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This season, the trade deadline is on March 3rd, meaning the Canadiens have got just 11 games to showcase the goods they hope to sell before close of business. Unfortunately, it’s probably not the ones that they’d like to move that will drum up some interest. Just think back to last season, it wasn’t Jonathan Drouin who was sent packing, no it was Artturi Lehkonen, Ben Chiarot and Brett Kulak. Not that the Canadiens are missing the last two, but watching Lehkonen go in Colorado, it’s hard not to admit that he had untapped potential in Montreal.
This time around, the Habs would love to find a new home for Jonathan Drouin, Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman but the chances of that happening are slim to none. For the last few years, Drouin has struggled to stay healthy and as a result, his numbers have plummeted, to the point where it’s almost impossible to imagine him bringing any kind of decent return.
As for Mike Hoffman, a scorer who doesn’t score isn’t worth much, even more so they’re not on an expiring deal but still have another season with an hefty price tag of 4.5M. Add to that the fact that Hoffman’s reputation is not exactly glowing whether it is about his work ethic or his ability to be a good teammate. As annoying as it may be to contemplate, it seems like the Habs will be stuck with this Bergevin panic signing.
As for Dadonov, even though Kent Hughes praised him for his professionalism in a challenging season, it’s hard to imagine a GM desperate enough to come knocking for the Russian. His sole redeeming feature might be that he’s on an expiring deal, but even then, 13 points in 42 games is nothing to write home about. In the end, welcoming Dadonov into the fold was the price to pay to get rid of Weber’s contract and it’s not that much of a surprise if he can’t be turned into another asset.
No, if Kent Hughes wants to pick up another high draft pick at the next draft, he’ll have to part with something more valuable. Reportedly, Hughes has said that he’s not interested in trading Josh Anderson, but that’s exactly what he said about Lehkonen last season.
Granted, the power forward isn’t having a stellar season either, he’s got 19 points to his name in 49 games (one more than Hoffman who’s only played 37 contests), but he at least brings some energy and leadership to a team. Furthermore, the argument can be made that production is hard to come by in Montreal on a one-line team when you’re on the outside looking in. Is that enough for a GM to entertain a hockey trade? One in which he’s getting a player with a lot of term and money (4 more years at 5.5 M), that’s hard to say… Would Hughes be inclined to let go of Anderson as Slafkovsky might one day turn into a power forward? A crystal ball could be useful to predict the outcome of that dilemma.
Finally, for the last few weeks, a couple of names regularly came back into trade rumors; Sean Monahan and Joel Edmundson but with both of their health status in question, it’s tough to know if there’s a chance that they might still be moved. The Canadiens had said that they would be giving an update on Monahan last week, but Friday came and went without a peep from the organization.
As for Edmundson, he’s struggled to stay healthy in the last two years and has only appeared in 24 games last year and 39 this season. Even more worrying, his plus/minus rating has fallen off a cliff this season as he sports a -21 rating. Before this year, his worst season ended with a -1. When the Habs announced that Nick Suzuki would be the team’s captain going forward, they named Edmundson and Gallagher as alternates, adding that they wanted experience and stability. Will a GM make an offer tempting enough for Hughes to forego that stability in light of Edmundson’s struggles? Yet another difficult question.