With now less than two weeks before the April 3rd, 2013 NHL trade deadline, the Montreal Canadiens are in good position to begin the playoffs at home a very good season shortened by the lockout. Sitting currently 2nd in the Eastern Conference right behind the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens will certainly be buyers this time around after being sellers last year. However, with the depth of the organization both on offense and on defense, it would be very surprising to see GM Marc Bergevin make a major splash right before the deadline.
With forwards Rene Bourque and Brandon Prust nearing a return and rookie Jarred Tinordi playing well since he was called-up from the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens will be looking to add depth players to an already potent line-up. The needs to get bigger and grittier in order to come out victorious of a best-of-seven series against physical teams such as the Boston Bruins or the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Since it is not necessarily in the philosophy of Marc Bergevin to go all-in by making a blockbuster trade, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the organization acquire a player with a long-term contract such as Philadelphia Flyers forward Maxime Talbot. The native of Lemoyne, Quebec (a suburb of Montreal), is having a difficult season for the struggling Flyers, notching only 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points in 30 games.
The 29 year-old super pest is the second year of a five-year pact he signed in the summer of 2011. Talbot is making a very reasonable $1.75 million this season and is reportedly on the market, according to a report by Andy Strickland. A proven playoff performer, Talbot can both play as a winger or a center in addition to killing penalties with great efficiency.
Playing an average of 15:14 minutes per game this season, Talbot can easily slide up or down the line-up depending on what your needs are. A very adept penalty killer, Talbot is the team leader in time of ice with a man short at 3:30 minutes per contest. His presence, along with the return of Prust, would certainly help the Habs’ penalty kill which is currently ranked 21st in the NHL with a mediocre 79.6% of efficiency.
We all know that special units are of extreme importance come playoff time as teams don’t take many chances at even strength. Talbot, who is a long-time fan of the Bleu Blanc Rouge, would be very happy to rejoin a winning team with a very good chance at a second Stanley Cup. We all remember Talbot’s two goal performance in a 2-1 win during game 7 of the 2008-09 Stanley Cup against the Detroit Red Wings. The flashy and versatile forward would the second sparkplug the Habs need to have a long playoff run in 2013 as the team is currently lacking character especially with Brandon Prust of the line-up due to a shoulder injury.
The Flyers really need to start rebuilding their defensive corps and the Canadiens are very deep at the position, which makes the two teams perfect trade partners. The Habs could easily trade a defenseman such as Raphael Diaz (currently injured) in exchange for Talbot, or they could offer Yannick Weber and a 2nd or 3rd-round pick for the gritty Quebecker.
With several draft picks in the first few rounds of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft as well as a plethora of young talented rearguards waiting in the wings, whether it is in Hamilton (Morgan Ellis, Nathan Beaulieu) or in junior or college (Darren Dietz, Dalton Thrower, Mac Bennett), the Canadiens can afford to let one go in order to improve the team immediately before this window of opportunity closes as we don’t know if the team will be a contender next season.
Who do you think the Canadiens should target on the trade market?