The NHL trade deadline is less than a month away, and teams starting to fall out of contention are beginning to assess where they’re at in preparation. One of those teams, the Montreal Canadiens, who accomplished the rare feat of falling out contention despite being among the best teams to start the season, are considering becoming sellers during the upcoming trade-fest.
The Canadiens are shopping veterans according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has been working the phones aggressively trying to make something happen to get his club out of its doldrums. The Habs haven’t hung out the ‘For Sale’ sign but they’re listening to offers on UFA forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise along with defenceman Tom Gilbert. If the Habs can’t get goalie Carey Price back soon, then those talks will intensify.
The Canadiens looking to get some value for future UFA veterans shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it’s unlikely Gilbert, Fleischmann or Weise will be back in Montreal next season.
Bergevin made a nice move signing Flesichmann to a one-year deal after initially agreeing to a PTO. He’s put together a solid season with nine goals, 10 assists and 19 points in 51 games, playing 35.7 percent of shifts in the defensive zone. He’s tied for second on the Canadiens with eight even-strength goals, and would be an excellent addition to a team looking to improve their bottom-six.
Weise’s stats on the surface look nice with 12 goals (a career high), 10 assists and 22 points, but he’s scored just three times since November. It’s hard to imagine the club getting anything more than a late-round pick for him, but the Canadiens will benefit from reallocating ice time and opportunity to younger forwards.
As for Gilbert, his value is really low, as he’s no longer an offensive threat (2 points in 39 games) and doesn’t so anything well enough to hold decent value. Like Weise, the club will be lucky to get a late-round pick for the 33-year-old.
Garrioch reports the Canadiens aren’t the only team exploring the trade market, as the San Jose Sharks are currently shopping for a defenseman.
While the San Jose Sharks went into Saturday with a 7-1-2 record in their last 10, that hasn’t stopped GM Doug Wilson from trying to make a change or two with his roster in an effort for a long playoff ride. As everybody knows, the Sharks can have any kind of regular season they want but it’s about having success in the playoffs and the word is Wilson has been telling his counterparts he’d like to get a defenceman if at all possible. The problem with Wilson is he can be difficult to deal with because he likes to kick tires but the heat is on him to make a move so he might be willing to pay whatever the market bears this season.
Garrioch throws out Justin Schultz of the Edmonton Oilers as a potential name, but if Wilson is looking for a player of impact, it’s probably best to steer clear of the under performing upcoming RFA.
There are some interesting names out there.
If the Jets fall out of the playoffs and can’t re-sign him, would they talk to San Jose about Dustin Byfuglien? It would give the team a great one-two punch with defensemen who can play forwards with Brent Burns. Although, the rental cost would be high. If they’re looking for a defenseman with a physical edge, Toronto will gladly send them Roman Polak for a draft pick in any round. There will be options, but it depends how big a move Wilson wants to make.
Trade season is soon upon us.