NHL Trade Deadline: 5 Deals the Montreal Canadiens Must Consider
Canadiens Need to Bolster Roster for Playoff Run
The Montreal Canadiens are in the midst of yet another solid campaign where they will end up in the postseason. The team has played well up to this point in the year, and with the trade deadline upon us, there are moves that need to be made to bolster the roster. While the team is strong, there is always room for improvement and there are several options on the market.
The Canadiens are notorious for being a small yet skilled team with strong play in their own building. They have lacked size yet are improving that, having brought in players such as Brandon Prust and Dale Weise to improve the bottom-six forwards and make the team tougher to play against. The defense has been strong, headlined by P.K. Subban and a finally healthy Andrei Markov. In goal, Carey Price continues to be one of the best in the league.
Montreal could always use an extra scorer, additional size, grit and depth to allow them a better overall team game. There are many intriguing names on the market and some players would improve the overall quality of the team.
With the NHL trade deadline quickly approaching, the Habs need to consider making some moves to improve the team's standing in the Eastern Conference. Montreal may be firmly in a playoff spot currently, but it only takes a short losing streak to quickly start sliding out of contention. Here are five moves the team can make to avoid falling victim to that skid as the playoff race heats up.
5. Acquire a Big, Gritty Winger
Montreal has size in their bottom-six forwards, yet the team does not possess much in the way of scorers that have size as well. The Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd solves these problems. A true leader who has a nose for the net and is willing to stand up for his teammates, Ladd plays well at both ends of the ice and in all situations. He is a complete player, and while he is not the best scorer in the league, his balanced abilities give him a lot of versatility. He also has two Stanley Cups on his resume.
4. Go After Jaromir Jagr
If Ladd proves too costly, New Jersey Devils veteran Jaromir Jagr might be more to the Canadiens' liking. Jagr is still a good scorer at the age of 42 and loves to play the game. He is big, strong and commands the play well. He plays well on the power play, though he is more of a one-dimensional player compared to Ladd. He is also a free agent at the end of the season, so the Canadiens would not be saddled with a contract after the playoffs are over.
3. Reinforce Defensive Depth
A team can never have too much defense in the postseason. While Montreal features one of the stronger defensive groups in the league, another good player can never hurt and proves valuable in case of injury during the playoffs. Alec Martinez has had his name in trade rumors with the Edmonton Oilers, but could also be moved to solve the Los Angeles Kings' problems with another team. But who on the Canadiens would solve that issue?
2. Move Daniel Briere
If the Kings think that Sam Gagner's contract is too much to handle for the upcoming season, they should inquire about Daniel Briere. The small forward is versatile and can play any forward position. He is a veteran presence who is highly skilled and can provide the extra scoring punch that the Kings so desperately need to supplement their top players. A move of Briere for Martinez could be in the best interest of both teams.
1. Do Not Trade Max Pacioretty
Just don't do it, Montreal. These rumors were swirling earlier in the season but have subsided recently. Max Pacioretty is one of the top scorers in the league this year with 26 goals in 50 games. He has that rare combination of size and skill that doesn't come by too often in a player and is incredibly valuable to any team. They aren't going to get equal value in return for dealing him, so keeping him is a must for Canadiens' management.