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Saturday, February 25, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline: Could the Montreal Canadiens Land Rick Nash?

Let me start by saying no, the Montreal Canadiens cannot land Rick Nash.

With the NHL trade deadline less than 48 hours away, Nash is the most coveted player available on the trade market.

Some may argue that L.A.'s Dustin Brown holds that title — because the Kings won't require as much in return — however, it's become unclear over the last 24 hours whether or not the Kings captain is available.

With endless rumors swirling about who will end up where, I thought it would be fun to throw out a scenario, albeit an incredibly improbable one, in which the Canadiens would find themselves landing the star winger.

The reality is the Habs don't have the roster players to match the rumored offer that the New York Rangers have on the table. It involves either Michael Del Zotto/Ryan McDonagh plus either Derek Stepan, Brandon Dubinsky or Carl Hagelin, and a first round pick.

Montreal's advantage over the Rangers lies in there draft position.

Columbus is on track to have the first pick at this June's draft. If the two club's were able to hammer out a deal involving Montreal's first round pick, that would give Columbus two picks in the top ten.

With the Habs porous play, a pick in the top five seems more realistic and a top three pick is not out of the question either.

Now for the problem.

If Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson were to be interested in the Canadiens pick, it would have to be in a package including Scott Gomez.

Nash comes with a price tag of $7.8 million so the only way the Habs could make it work is if they were to send Gomez, and his $7.357 million, the other way.

Montreal would have to add a few assets to sweeten the pot, maybe Andrei Kostitsyn and a prospect —Louis Leblanc, Brendan Gallagher, or Michael Bournival — and maybe even their second round pick acquired from Nashville in the trade that sent Hal Gill to the Preds.

Of course, the only way this dream could become reality is if Howson were to be blinded by the possibility of drafting twice, early on in a draft. Keep in mind that this year's draft has many promising prospects such as Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Matthew Dumba, Filip Forsberg, and Morgan Rielly, to name a few.

The unfortunate reality is that Gomez's downside more than likely outweighs another top pick in June.

If Montreal had more to offer, other than their pick, it would help their chances. But the Canadiens don't have anything to offer that could help Columbus' offense after Nash's departure.

As far fetched as it seems, if Howson were to bite would you be willing to part with a top five pick—and possibly top three—and a prospect to bring Nash to Montreal?

Would a superstar winger help out the Habs or should they hold off for the center they've needed for years?

What are your thoughts?

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Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com

You can follow Sean on Twitter


(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

12 comments:

If they trade for Nash now, it will be a Saku Koivu-type situation all over again: a great player without anyone to help him out.

The Habs need to rebuild, from top to bottom. They should trade for draft picks and replace Pierre Gauthier as General Manager. The only players they should absolutely avoid trading are Price, Subban and Emelin. The Habs should also keep Cole, Emelin, Moen, Gorges and Plekanec unless they get an offer they can't refuse. Everyone else is expendable. And bringing in a superstar, even one of Nash's caliber, will sidetrack the Canadiens.

I still think a superstar center would help the team, but with carter off the market there aren't.t very many options.

@Letic Lady: Well said and too true!

That is actually kind of the problem with Plekanec right now too. Except with Plek, I think the Habs are wasting the best years of his career playing his as a No.1 center (like they did with Koivu).

And that is why, to me, that Habs do NOT need a star winger, but a center.

Nash is a great player but not, at all, what this team needs right now.

The CH chances to make the playoffs are pretty slim and the entire org needs revamping. In my humble opinion now would be the ideal time to bring up the younsters and see how they perform...Gallagher,Kistos, Geffrion,Tinordi,Bournival and Beaulieu.

I think everyone is forgetting that Nash would never agree to come to Montreal. I don't think we are anyone's list these days.
We have to build through the draft and trade for prospects. If not we will continue to have to way overpay for free agents which are a gamble even when you don't overpay.
As far as a superstar center, we will need to draft one.
Not sure he will be a superstar but Brendan Gaunce at 6'2" 215 lbs would be a great pick for the Habs

@Hockeyhype

Brandan Gaunce could be a good pick up, but currently ISS has him ranked 7th in this year's draft. Should things stay as they are, Montreal would pick in the top-three. That means Grigorenko or Forsberg could fall to the Habs. All big players.

The Habs will not acquire Nash because he doesn't want to come to Montreal. Case closed!

It would be a big mistake to trade for Nash. To me, Dustin Brown would be a much more desirble. However, their first priority should be finding themselves some big skilled/gritty centermen. Then, they need to find 1 or 2 big gritty/nasty D-men. Without Gill, Emelin is now their biggest D-man at 6'2" and they must have the smallest D-corp in the entire league and perhaps the entire NHL history.

I truly hope that we stay away from Nash. He'd be a good
Player with us and likely live up to his 30-40 goals per season but the cost to acquire him would be ridiculous.

If we were a Stanley cup team then acquiring Nash can put you over re top but we are a long ways away from that.

Like anon pointed out Brown would be a better oil up because his production would not be that different but the cost to acquire him would be roughly half of what it
Would take for Nash.

Goat should inquire into Brown because he'd be a perfect top line LW alongside Pleks and Gio.

@Louis & HockeyHype

Guance is the ideal type of player the Habs need what with him being 6'2" 215lbs and all but Louis is right, With the Habs picking as high as top 3 they're more than likely going to pick the best player available rather than fill their need. That happens often with teams in high draft positions.

@Fred
Well said.

@Anon
I would love Brown to come to Montreal and like Bryan says he would be much more affordable.

Overall though, the Habs really need to address their problem down the middle. It's always fun to talk about star players coming to the Canadiens but it's about time they acquire a big, competent centerman.

@Louis & Sean

I realize that he is ranked 7th but he plays in the OHL and seems to have heart as he defends teammates at 17 years old. I think the Habs should consider trading down if they feel they can but don't be surprised if he goes higher than 7th. They should stay away from Grigorenko as he sounds like a problem child. Filip Forsberg might be a good choice as well but he has not played in North America yet.

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