Friday, February 24, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline: In the Canadiens' GM Chair, Part 2

Andrei Kostitsyn - Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens 
As promised, I am back with the second and final edition of my Trade Deadline ideas. In my first part, I outlined my plan for the eight defensemen on the Montreal Canadiens' roster.

As fate would have it, big Hal Gill was the first to go in what I thought was a very good deal for the Habs.

It is not what I had hoped - Gill as part of a package for Chris Stewart - but realistically was a decent return.

Now that I have looked at the blueline and the dominoes have begun falling, the question is what to do with the forward unit.

Without further ado, here is the final half of what I would do if I were sitting in the GM chair.

The Foundation: Who Stays

From the current roster my quick list which includes Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, Brian Gionta, David Desharnais, Ryan White, Lars Eller, and Louis Leblanc.

Together they represent two-thirds of the forward unit and, I would argue, the current and future core of the team. They possess a blend of size, skill, speed, and leadership that should not be tampered with.

Having said that, absolutely no forward on my team is an “untouchable”. Any player can be had if the right deal presents itself.

For instance, if a desperate Anaheim team were to pick up the phone and offer me Ryan Getzalf in a one-for-one deal, then Pacioretty would have to go.

Who is available?

Mathieu Darche

Mathieu Darche has, without a doubt, been playing the best hockey of his Montreal Canadiens career in the past couple of weeks. Nonetheless, he is an older, fringe NHL player who is getting more minutes than he should.

There is an obvious problem when a player like Darche is one of the most utilized, and number one RWer, alongside Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque.

Mr. Darche you have served your time as a Montreal Canadien and it is time to go.

It is so very difficult to put a value on a player, but there are certainly teams around who would like to add an experienced, depth player like Darche.

What I would do: Mathieu Darche will be dealt to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick. If the Sharks win the cup it remains a sixth, if they do not then it becomes a seventh.

Andrei Kostitsyn

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would defend this guy and plead that he be re-signed by the Habs. It is time for Mr. Kostitsyn to find employment elsewhere.

If the Habs are to become a consistent threat in the post season then they need to forget about inconsistent Kostitsyn-like players.

With so very few sellers at the 2012 deadline, Kostitsyn is going to be a fairly hot commodity. Teams like Los Angeles, Colorado, Detroit, Nashville, Pittsburgh or even Ottawa will be looking to add a rental player of his nature.

With limited players available this deadline, it is extremely safe to say that a return similar to Hal Gill - a mid-level prospect, a second round pick and a utility player - is not out of the question.

What I would do: Kostitysn becomes a member of the Florida Panthers. There is no better place to play in obscurity. In exchange Montreal will receive Keaton Ellerby and a secound round pick.

Travis Moen

I am a big fan of Travis Moen. When it was announced that he had signed a three year contract with the Habs, it was one of the highlights of my summer that year.

However, with his contract nearing its end there is talk of him departing.

I would like to see him remain a member of the team. Still, I am torn because Moen is one of the best rentals available and teams would almost certainly pay a premium for his services.

Travis could fetch a second round pick plus an added piece, making it hard to resist dealing him. Yet, few in the upcoming crop of UFA forwards can bring his character to the table.

If Moen remains in Montreal, I will not be upset. If he is dealt and fetches the above return, I will not be upset either.

His suitors are many. The likes of San Jose, Detroit and Vancouver pop up regularly in rumors. What does this tell us?

Elite clubs look for players like Moen before embarking on a playoff run.

What I would do: I believe that Travis will remain with the organization. If he is in fact dealt, then look for him to be headed to a name that nobody is talking about, the Phoenix Coyotes.

Phoenix needs depth on their bottom-six and the big winger would fit the bill nicely. Look for him to be dealt for Mikkel Boedker and a second round pick.

So that's it folks, that's how I'd retool this team.

What do you think of my moves? Would you trade other players like Bourque or Plekanec?

Bryan is a Marketer by day, writer for by night and full time fan of the game. Follow me on twitter @BryanWilley78 but don't bother looking for me on Facebook, I'm just too old for that now!

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)


Nope you are not ready to replace PG

The Canadians need a bonafied #1 centre. So trading Plekanec only makes sense if it is part of that deal. Moen. Darche, AK, Bourque are all expendable and should go to get that #1 centre either through one trade or a series of trades.


I suppose none of us are. Hence us doing the blogging and him the managing. What are your suggestions for the Deadline?


I agree that the team needs a true number one centre, but who? With Carter off the market, options seem thin.

@ Anon


@ Sanman

Getting a #1 center has been the focus for 15 years or more butt he problem is that these types of player never are available unless you pay a premium or obtain them via the draft.

We can likely trade for one now but are we willign to trade Subban, our 1st, and likely a Pacioretty to get one? We really need to start taking some chances with the draft on centers.

@ Lou

I don't understand why people keep talking about Carter when he has played such limited minutes down the middle. He has been a RW for the majority of his pro career flanking Brier, Richards, et al...

For years, I was hoping that the Habs would change Kostitsyn to play center. He has great size; decent speed; capability to carry puck thru traffic; good vision for setting up his wingers; reasonably responsible defensively (particularly if properly coached); and he seldom shoots. He is not a north-south player so he is absolutely wasted on the wing.

Why do you hate Kostitsyn? Face it, we trade away a big winger who can hit and get you 20-25 goals a year, and then we have to replace him with what? What he needs is a coach who will put him with a decent center and let them play. When he was with Eller they were doing very well; they fed off each other and were a threat. But what does the coach do.. splits them up. STUPID!!! So quit picking on Kos. If we do the stupid thing and trade watch him score 40 goals every year there after.

@ Anon

I do not hate Kostitsyn, I just don;t think he's the type of player we need going forward especially with a guy like Bourque under contract.

To me they are one and the same player. Both can score, both can skate and hit and be impact but unfortunately both only show up 1/3 of the time.

Also given the Ruutu contract of almost $5 million a season we have to ask ourselves whether we are willing to accept the organization signing the guy at $4.5+ per season, or keep him for the year and let him walk or trade him now and get some assets.

He might go on and score 40 but that will not happen in this city because of the pressure. He needs to excel in a place like Florida or Columbus or Phoenix where hockey is a side thought for most residents.

Personally I would rather see a 3rd line with Bourque/Leblanc/Eller/geoffrion next season then to see Kostitsyn again.

You should read Kamal Pederson's report on AK on before thinking about trading AK.I would rather have AK on my team than Bourque. I have noticed much of Bourque since he's been on the team and AK gets bounced around so much how can he develope any kind of chemistry with linemates. Like the first poster says; you are not ready to replace PG.

Don't worry I don't get mad. I definitely read what KP had to say but still don't agree with certain things.

If we compare bourque and Kostitsyn there is truly no much difference in careers. Maybe you can argue that Bourque has been more consistent goal wise even though he's a ghost on most nights.

Where is disagree however is that AK46 plays 5 on 5 and pp and nets lets say 20 even though he has not hit that in back to back years. What else does he bring? Ppl mention being the most physical forward but look at his compatibles, he avg less than 1.5 hits per game.

Again just comparing these 2 players but goal production is the same, Bourque can play the PK and will cost around $1 million less per season. So why keep AK46 if there is no added benefit?

@sanman_11: Bingo! All this fantasy talk of Nash to Montreal, in all honesty, makes me cringe. He's a great player but the Habs need an elite center, not winger.

You ONLY trade Plekanec as part of a package if you're getting, say, Getzlaf in return.

Post a Comment