2017-2018 Last Call For The Habs

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One week, seven days… that’s all that’s left for several teams around the NHL to add or unload some players through trades, at least for them to be eligible to play in the playoffs. Yes, the 2017-2018 trade deadline is upon us and so far, only one trade of significance has happened, when the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings danced together with key players in the deal, Dion Phaneuf and Marian Gaborik, switched uniforms. If history repeats itself, and there’s no reasons to think it won’t, many more trades should be expected as teams are looking at beefing up in hope for a long playoffs’ run.

Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens are in sales’ mode, sitting 29th out of a possible 31 teams, and while many names are or have been mentioned in trade rumours, they only have one key pending free agent to speak of: Tomas Plekanec. In my opinion, out of the Habs’ players names out there, he’s the most likely to find himself given a chance to play hockey while his current teammates are either watching the playoffs or resting somewhere warm comes April.

Not too long ago, NHL Insider Bob McKenzie was speculating on Plekanec’s value and his best guess was that the Canadiens’ forward could fetch a third round pick but, if a team was desperate enough, he might get Bergevin a second round pick. Others have reported that due to their lack of depth at centre, the Canadiens could very well be tempted to offer the veteran centre a contract extension which, if you think about it, would also make sense. You see, Plekanec is a true pro. He wears an “A” on his jersey for a reason and while he’s definitely not worth the $6 million he’s getting paid, he could be very useful at, let’s say, half of that salary. Is it possible that Bergevin could have a talk with his player informing him of his interest in re-signing him on July 1st, but give him a chance to play some significant games this upcoming spring while getting an asset in return? Very much so.

After Plekanec, don’t be surprised if Bergevin tried to revamp his defensive corp. Guys like Jordie Benn, David Schemko and Joe Morrow are all a dime a dozen but contending teams do like to add veteran depth to their roster in the event of potential injuries. One or two of them could very well find a taker by next Monday.

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Max Pacioretty will likely stay put until the NHL Draft.

As for the other names mentioned in trade rumours, fully expect Max Pacioretty to be in the Habs’ line-up against the Flyers on February 26th at night. The same goes for often mentioned Alex Galchenyuk, he who has been playing some better hockey for the past few weeks, and for Andrew Shaw, a rumour coming out of left field if you ask me.

Shea Weber

Speaking of coming out of left field, former Lightning GM Brian Lawton threw a bomb when he mentioned that Canadiens’ defenseman Shea Weber could get traded by trade deadline.

For what it’s worth, don’t hold your breath on this one folks and that, for two reasons: for one, Bergevin is taking way too much heat from some people for pulling the trigger on that trade and two, just like for Pacioretty or any other key player on the team, he would fetch much more at the draft due to the fact that all teams will have cap space by that time.

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* Oilers pick could become a 4th if Al Montoya plays two more games this season * If the Kings qualify for the playoffs, the Canadiens will receive their own 2018 4th round pick back which was part of the Dwight King trade.

One thing is for sure though, it should be an action-packed week once again as teams flex their muscles and prepare for a playoffs’ push. But because there just aren’t as many quality pending UFA’s available, you can expect more “hockey trades” like the Phaneuf/Gaborik one this season… and with few quality UFA’s in his line-up, that’s what Bergevin is hoping for. Go Habs Go!!!

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