At the time of writing these lines, there are still three hours left to the NHL’s 2017 Trade Deadline and one trade has been announced (Vanek to Florida). Unless you were born yesterday, you are not surprised by the lack of action. Actually, there is a lot of action… behind the scene. General Managers are jousting, negotiating, trying to get the best deal possible on this crucial day.
Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin is said to be one of the busiest ones out there. He has addressed some depth already but what he is looking for is a bit more difficult to get on a day when the prices are often at their highest. The Canadiens would ideally like to get a Top-4 left-handed puck moving defenseman to play alongside Shea Weber. They would also like to add size up front, preferably with skills and goals’ scoring abilities. Easier said than done, isn’t it?
Many seem to dream of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog or Claude Giroux, but big deals like that are usually not trade deadline deals. Why? For two main reasons: 1- Teams trading those assets would get much more in the summer months, when every team has the cap space to do something big and are working on addressing their needs. 2- Contending teams would have to give too much in return, which would ultimately affect the result, the core and would be too big of a gamble.
But let’s look at what we know happened, the recent players that Marc Bergevin has completed.
The Canadiens gave up a guy who is a long shot to make the NHL and a late pick for an inconsistent, but young, fast and with good offensive upside and he’s known to be aggressive. Habs have the better player in that trade.
Pateryn, unfortunately, was on his way out after his wife lost her cool against a few fans on Twitter, not a smart move in a place like Montreal. The Canadiens added a mid-round pick and landed a veteran, stay at home defenseman. He has good size and brings stability, particularly to the penalty kill, an area of trouble for the Habs this season. He is only 29 years old, so has some good hockey left in him, and does not shy away from physical contact.
Desharnais, in the final year of his contract, had a cap hit of $3.5 million and was a healthy scratch more often than not lately. In 2012, Davidson was diagnosed with testicular cancer and after a first good season in the NHL last year, he struggled a bit this season. Good size, good mobility, good shot, little sample at the NHL level. Habs keep $700,000 of Desharnais’ salary, Davidson’s cap hit is $1.425 million which means that the Canadiens are saving $2.1 million of cap space in the deal.
Ott gets by on hard work and determination. He excels at throwing opponents off their game, kills penalties, takes face-offs (58% this season) and lines up at all three forward positions. He averages 2.4 hits per game, which will make him one of the Canadiens’ most physical forwards. Not a key pick, but a low cost, and will add much needed sand paper to a team that needs it.
According to Pierre LeBrun, Bergevin wants to add size to his line-up. If you look at those trades, few were in the rumours as the Canadiens’ GM keeps his cards close to his chest. We can expect much of the same. I would keep an eye on guys like B. Schenn (PHI), R. O’Reilly (BUF), A. Barkov (FLO), P. Statsny (STL), J. Spezza (DAL), J. Staal (CAR), B. Little (WIN)… Fun times ahead Habs’ fans!