After 48 games, the Canadiens hold the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Washington Capitals who hold the eighth and final playoff spot (53 points). The Habs have not made things easier on themselves, playing weak hockey over their last ten games and going 4-4-2 in the process.
After trading disgruntled sniper Mike Cammalleri to the Calgary Flames in exchange for rugged forward Rene Bourque on, look for GM Pierre Gauthier to continue making changes.
While some fans still hope the Canadiens will be buyers this season, it would be wise for the organization to retool its depleted farm system, acquire prospects and picks to make the team younger.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Canadiens have a mere 14.8% chance of making the playoffs this season.
With that in mind, let's have a look at the Canadiens' best potential trade baits before or on trade deadline day:
The inconsistent winger will certainly attract teams looking for an offensive boost, despite his inconsistent play. The Russian sniper, who will turn 27 in February, will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
AK46, who is making $3.25 million this season, has expressed his interest to stay in Montreal, willing to take a home-town discount. But the 6'0'', 215 lb, has only notched 11 goals and added 11 assists for 21 points in 38 contests with Montreal.
One of the streakiest players in the league, Kostitsyn has reached the 20-goal plateau three times during his career which makes him an attractive and affordable acquisition for a team looking to add depth up front.
Montreal should really consider trading him as he likely fetch a pick and a prospect at the deadline. If he's not signed in the upcoming two or three weeks, look for AK46 to be donning another sweater by March.
POTENTIAL TEAMS INTERESTED: Penguins, Devils, Panthers, Predators, Wild and Kings
A few days before the season started, the Canadiens signed him to a $1.75-million, one-year contract as an insurance policy. Campoli, who was mainly signed because All-Star Andrei Markov had a few setbacks during his rehabilitation from off-season knee injury, sustained a hamstring injury in his first game with the Habs.
A frequent healthy scratch after his return from injury, Campoli never really settled in his role as a seventh defenseman. In 13 games, the 27 year-old blue liner has only one goal and one assist.
Look for Campoli to be traded for a 4th or 5th round draft pick before the deadline.
POTENTIAL TEAMS INTERESTED: Blackhawks, Sharks, Devils and Blues
An experienced penalty killer, Gill has seen his ice-time dwindle under Randy Cunneyworth. But he remains a force on the man-disadvantage, as evidenced by the Habs 89.4% penalty kill efficiency, good for first place in the NHL.
A Stanley Cup winner, Gill is the kind of player that is in high demand come deadline day. His playoff experience can certainly help a team looking for a veteran presence on their bottom defensive pairing.
Look for Gill to fetch a second round draft pick.
POTENTIAL TEAMS INTERESTED: Flyers, Penguins, Sharks, Panthers, Stars and Avalanche
Another Stanley Cup winner, Moen is a proven veteran that offers size, grit and toughness. Moen can also chip in the occasional goal as shown by his 16 points (9G, 7A) this season.
Making only $1.5 million this year, Moen is also an adept penalty killer and a good skater. The 6'2, 217 lbs left winger will be a hot commodity in the next few weeks.
While the Habs may be interested in re-signing the 29 year-old, it would be better to maximize his value and trade him for a prospect and a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
POTENTIAL TEAMS INTERESTED: Canucks, Red Wings, Sharks, Predators and Senators
After a tough start, the power-play specialist has been in and out of the line-up this season. Weber, who has scored all of his four goals with the man-advantage, has also been used as the team's 12th forward during many games.
Making $850,000 this year and next, Weber doesn't seem to fit in the organization's plans anymore. Especially with the emergence of countryman Raphael Diaz and bruiser Alexei Emelin.
The Habs will be looking for another prospect, most likely a forward, in exchange for the Swiss defender.
POTENTIAL TEAMS INTERESTED: Oilers, Islanders, Lightning and Blue Jackets
The journeyman forward is having a very tough season with Montreal, after scoring 12 goals and adding 14 assists for 26 points in 59 games last season. This year, Darche has been unproductive to say the least, notching only two goals and adding four helpers for six points in 48 games.
The impending UFA might interest a team looking for depth on the fourth line and help on the penalty kill. Darche is making only $700,000, so his salary will be easy to fit under the cap.
Darche could fetch a late round pick or a disappointing prospect.
Frankly, most Canadiens' fans would like to see Gomez traded for a bag of pucks and a used jock-strap, but it won't happen this year.
With a cap hit of $7,357,143 this season, the Alaskan center has not scored a goal in more than 50 games—his last goal was on February 5th, 2011.
This season, Gomez has again been a major disappointment for the Habs, playing only 18 games and recording a brutal six assists.
Gomez is also -19 over the past two campaigns in Montreal. No one, not even the Habs want him. Gomez is simply going anywhere.
So what do you think? Who do you think are the mostly likely players to be traded?
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