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Fantasy Trades – Defense Edition

Trade deadline is about five weeks away. The Montreal Canadiens have already completed a couple of trades which resulted in Tyler Toffoli playing for the Calgary Flames. This is a good time to start looking at potential trade partners for some of the Canadiens’ players and what better than getting yourself wet by predicting destination and even possible return for some of them.

Since Marc Bergevin’s reset of 2018, the Canadiens have drafted 45 players. They have 12 more picks at the upcoming NHL Draft. For that reason, the Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes duo is on record stating that they would rather have young players in return on trades than Draft picks.

Ben Chiarot

Ben Chiarot

It has been reported by multiple sources that Chiarot will be one of the most sought after players at this year’s trade deadline. There are multiple teams interested in the rugged top-4 defenseman, which include the Florida Panthers, the St. Louis Blues, the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames. Yes, according to Pierre LeBrun, the Flames are still in play for Chiarot in spite of having completed a trade with Montreal for Toffoli just a few days ago.

My pick is Florida. They are deep on the right side of the defense but rather thin on the left, particularly on the top-4. Only Gustav Forsling plays over 20 minutes a game on that side. The Panthers are rumoured to be willing to sacrifice some young talent to address their needs. One of the names circulating in rumours is Owen Tippett, a former first round pick who finds himself at a position where Florida is extremely deep, on the wing.

To FLATo MTL
Ben Chiarot (D)Owen Tippett (RW/LW)
AGE: 23
6’1″ 207 lbs
Draft: 2017 FLA, 1st rd, 10th pk

Tippett is a winger who possesses good speed and who brings that natural scorer’s touch. He gets to the right areas of the ice both with and without the puck. He could provide excellent secondary scoring behind Cole Caufield.

Jeff Petry

Jeff Petry

It hasn’t been an easy season for the Canadiens, but even more so for Petry. Not having Shea Weber playing the tougher minutes ahead of him, and having lost his ideal defense partner in Joel Edmundson, Petry is being exposed against the toughest matchups. But everyone knows that he’s better than he’s shown and teams are still interested in him. Many teams though would require the Canadiens to keep some of his $6.25 million cap.

I’m leaning towards Detroit. Petry is from Michigan, where his wife and kids are currently staying, awaiting for him to be traded. On the Red Wings, Mark Staal ($2M) is a pending UFA as are Danny McKeyser and Nick Leddy ($5M each). Detroit’s GM Steve Yzerman likes having some veteran presence for his young team and losing the three above-mentioned players opens up room. They already have plenty of cap space to welcome him without the Canadiens keeping salary, and will be freeing up more.

To DETTo MTL
Jeff Petry (D)Filip Zadina (RW/LW) + 3rd rd pick in 2022
AGE: 22
6’0″ 197 lbs
Draft: 2018 DET, 1st rd, 6th pk

The Red Wings are reportedly not fully satisfied with Zadina’s development so far and his name has started surfacing in trade rumours. He played junior hockey in the QMJHL so Hughes must know him, or at least know of him. He’s still only 22 years old and has the necessary skills. Petry, an established top-4 defenseman with good skating abilities, is worth more than Zadina but in order to entice to Wings to take on Petry’s contract, and sweetening the pot might be a must. Accepting less in return is one way of doing that.

David Savard

David Savard

Both Gorton and Hughes have said wanting to get skilled and fast players. Savard is from the Marc Bergevin school of thoughts with less mobility and more punishing style. It’s hard to imagine that he would fit the new philosophy in Montreal. He left money on the table to come to Montreal so it’s a team-friendly contract, therefore not as hard to move either. Still, for a contender, the Habs could sweeten the pot by either keeping some cap or taking a camp dump in return to help facilitate the trade.

It’s a long shot here, but I can’t shake the Tampa Bay Lightning out of my mind. They have allowed 128 goals at the time of writing this, and only Florida (130) has allowed more than them amongst playoffs’ teams in the East. They know Savard from having him last year for their playoffs’ run. He would be a huge improvement over Zach Bogosian and Jan Rutta.

To TBLTo MTL
David Savard (D)Jack Thompson (D) + cap dump
AGE: 19
6’1″ 185 lbs
Draft: 2020 TBL, 3rd rd, 93rd pk

Thompson is a mobile, offensive defenseman who needs some work on the defensive side. He’s a project, but one with offensive flair. Further, he is right-handed, an area of need for Montreal.

You will have noticed that I didn’t include Brett Kulak and Chris Wideman in there. While I do think that both will be gone by trade deadline, depth defensemen on cheap contracts can be picked up by any team loading up for a playoffs’ run. So narrowing it down to one team is almost impossible. The expected return could be a depth prospect or later draft pick, 4th to 6th.

Stay tuned for the forward group. Based on what we’re hearing, were basically every forward not named Suzuki and Caufield could be made available, it’s not the lack of choice. We might have to divide them into two groups even.

More reading…

RDS: Habs Interested in Samsonov

Schueneman: The Art of Seizing An Opportunity

Nick Bobrov’s Track Record

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