Friday, February 17, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline Bait: Montreal Canadiens' Hal Gill

Hal Gill - Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three
Less than two short weeks away, the Trade Deadline is the focus of increasing discussion and chatter, both online and off.

Obviously, here at HabsAddict we are more than thrilled to join the conversation.

Continuing our multi-part series looking at both potential trade bait as well as possible targets for the Habs, we look at the potential trade of rearguard Hal Gill.

Why he could be traded- Like Travis Moen, who was profiled here earlier, Gill is an impending unrestricted free agent on a team that has every reason to sell.

Hal Gill certainly has the experience, leadership and defensive acumen that contending teams covet.

An NHL veteran with over 1000 career games, the blueliner is also the proud owner of a Stanley Cup ring with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

One the game's top penalty killers, Gill has shown he can be a tremendous shutdown force in the post-season and is undoubtedly a positive voice in a locker room.

Clearly, the substraction of Gill would be a blow for the Canadiens backend. However, as Randy Cunneyworth has been dressing seven defencemen on most nights, the team does posess the bodies to compensate for his departure.

What he could be worth - Between a first round draft pick (or equivalent prospect) OR a combination of picks and players OR a second round draft pick (or equivalent prospect).

A first round pick sounds high? Yes, it is. Very.

Too high? Perhaps. Probably.

But it is not completely impossible. Teams looking to acquire Gill are typically well situated in the standings, meaning their first round picks are likely of the late variety. And the 2012 draft class has the reputation of being a weaker crop.

In addition, with prime rental candidates Francois Beauchemin, Tim Gleason and Andy Sutton re-signed by their respective teams, the market for blueliners has dried up considerably, which evidently works to Montreal's benefit.

Not only does the aforementioned trade market support the idea that Hal Gill can fetch a high return, but so does recent history.

In 2008, an aging Adam Foote was shipped from Columbus to Colorado for a first round draft pick and a conditional fourth round selection.

In 2009, Derek Morris was traded to the Rangers for three roster players - Dmitri Kalinin, Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha. The same year, Jordan Leopold was shipped from Colorado to Calgary for a similar package. The Avalanche received two defensive prospects and a second round pick in return.

If nothing else, it is hard to imagine Montreal getting anything below a second round pick. Lesser blueliners like Andrew Alberts and Jaroslav Modry wielded third round picks. Gill is clearly worth more than that.

With a little luck, perhaps the Canadiens can even pull of a trade reminiscent of the one that sent Craig Rivet to San Jose in exchange for Josh Gorges and a first round pick by the name of Max Pacioretty.

Who could be interested - Chicago, Detroit, Florida, New York (R), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis.

Unsurprisingly, of the team's above, only New York and Pittsburgh rank near the top of the league in penalty killing. The other six squads are situated in the bottom third in that category.

That alone should suffice to justify their interest in Hal Gill.

Beyond that, Chicago cannot be thrilled having Sami Lepisto and John Scott as their bottom, depth blueliners.

Philadelphia would obviously love to shore up their defensive depth, especially with the absence of Chris Pronger and their dubious goaltending situation. However, that may have changed since they acquired Niklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars.

Pittsburgh won a cup with Hal Gill and are quite familiar with what he can bring to the table.

St. Louis has a younger group on the backend and would benefit from the presence of a grizzled veteran. My colleague Bryan Willey even suggests making Gill part of a package for Chris Stewart. We will see.

In short, there are plenty of team's who have legitimate reason's to show interest in the American rearguard.

What do you think? Where will Gill go? And for what price?

Louis is an Associate Editor atHabsAddict.comand an Editor Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval.

He currently resides in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. Find him on twitter

(Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images North America)


Would we want Chris Stewart? Hasn't he been dropped to the 4th line for lack of effort?


The package (w/ Gill) for Stewart was my colleague's, Bryan, idea. Not the worst idea in the world either, but Stewart is indeed a risk, especially since he has fallen out of Hitchcock's good graces.

But, his frame is appealing and he had two 28-goal seasons prior to this one. One could do alot worse!

Thanks for reading.

Stewart would be a nice replacement to AK on the third line with Eller and as a bonus he makes a little less money and is only a cap hit of 2.875 mil

I'd be cautious on the Stewart front. Don't get me wrong, because has tremendous size, grit and skills on the ice. He would be a great addition, skill-wise.

My problem is attitude.

Stewart is now on his second team in as many years, and has seemingly worn out his welcome. He was an amazing player in Colorado but was traded because of attitude problems.

Now that he is being maligned by Hitchcock, perhaps his attitude problems haven't changed? And do the Habs need another head case on the team?

I think not.


And you are absolutely correct in your concerns, especially since Montreal has a history of chasing out players with attitude problems (Ribeiro, Grabovski, Latendresse), be they real or perceived.

Same could be said for Jeff Carter, really. Too bad too. Both Stewart and Carter could fill the CH's needs.

Come on guys.......are we seriously talking about attitudes of young players?

Cary Price, PK Subban, Gullaume Latendresse, Ribeiro, Kostitysn, Grabovski, Chelios, Theodore, and on and on and on.

Shall we talk about Yzerman? He was considered a selfish player. Detroit wanted to ship hm out for Yashin.......look how that turned out.

Their attitude is likely the last thing we should worry about.

@Bry: I kinda, but don't entirely agree. To Louis' point, the Habs don't have a great history dealing with "attitude" problem players.

In addition, Stewart is seemingly on a different level. There is a difference between being a primadonna and being a disruptive force in the dressing room.

That is, apparently, exactly what was wrong with Stewart in Colorado. If Hitch isn't fond of him, I can only imagine there is something along the same lines going on in St. Louis.

Where there's smoke...


Darn you and your wild idea about trading for Stewart!

This post is about Gill's value! :P


Whats odd about this entire situation however is that many people are reporting that Stewart is available and almost everyone has him returning to Colorado?

There has to be something there.

Much of the problem with attiude is caused by a lack of leadership with this organization.......A new GM once named with right this.

have faith my people

@ Louis

I'm sorry. back to Gill though. His value keeps climbing now that teams are making their moves. I'm liking what we can get for him more and more every day.


Just giving you a bit of flak ;)

And, yeah, Gill's value is incrasing, clearly. I figure he should get a Grossman like haul. At this point, anything less is disappointing.

Well it is no more speculation Hal Gill has been traded to Nashville Predators and Blake Geoffrion is coming the other way to the Hamilton Bull Dogs and another player and a pick. I can't remember the other player, I was really hoping that Gill would retire and be a defensive coach for the Canadiens. As there are so many young defense men on the squad that could use his calming force. Oh well he is a free agent this summer who knows what will happen we will just wait and see.

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