As the Canadiens continue to plummet in the standings, calls are rising for GM Marc Bergevin to do something to save their dwindling playoff hopes.
As the Montreal Canadiens continue to plummet in the standings, calls are rising for GM Marc Bergevin to do something to save their dwindling playoff hopes. As Bergevin has publicly stated he won’t change the coaching staff, his only option is the trade market.
The more the losses pile up, the more the trade rumor mill buzzes in anticipation over Bergevin’s plans. There’s been talk of pursuing Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels recently reported right winger Dale Weise and defenseman Tom Gilbert could be shopped if the losing continues.
Engels also claimed the Habs would strongly consider Winnipeg Jets left winger Andrew Ladd, though they’re not ready yet to put Ladd on the market. Meanwhile, the Canadiens interest in suspended Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin appears to have cooled.
Some pundits believe Bergevin should consider trading some of his core players. TSN’s Francois Gagnon went so far as to propose moving superstar defenseman P.K. Subban for a top center if one becomes available.
Bergevin, however, continues to play things close to the vest. With his club falling further out of playoff contention and all-world goaltender Carey Price suffering an apparent setback in his recovery from a right-leg injury, the Habs GM could become a seller by the trade deadline.
Addressing the Canadiens’ popgun offense is a priority for Bergevin, who’s acquired a reputation for making stealthy moves. While some of the Habs faithful hope he can swing a season-saving deal, he’s unlikely to find suitable solutions at the trade deadline. The odds of finding a top-line center or right wing could be better in the off-season.
It’s unlikely, however, Bergevin will move out key players like Subban, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher or Alex Galchenyuk to address his roster needs. There’s no team dangling an elite center or a top-line scoring right wing. Even if there was, using Subban creates a huge hole on the Habs blueline that will take years to fill.
More likely trade candidates will be pending UFAs like Weise, Gilbert and perhaps goalie Ben Scrivens. Bergevin could also try freeing up cap space by peddling Lars Eller and David Desharnais.
Perhaps the Canadiens tumble down the Eastern Conference standings will have a silver lining. Finishing near the bottom will increase their odds of winning this spring’s Auston Matthews draft lottery.
COYOTES HAVE DECISION TO MAKE ON BOEDKER
The status of contract talks between the Arizona Coyotes and pending UFA right winger Mikkel Boedker could draw attention as the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaches. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports discussions have begun, but it doesn’t appear the 26-year-old has received an offer to his liking.
Given Boedker’s youth and playmaking skills, he will be highly prized in the trade market if the Coyotes opt to move him. However, he’s been a key factor in their quest for a playoff spot this seeason. On pace for a career-high 20-goal, 55-point campaign, Boedker’s also among the Coyotes’ top scorers.
As for Coyotes captain and right winger Shane Doan, don’t expect him to request a trade or for management to seek a waiver of his no-trade clause. With the Coyotes in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, he’ll play out the season in Arizona.
MORE RUMOR ROUNDUP:
- Trade activity on hold while Jets decide on Byfuglien, Ladd
- Decision time looming for playoff bubble teams
- Oilers eyeing defensemen Hamonic, Vatanen
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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