Montreal Canadiens: Taking the Next Step

paul masonCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2008

Montreal seems to be solidly positioned with a playoff berth.  Although by team officials' own standards the Canadiens are not yet ready to truly contend for a Cup, there has been positive progress with some of their prospects. 

What one may wonder concerning the Habs is what they need and what assets they are willing to deal in order to challenge in the playoffs, not only this season but in the future as well. 

There are rumors, surfacing during yesterday's Flames game on TSN, that a deal between Montreal and Calgary is in the works.  Earlier it was rumored that a possible trade could happen between the clubs involving Kovalev for Tanguay.

This trade would not really benefit Montreal, posing advantage in neither the short nor the long term.  Recently it was reported Kovalev was actually happy this season and he is putting up more than solid numbers points-wise.  Tanguay, while a talented young player, is not as young as he once was (obviously), so it is not like the Habs could build their team around him. 

If they could gain Tanguay without sacrificing Kovelev, Koivu, Streit, or the Kositsins, I say more power to them.

So what players can Montreal trade?  Perhaps Halak, a talented young goaltender languishing on the depth chart behind Huet and Price.  Ryder, although a young point producer, would have value to other teams and would theoretically be able to  deliver a return better than the exchange that Gainey acquired for Ribiero.

Although the Canadiens have had some really productive games and lead the league in the power play, Gainey should not get too comfortable with the offense.  If there is one thing the Habs need in order to contend for the Cup, it is size and goal scoring.  Their goaltending is solid and their defense has just enough experience and skill to go farther in the playoffs than they did a couple of seasons ago. 

Hopefully Gainey is able to add these traits before or on the deadline.