With a little more than 30 days left before the March 3, 2010 NHL trade deadline, I thought it was a good time to take a look at what tradable assets the Habs have.
While there is no guarantee that Bob Gainey will make any moves between now and the deadline, I think he needs to in order for the Habs to have any chance of making the postseason.
The slides are listed in reverse order from least to most tradable asset. So slide No. 10, is the MOST tradable asset for the Habs.
So take a look and let me know what you think. Did I miss anyone? Can you think of someone who is more tradable?
Let the discussions begin!
50 GP, 21 PTS (10G, 11A), Even +/-
The 35-year-old journeyman center is in the last year of a deal that pays him $1 million per season. While he has filled in admirably as the Habs third and sometimes fourth center, I don't think that Gainey will renew his contract after this season, making him expendable.
Metro's mix of speed, grit, and determination make him the type of character player that teams covet heading into the playoffs. While Metro certainly won't yield anything great on his own, he could definitely be part of a larger package.
4 GP, 0 PTS (0G, 0A), -5 rating
Yannick Weber has been a fringe Hab for the last two years. Whenever there is need for a defenseman, he always seems to be the one the Habs recall from Hamilton. Down with the Bulldogs this year, Weber has so far put up 23 points (2G, 21A) in 44 games with a +10 rating. He is a player in the mold of Mark Streit and could become an excellent offensive defenseman over the next few years.
While he does have value to the Canadiens, I believe that he has been passed over by P.K. Subban, who is tearing it up in the AHL. At this point, it seems likely that the Habs will let Subban finish a full year in Hamilton before assuming a spot on next year's pro team.
As such, and because Weber shows promise for the future, I believe that he too could be part of a package deal heading towards the deadline. Like Metropolit, he won't be the show piece of a deal but he could definitely sweeten the pot.
43 GP, 5 PTS (2G, 3A), -7 rating.
When signed in the summer, I am not sure what the Canadiens brass thought they were getting, but given the three-year deal he has, I imagine it was more than this! Gill looks like a player who the game has passed by. He is slow, not very physical, and just doesn't fit in the new, speedy NHL. However, Gill is tremendous on the PK, is an excellent addition to any dressing room and has a Stanley Cup ring.
While there is no question that he is overpaid at $2.5 million per year, a team gunning for the cup might find his PK and leadership skills invaluable in their playoff run.
As with Weber and Metro, Gill would have to be part of a larger deal.
43 GP, 8 PTS (0G, 8A), -16 rating.
Let's face it, Mara has been a total bust for Montreal this year. I'm still not quite sure why Gainey signed both Mara and Gill this offseason, as they are both slow footed. I guess that points, once again, to a problem with the Habs professional scouting. But I digress...
While Mara's -16 rating is sure to scare a lot of people off, he is a veteran defenseman who does bring a bunch of experience with him. As such, he could be a useful seventh defenseman for a team looking for defensive depth. The fact that he is on a one-year deal also means that Gainey will likely not resign him at the end of the season.
Again, unless it is for a later round pick, Mara, if traded, is likely to be part of a package.
35 GP, 4 PTS (2G, 2A), -11 rating.
D'Agostini, a sixth-round pick by the Habs in 2005, has yet to show that he can be a regular contributor in the NHL. That being said, he has definitely demonstrated flashes of a sniper's touch.
Sent back down to Hamilton on a two-week conditioning stint, Dags' days in a Habs uniform are undoubtedly numbered. As such, I believe that Gainey will try hard to move him, as part of a package deal, before the deadline.
I'm sure there is a coach or two out there who thinks they can mold him into a 20+ goal scorer.
23 GP, 4 PTS (1G, 3A), -4 rating.
Sergei, like D'Agostini, has shown flashes of brilliance in the few years he has played for the Habs. This year, he came to camp with an attitude and was quickly put in his place by Gainey and Martin.
