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 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.
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.
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 HabsAddict.com 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)