By JD Lagrange – You have pretenders and you have NHL Insiders. While all of them can be off, the difference is true, legitimate insiders have a proven track record of having legitimate sources around the NHL. In Canada, the most prominent ones are Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger, Elliotte Friedman and Frank Seravalli, although Kevin Weekes, Chris Johnson and Jeff Marek are making a push to join them.
One of them released his top-25 trade targets recently. Alex DeBrincat tops Seravalli’s list but the Montreal Canadiens have three names on that list: Jeff Petry sits at number 11, while Shea Weber’s contract is number 20 and Josh Anderson (?) is number 24. In Anderson’s case, Serevalli mentions that the Canadiens are not trying to trade him but they have resisted some generous offers so far and they may be tempted if the offer is too good to pass.
Interesting for the Habs
Analyzing the list, there are some very interesting candidates on there, and some surprising ones too. Many young players made it to the list, making you wonder why those players are available. Some of them could be of interest for Montreal so let’s have a look at some of them.
|Alex DeBrincat||CHI||LW||24||82GP, 41G-37A-78Pts||$6.4M, 1 Yr|
Seeing DeBrincat’s name up there is rather shocking. But hey, who are we to question one of the NHL’s best Insiders? If he’s available, the Canadiens must do their due diligence and call the Blackhawks to find out what they’re looking for. One would think that the Hawks would want the Habs’ first overall pick though…
|Kevin Fiala||MIN||LW||25||82GP, 33G-52A-85Pts||RFA|
Another surprising name on that list, this one very much salary driven. Hard worker, he has plenty of playmaking ability, skates well and is also a good finisher. It seems like he would fit extremely well into what the Canadiens are wanting to do. It would also allow to trade one of Jonathan Drouin or Mike Hoffman.
|Jakob Chychrun||ARI||LD||24||47GP, 7G-14A-21Pts||$4.6M, 3 Yrs|
The Canadiens are very deep on the left side of the defense but few have the offensive potential that Chychrun brings. If the Habs are high on Slafkovsky or Cooley, could something be worked out for a swap of first round pick (Arizona has the 3rd overall pick) and Shea Weber’s contract?
|#2 Overall Pick||NJD|
Of course, the Canadiens must do their due diligence and at least enquire about the asking price for that pick. But anything short of Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield won’t do it for the Devils, not when you have established young players available on the market. And no, quantity never equals quality so don’t even try.
|Tyson Barrie||EDM||RD||30||73GP, 7G-34A-41Pts||$4.5M, 2 Yrs|
Up until recently, we didn’t think that Barrie would be available but like Montreal, the Oilers are trying to shed some salary. Barrie is not only a right-hand shot, but he can help the Canadiens on the power play too. At $4.5 million, he brings a good quality-value aspect ratio.
|Pavel Zacha||NJD||C||25||70GP, 15G-21A-36Pts||RFA|
With Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier ahead of him eating up key minutes at center, Zacha is not able to fully flourish in New Jersey. Acquiring him could allow Hughes (Kent, that is) and the Habs to contemplate trading Christian Dvorak in a cap saving move.
|John Marino||PIT||RD||25||81GP, 1G-24A-25Pts||$4.4M, 5 Yrs|
After John Klingberg, Marino is my favourite option, perhaps equal to Barrie mentioned above. The Penguins’ defenseman is very much unknown and highly underrated by many. He is on an affordable contract for a long time, and would allow for Logan Mailloux to develop properly, buying him time to do so.
|Semyon Varlamov||NYI||G||34||31GP, 10-17-2, 2.88GAA, .912Sv%||$5M, 1 Yr|
Kent Hughes wants an insurance policy, a veteran goaltender in case Carey Price can’t go. If the Islanders are willing to eat up some salary, Varlamov is a possibility. Although my personal choice would be Ilya Samsonov, in Washington. Younger and cheaper, with some potential.
|Filip Zadina||DET||RW||22||75 GP, 10G-14A-24Pts||RFA|
Along with Kravstov, Zadina has been on my radar for some time now. Still young, he played in the QMJHL so he’s familiar to Quebec. He was upset that the Canadiens and Senators passed him on at the Draft and he has some untapped potential. At 22, he’s worth the risk. Could a deal involving Petry be worked out?
|Ethan Bear||CAR||RD||24||58 GP, 5G-9A-14Pts||RFA|
If Marc Bergevin was still in place, this would be a non-starter. Although I’m sure that Tom Dundon still holds a grudge against Geoff Molson about the Aho offer-sheet and the whole Kotkaniemi fiasco, new management in place in Montreal should not prevent hockey trades. Bear has very good potential but on a deep Carolina defense, he cannot find his spot. In Montreal on the right side, he would be a shoe-in. And the price to acquire him shouldn’t be too high.
Two young players who are surprisingly not on that list are New York Rangers’ own Vitali Kravstov and Anaheim Ducks’ Maxime Comtois, who also should be targets for the Canadiens.