When finally recalled from Hamilton, Sergei has put his head down and shut his mouth. The result, unfortunately, has not been stellar numbers, but he is none-the-less a very skilled player. Maybe a change of atmosphere is exactly what the younger of the two Kostitsyn brothers needs to get his career on track.
40 GP, 25 PTS (12G, 13A), +3 rating.
Andrei is the classic example of a highly talented player who is on the cusp of becoming a star. Drafted 10th overall in 2003, Andrei combines speed, skill and size and uses all three to be a bonafide top-six forward. Over his last two seasons, Kostitsyn has scored 26 and 23 goals respectively and has the talent to be a 30+ scorer in this league.
Like his younger brother, a change of scenery might be just what the doctor ordered and I can see Gainey packaging both brothers, with picks and/or prospects, to bring back a big, elite top-six forward.
33 GP, 11W, 17L, 2.73 GAA, .913 SV%
While it pains me to include Price on this list, there is no question that he is a valuable asset for the Habs. Picked fifth overall in the 2005 draft that saw Crosby go first overall, Price has yet to reach his very high potential. So far, while his skill seems to be there, Price seems to be a little soft mentally.
At 22 years of age, it is not time to give up on a potential franchise goaltender like Price, in my opinion, but there is no question that his trade value would be high. I read in an article recently which explained that while Halak will likely attract interest from about half of the teams in the league, Price would attract interest from all 29 of them.
Price could be traded as a show piece himself, or other components could be added for a blockbuster type deal. We'll have to see what Gainey does, but I think any smart GM would as least have to look at what they can get for him.
56 GP, 54 PTS (13G, 41A), +3 rating.
After a 2008 season that saw him fall to 39 points from his 2007 career high of 69, Plekanec is on pace to shatter his career numbers. With 54 points in 56 games, Plekanec is just under a point per game man. More importantly, he is showing that he can play through the extra physical attention that players get as a No. 1 center.
The knock on Plekanec in the past was that he was too small and not gritty enough to be a legit No. 1 in the league. But Pleky is changing minds in 2009. This year, he is using his 5'10" 196 pound frame to go to the high traffic zones and make space for himself.
This additional combativeness has helped as teams pay more and more physical attention to him.
Having signed a one-year deal in the offseason, Plekanec will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. While logic would dictate that Gainey should sign this guy, there is no question that exploring the trade route is also a valid option.
Plekanec's trade value has never been higher and there are sure to be teams out there looking for an upgrade at the center position, before the post season dance.
Like Price, Plekanec could end up being the center piece of a trade and could fetch a decent return by himself. However, Gainey could also package some prospects and/or picks with him, to sweeten the pot. If Plekanec is traded, however, there has better be a big, No. 1 center coming back in the deal.
Like, say, Vincent Lecavalier? :-)
25 GP, 14W, 8L, 2.45 GAA, .927 SV%
While I stated on slide nine, that Price might attract more interest than Halak, I believe that Halak is THE most tradable asset that the Habs currently have. Game in and game out, Halak is showing that he got the goods to be a No. 1 goalie in the league, and there are no shortage of teams with goaltending problems.
There are even contending teams, like Chicago, who would love to solidify their goaltendning position in order to have a real shot at winning the cup. While Chicago is an elite team, their goaltending has been suspect this year. The thinking seems to be that there is no way the Hawks will win the cup with Huet in nets.
Since asking for a trade in December, Halak has simply been lights out for the Habs and is the only reason they are still in the playoff race. While trading Halak and leaving Price to the No. 1 job could spell the end of the season for the Habs, as a restricted free agent next summer, Halak is sure to want to go elsewhere.
While the Canadiens will still hold his rights in the off season, his value may never be as high to a contenting team looking for a goaltening upgrade, as it will be before the deadline.
Like Price and Plekanec, Halak could be the center piece in a direct swap or in a package deal.
With 30 days till the deadline, it is sure to be an interesting month!