they'll have to wait patiently yet again.
Weaver should fit into Montreal's defense easily, but his arrival means more time in the minors for Tinordi and Beaulieu. This move gets a "B-" grade on the trade deadline report card.
Acquiring Thomas Vanek: A+
No one saw this coming.
The Montreal Canadiens, usually content with the status quo on deadline day, actually went out and made a big move to improve the team.
In acquiring Thomas Vanek, the Habs were able to come away with one of the top players available at this year's trade deadline. They also solved their biggest need, a scoring winger who can provide secondary offense.
Vanek, of course, is a two-time 40 goal scorer in the NHL. This season, he has 21 goals and 53 points in 60 games.
He is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year, essentially making him a rental. Montreal could, and will, try to re-sign him, but his heart seems to be set on playing in Minnesota.
Vanek played his collegiate hockey in Minnesota, his wife is from the Twin Cities and he spends his summers there, according to Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
But this rental will help Montreal down the stretch and into the playoffs. If the Canadiens are able to get deep into the playoffs, he'll certainly be worth the price of Sebastien Collberg and a second-round pick.
Michel Therrien would not hint as to who Vanek would play with in his Canadiens debut on Thursday, March 6. He's expected to line up alongside Tomas Plekanec, however, in hopes of providing the top line with a little more offensive support, per Sportsnet.ca.
Marc Bergevin made a statement with this move. He obviously believes that the current Montreal Canadiens have what it takes to succeed once given a little help. By showing confidence in the squad and acquiring one of the best players available, he earned a top grade.
Acquiring Devan Dubnyk: C+
Montreal's other deadline-day move was acquiring goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the Nashville Predators for future considerations. He was expendable after being put on waivers by the Predators earlier in the week.
He was immediately assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL following the trade.
This was likely just an insurance move by the Canadiens in case Carey Price's injury becomes a long-term issue. Price did skate on Tuesday, March 4, but still isn't sure when he'll be back, per ESPN.com.
The Canadiens are currently rostering Peter Budaj and AHL-regular Dustin Tokarski as they await their No. 1 goaltender's return.
Having Tokarski in Montreal means Dubnyk can head to Hamilton and receive regular playing time in hopes of resurrecting his career. He could also be recalled to Montreal if Price is out longer than expected.
The move gives the Canadiens a little more goaltending depth for the rest of the year. It was an organizational move, nothing else, and gets a grade of "C+".
Not Trading Andrei Markov: A
By not trading Andrei Markov, and of course acquiring Vanek, Marc Bergevin strengthened his message to his team that he believes they can win this year.
Markov is a key member of the defense, he's vital on the power play and he's a veteran leader. Shipping him to another team would have signaled that the Canadiens are giving up on this season.
Keeping Markov in Montreal also suggests that he is close to signing a contract extension.
If Bergevin and Markov were nowhere near an agreement, Bergevin surely would have tried to get something in return. Markov is still a very valuable defenseman and would have gotten a nice haul in return.
There is still the risk that Markov walks away this summer and Montreal gets nothing in return. But if Bergevin felt this was a true threat, he would've dealt him on deadline day.
Bergevin gets an "A" for keeping Markov in town and giving the team the chance to win now. Expect the Russian defender to be back in Montreal next season as well.
Not Moving Rene Bourque: D-
The Montreal Canadiens still have Rene Bourque on their roster. This was a mistake by Marc Bergevin. The only reason he doesn't get a failing grade is because of the degree of difficulty in moving Bourque.
He did, after all, have a 10-team no-trade clause in his contract, per Renaud Lavoie:
There are 30 teams in the NHL, however, and surely one of the other 20 would have taken on Bourque for a draft pick.
Bergevin also didn't know he would end up acquiring Thomas Vanek, as that deal happened right at the deadline. If he had gotten Vanek earlier, perhaps he would have traded Bourque away for next to nothing.
Regardless, Bourque is still a member of the now-crowded Montreal group of forwards. The team has 16 forwards on its NHL roster, meaning four will be left aside each night.
There is a very good chance that Bourque becomes a press-box regular down the stretch. He simply hasn't been able to produce this season despite numerous opportunities.
Getting any draft pick or prospect in return would have been better than having to pay Bourque to watch from the sidelines. For that reason, Bergevin gets a "D-" for not moving him.