The shoulder separation sustained by Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust may force the hand of General Manager Eric Bergevin into some more wheeling and dealing. The gritty Prust has been all-world for the Habs this season and is expected to be sidelined ten to fourteen days. His productive play, along with his much needed enforcer abilities, have made Prust an invaluable asset to the team.
With the NHL trade deadline approaching, Bergevin will have to weigh his options and realistically assess what chances his team has to win the Cup this season. If Bergevin wants to go all in and make a significant statement for the postseason, the Habs will have to be in the market for something more than just a rent-a-body for the remainder of the season.
If the Canadiens are willing to part with their first round draft pick, acquiring a long term impact player may be an option. Unless they go into a monumental slump, the Habs 2013 first round draft pick will end up being lower in the round. Although Bergevin, like many GMs, is probably not a big fan of trading away draft picks, this low first rounder may be one to sacrifice if he is presented with an enticing offer.
With the Canadiens sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings, Bergevin finds himself with a rather pleasant dilemma of whether or not to go for a blockbuster deal which may put the team on equal footing with the league’s other big guns. Of course, Bergevin is also dealing from a position of strength and should not make the deal if not provided with a legitimate impact player in return.
In addition to help in the faceoff circle, it is little secret the Habs could use some more size on the ice. And now that Prust is on the shelf, this need is exacerbated, as they may be a bit more vulnerable to larger and more physical teams.
Of course, after the Scott Gomez trade did not exactly pan out, the Montreal front office may be a bit hesitant in going after big names via trade route. The last thing this new front office needs is another high-profile botched deal.
Although the team is building for the future, it is difficult to ignore the here and now and the opportunity Montreal has placed itself in as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for this season. Seeing whether or not Bergevin pulls the trigger on a deal before the trade deadline or stays put with the current unit going into the playoffs should make it a rather interesting next couple of weeks.