By JD Lagrange – With the news coming out that the Canadiens have acquired 23 year-old left-handed defenseman Nicolas Beaudin, giving up on center Cam Hillis in the process, we can expect anything to happen. Further, last night at the Bell Centre, there were several scouts in the stands taking on the game against the Minnesota Wild.
The acquisition of Beaudin, aside from his place of birth, is rather mind boggling. With the likes of Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, Otto Leskinen, Mattias Norlinder, Lane Hutson, Jayden Struble, William Trudeau, Adam Engström and Petteri Nurmi already in the system, the Canadiens need another young left-handed defenseman like they need a hole in the head.
Having three scouts from Anaheim, and two from both New Jersey and Edmonton is very intriguing. Off those teams, we will touch on Edmonton further down, as an option. The other two are not Cup contenders and of the two, only the Ducks have plenty of cap space available to take a contract. I’m not sure what the Canadiens would want from the Devils but keep an eye on Max Comtois, who has one goal and is playing less than 12 minutes a game.
Options on RD
Deep on left defense and on the wing at all levels, the combination of Marc Bergevin’s drafting and Kent Hughes continuation has added much needed depth at center as well. Even with the play of Johnathan Kovacevic, and the developing of Justin Barron and Logan Mailloux, the Canadiens’ glaring need, for now and in the future, is clearly for right-handed defensemen.
And that’s what we’ll be focussing on more in this article. The following options are in no particular order by the way. Well, my “out of left field option” at the end is where my heart truly is…
TARGET: Daniil Miromanov
Surprisingly enough, the Golden Knights have been very stingy defensively so far. But they don’t score enough goals on offense. The issue is mostly on their bottom six, where the production simply isn’t present. The third line of Amato, Howden, Kessel have combined for two goals all season.
TAMPA BAY Option
TARGET: Nick Perbix
Few expected this, but the Lightning needs help with secondary scoring but also, they allow too many goals. On 2nd line, Stamkos has 7 goals but his linemates, Namestnikov and Killhorn, have one goal combined. The third line of Colton, Paul and Maroon have two goals amongst them.
TARGET: Tyson Barrie
The Oilers score goals as easily as another team in the NHL. It’s defensively that they are struggling a bit more. Yet, their defense has much improved over the past few seasons and much like the old Flyers, they have yet to address their need in net but the Canadiens can’t help there. Good defensive forwards or a better defensive defenseman would go a long way for the Oilers. Edmonton has Evan Bouchard and Cody Ceci on the right side as well, and neither is a third pair defenseman.
For the Canadiens, Barrie would be a great stop-gap until Barron or Mailloux are ready. He would help with this anemic power play and he comes at a very reasonable cap hit too.
TARGET: Ethan Bear
The Canes have a great defense and Bear cannot find a spot and wants to play. It’s on offense that they could use some help with secondary scoring. Second line center Kotkaniemi has no goals and only two assists. The bottom six forwards have a combined two goals together.
For Montreal, Bear is an improvement over everyone currently on the right side except maybe Savard, but he has a higher upside than the Canadiens big defenseman obviously.
LA KINGS Options
The Kings could use help both with goals’ scoring and defensively. They allow way too many goals right now and we know that it’s not a goaltending issue. They could use some secondary scoring and an improvement on the left side of their defense.
TARGET: Samuel Girard (LD)
Newhook is the Avs’ second line center (0 pts, 30.4% FO), Compher is their third line center (1 pts, 47.7% FO). Due to Gabriel Landeskog’s injury (out at least 12 weeks), Lehkonen is filling in on top line left and as well as he is playing, that’s not his seat, particularly not for that long.
As mentioned before, the Canadiens don’t need a left-handed defenseman. But Girard is still young, so he fits in with the core, and he brings more offense than what they already have.
Out of left field
TARGET: Seth Jones
I know that this won’t sit well with many people in the Canadiens’ fan base but much like Shea Weber while in Nashville, Jones is my favourite defenseman. He brings much of what Weber brought to the table with his all-around game. Yes, he has a high cap hit but sometimes, you must pay for what you have. The Cap will be going up and Jones, in my opinion, would be a great investment. A true number one defenseman for years to come. A Guhle-Jones pairing for years to come gets me drooling…
The likeliness of any of those trades being consummated are very slim, admittedly. Completing trades between now and trade deadline is not an easy task, particularly not with having 19 teams with less than a million dollars of cap space.
The Canadiens have a huge surplus of wingers, left-handed defensemen and they still hold 11 picks at the upcoming NHL Draft. That’s a lot of assets to complete a substantial trade to address a need.
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