By JD Lagrange – This is such an unusual – and boring – trade deadline for Habs’ fans. Unusual as the team is dragging amongst the bottom feeders in the NHL for a second year in a row, after reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Also unusual because teams in such position always have tons of rumours surrounding some of their players as trade deadline approaches. But injuries and underwhelming performances by the prime trade targets are killing those rumours, making it… rather boring.
Usually at this time, we would be talking about those who will be traded, which teams would likely be their destination and what the possible return would be. But around the Canadiens, legitimate NHL Insiders don’t have anything for us to talk about. And when you’re bored, you try entertaining yourself… and the crowds.
This unusual and unfortunate time for the franchise has fans and some media personalities fighting for attention and to fulfill their needs. To accomplish that, they are using way too much imagination and are reaching way deep to justify their sayings. So allow me to try to readjust the pendulum to where it should be, at the risk of being a wet towel on some people’s dreams. Of course, this is one man’s opinion, no more.
Unpack your bags
Let’s have fun doing so, shall we? Let’s play a game called: Unpack Your Bags! I’ll provide you with a list of names that have not been so much in the rumour mill by NHL Insiders, but that have reached a ridiculous level of attention on social media and even in some traditional media.
Unpack your bags…
☞ Mike Matheson! Georges Laraque started this one, if I’m not mistaken. And it makes absolutely no sense to trade him.
- Kent Hughes just acquired him
- He’s a local product happy to be in Montreal
- He’s just coming into his own after an injury plagued beginning
- He’s a good young veteran at an affordable price
☞ David Savard! I don’t know who started that one but it makes no sense for the Habs either.
- He’s the only quality veteran right-handed defenseman in the organisation
- He’s a local guy who loves playing in Montreal
- He is on an affordable contract
- He’s a leader and has been a mentor to Kaiden Guhle
☞ Jake Allen! People outside of NHL organizations seem to think that it’s easy to get quality goaltenders. Yet, the Philadelphia Flyers spent years trying to find a suitable replacement to Pelle Lindbergh and Ron Hextall. The current Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have been searching for years for someone half decent. Allen is not going anywhere by trade deadline, likely not in the off-season either, unless Kent Hughes finds a good, young goaltender.
- His contract extension hasn’t even started yet, it starts next season
- Montembeault can’t say enough about his relationship with Allen, a good veteran
- He wants to be in Montreal and understands his role
- His contract is reasonable
☞ Josh Anderson! I swear for some, wanting to trade Anderson is an infatuation that defies common sense.
- He is now killing penalties
- He has added an East-West aspect to his game
- He instates fear into opponents on the forecheck
- He can drop the gloves
- He’s once again on pace for 24-25 goals
- He’s a quality leader and has taken Slafkovsky under his wing
☞ Joel Edmundson! Okay, I’m less than certain about this one as I strongly believe that he would be gone had he been healthy. There’s a surplus of quality left-handed defensemen in the organization and he seems to be the odd-man out. But injuries will likely delay his departure from Montreal, which is more likely to happen in the off-season.
☞ Sean Monahan! Prior to him missing so much time, there were rumblings around the organization about re-signing Monahan. You don’t hear that anymore, at least not from within or from legitimate NHL Insiders. Is it his foot? A groin? Or worse, is one of his hips giving him grief? The Canadiens only have two games to play before trade deadline and even if he played, that’s not enough time for teams to know that he’ll be worth the gamble.
Those not working in hockey must understand a very simple concept: you can’t trade everyone! The Canadiens have drafted 49 times since the famous Reset of 2018. They have another 11 picks (and counting) for the upcoming NHL Draft. So they have plenty of picks and prospects!
Having quality veterans around not only serves as quality support for the team’s young players, but it is also allowing for young prospects to better develop. How so? By either leaving them in the AHL to develop, or by playing a lesser role to start, avoiding the Edmonton Oilers’ mistake of putting young players in roles they’re not ready for. If anyone needs convincing, all they have to do is to look at what Laval has done to Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Justin Barron.
Even if some of those veteran players won’t be in their prime, or their contracts will be expired and risk being elsewhere by the time the team is a Stanley Cup contender, they are all serving a purpose by providing quality leadership in positions of needs.