Coming off a 105-point campaign in 2016-17, who would have expected that the Canadiens would be sellers at the trade deadline this season?
But here it is. The Habs are currently among the bottom five teams in the league and will be in contention for a very good draft spot in June. At the deadline on Monday, Marc Bergevin will be moving players from his current roster to build for the future.
Two trades have already taken place and more are expected. Below you will find my personal thoughts about what to expect.
The Canadiens traded Jerabek to the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round pick in 2019.
Jerabek had one goal, three assists in 25 games for the Canadiens this season. The 26-year-old also played 17 games for the Laval Rocket where he recorded 11 points.
On Sunday, Bergevin traded Plekanec and forward Kyle Baun to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Kerby Rychel, defenceman Rinat Valiev and a second-round pick in 2018.
Plekanec played 981 games in a Canadiens uniform and was the 13th-highest scoring player in franchise history.
Baun was acquired on October 4th from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Andreas Martinsen. The 25-year-old has 16 points in 54 games with the Laval Rocket this season.
Pacioretty is one of the most valuable players who is reportedly on the trade market. His 206 goals since 2011-’12 ranks seventh in the NHL. The Canadiens captain still has one year left on his team-friendly contract.
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) February 25, 2018
On Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, Nick Kypreos spoke about the negotiations with the Kings saying the following, “We believe the Montreal Canadiens have asked for guys like Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli. I’m not sure if that gets it done, but at least a first-round pick would be out there involved, and perhaps L.A.’s first pick last season – 11th overall, Gabe Vilardi — is out there as well. Perhaps he might be the piece that gets the deal done.”
Personally, my best guess is that trading Pacioretty will return a second round pick with a top prospect and a mid to low-end prospect.
In my opinion, the St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames seem to be the most logical trade partners for the Habs. They are teams that have the assets that could be a good fit for the Canadiens.
I predict that the Canadiens could receive Robby Fabbri or Jordan Kyrou and a second-round pick from the Blues in return for Pacioretty.
With respect to Flames, I could see the Habs captain sent to Calgary for prospect defensemen Adam Fox and winger Sam Bennett.
With Carey Price sidelined indefinitely with a concussion, it is unlikely that Niemi will be dealt at the trade deadline. But if Marc Bergevin receives a decent offer, he just might pull the trigger.
I suggest that a good landing spot for Niemi would be either Nashville or Las Vegas. I predict that the veteran backup could fetch a fourth-round pick.
Benn has been a bottom-tier defensemen playing in the Canadiens top-four for much of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Benn traded to Colorado for a fifth-round pick by the deadline.
While many fans are hoping that Alex Galchenyuk or additional defenceman will be traded, I just don’t believe that it will happen.
I look forward to your comments about the transactions that you expect and your reaction to the ones that are made. Please add your thoughts below.