Rumour: Habs and Lightning Talk Plekanec

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Rumours are rumours. Many people love them, including blogs and other web sites, because they get people talking. They are often the topics bringing more hits to blogs and web sites as well. Others however, like yours truly, don’t like them. Not because they are not entertaining, but rather because it’s too easy for people to get duped into something totally made up. A guy like Eklund has become popular not because of his hockey knowledge, but because he is selling hope to fans of teams around the NHL.

As you know, I seldom take time to write about rumours, aside perhaps to expose the culprits and show how easy it is to do, as I have done when I was a Senior Writer on All Habs. But there is one that came out this week that I found intriguing, not so much because it was released by Jeremy Filosa of 98.5 Sports, but rather because it involved a disappointing player with a big cap hit in Tomas Plekanec.

According to Filosa, Marc Bergevin and Steve Yzerman are talking trade which would involve the long-time Canadiens’ centre, whose offensive production has been well below par since signing his contract extension which still has a full season remaining after this season is over, at a cap hit of $6 million.

If this rumour is true (which could be totally bogus), what would make the Lightning interested in Plekanec and his contract, considering that they don’t have any room under the cap themselves and the likeliness of them making the playoffs is slowly fading, Tampa Bay finding themselves six points from the last Wild Card spot held by the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Unless it’s to trade a bad contract for a bad contract, that is.

We know that since the asking price for Martin Hanzal seems astronomical according to reputable insiders, the name of pending UFA Brian Boyle has been linked to the Canadiens. From his 6-foot 6-inches and 244 lbs frame, Boyle has racked up 13 goals in 50 games so far this season. He has a respectable 52.3% success rate in the faceoffs’ dot and brings some much needed size and grit to the line-up. His 1.8 hits per game would place him second amongst regular forwards behind Andrew Shaw on the Canadiens. Further, being a pending UFA, Montreal wouldn’t have to protect him for the expansion draft.

But Boyle ($2 million cap hit) alone doesn’t justify Plekanec and that, not only salary-wise but talent-wise as well. We do know that Bergevin is also looking at adding depth on defense and that Nathan Beaulieu‘s name has been circulating in rumours to land a top-six forward. Trading Beaulieu without filling that hole on the left side on defense would be creating a hole to plug another and perhaps the Lighting have what the Canadiens need.

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Jason Garrison and Brian Boyle (photo credit: Scott Audette, Getty Images)

In the line of players under-performing for their contract, the Lightning probably would like to unload Jason Garrison and his $4.6 million contract which, like Plekanec, has another year left after this season. Like most Lightning player, he is having a disappointing season so far as shown by his seven points so far. He does, however, have a no-trade clause in his contract and would have to accept to be traded to the Habs.

Standing at 6-foot 1-inch and 218 lbs, he brings a nice combination of size and speed to the rink. Garrison is a hard worker and he is effective on the penalty kill. He does play a safe, mature and steady brand of defense and his 28 giveaways would rank him best amongst regulars on the Habs’ defensive core. His big point shot can be a weapon on the power play and he moves the puck efficiently out of danger. His 1.3 hits per game ratio is an improvement over Beaulieu (0.9). Only Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman log more ice time on defense than Garrison for the Lightning. It would definitely be interesting to see him paired with a guy like Shea Weber.

Of course, something else would have to head to Tampa Bay, whether it be pick, prospect or bottom-six forward, but you have here the possibility of a trade that would improve the Canadiens greatly. In addition, it wouldn’t take away key assets preventing Bergevin from addressing the team’s need for a top-6 forward. Time will tell but something is brewing Habs’ fans as the coaching change isn’t the only move that Bergevin has up his sleeve, rest assured.

What If The Sky Was Falling?

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Have you ever wondered, in your life, what would your world be if something different had happened? Everything as you know it would be different for the most part. What if you won the lottery? What if you could go back in time? What if there really is a boogeyman? What if the cow really jumped over the moon? What if the world ends tomorrow? What if hockey was just a sport instead of a matter of life and death? What if the sky was really falling? What if there were no hypothetical questions?

Let’s take some time to reflect on what would our world would be if some things happened with your beloved Montreal Canadiens, and how it would affect you and what it would do to the Twitter world, your favourite blogs, the media.

What if… Claude Julien doesn’t find a way to improve the Canadiens and they keep on sliding in the standing?

What if… Marc Bergevin doesn’t complete a substantial trade before the March first trade deadline because the asking prices are too high?

What if… Bergevin does pull the trigger and jeopardises the future of the organisation by trading, let’s say, Mikhail Sergachev?

What if… Max Pacioretty, who has been carrying the biggest part of the offensive load this season, turns cold?

What if… Alexander Radulov and Claude Julien don’t see eye to eye?

What if… Carey Price can’t find his Mojo and return to the goaltender that we know he is?

What if… Alex Galchenyuk‘s antics off the ice are truly affecting his on-ice performances and ultimately, the team?

What if… Shea Weber is truly on the down side of his career or at the end of the roll?

What if… Andrei Markov decides to retire at the end of this season or… if he asks for too much and/or for too long of a term on a new contract?

What if… David Desharnais becomes Claude Julien’s favourite player and overplays him at the eyes of Michel Therrien‘s detractors?

What if… the pundits surrounding the Habs decide to turn on Julien and realise that he’s much like Therrien in their eyes?

What if… the Canadiens don’t make it past the first round of the playoffs, perhaps even eliminated by the Boston Bruins?

What if… the rumours are true and Carey Price doesn’t want to re-sign with the Canadiens after his current contract?

What if… the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup this season?

 

A Canucks and Canadiens trade?

All we keep hearing about these days in the trade rumours surrounding the Canadiens is the talks about Matt Duchene and, to a lesser level now, the names of Martin Hanzal and Brian Boyle. Yet, it is well known that Marc Bergevin believes in defensive depth and that while Alexei Emelin is having a pretty good year playing alongside Shea Weber, Bergevin would like to get an improvement over the rugged Russian defenseman.

People who follow me know that while I am a die-hard Habs’ fan, I have developed a soft spot for the Vancouver Canucks since the good days of King Richard Brodeur way back in the 80’s. They also know that I live in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and that I do get to see most of the Canucks’ games.

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Alexander Edler

Folks, if he agreed to waive his no-trade clause, I can pretty much guarantee that the Canucks would be happy to part ways with left-handed defenseman Alexander Edler. The Canucks are tight to the cap and Edler has two years remaining after this season, at a cap hit of $5 million per season.  On a team offensively challenged, the 30 year-old defenseman who stands at 6’3″ 214 lbs, has 14 points so far this season and he has had seasons anywhere from 20 to 49 points per season in his career.

Edler, for those of you who don’t get the chance to watch him play, is a smooth skating defenseman, shoots from the left and usually makes good first passes out of his zone. He is somewhat physical, averaging 1.8 hits/GP, which is exactly like Jeff Petry and Shea Weber on the Canadiens. He is a going point man on the powerplay and he has a heavy shot, although not always accurate with it. He is also prone for the odd “brain cramp” with a bad pass at the wrong time, but those are rather few and far between.

He would be a good policy for ageing Andrei Markov and an ideal partner for Weber. While wild rumours circulated about the Habs having a scout in Vancouver looking at Alex Burrows, Edler is the guy who, for me, makes the most sense on the Canucks. At the very least, Marc Bergevin should give Jim Benning a call as they would probably take a salary dump in return as well as a good prospect.