The Montreal Canadiens currently have an atrocious 8-29-7 record. With them being at the complete bottom of the standings, it’s apparent that they will be sellers at the trade deadline. Although they have a historic rivalry with the Boston Bruins, when looking at how low they are in the standings, it doesn’t seem too out of the question that they could strike a deal with them. In fact, it could be something the two Original Six franchises should consider.
It is unlikely that the Canadiens will trade away any of their bigger pieces until the offseason. That is especially the case if they have multiple years left on their current contracts. However, there is still a decent amount of players who should be traded by this year’s deadline, so the Bruins should have some options to choose from. Here are a few who stand out as potential trade targets.
Ben Chiarot is the biggest name available from the Canadiens who the Bruins should consider targeting. They desperately need to get tougher on the blue line, and his high degree of physicality makes him an alluring option to do just that. The 6-foot-3 defenseman already has 93 hits this season in just 41 games. He has also chipped in a bit offensively, as he has five goals and four assists.
Although Chiarot wouldn’t necessarily be that legitimate big-name defenseman the Bruins need, he can still be classified as a top-four defenseman. He also could be a significant upgrade over Connor Clifton on the bottom pair too. The Hamilton native is capable of playing the right side, so he is another avenue that could be worth exploring. The real question is, would they be willing to give up a decent amount for him even though he is a rental.
Artturi Lehkonen is another player from the Canadiens who is currently in the rumor mill. He could be an intriguing addition to the Bruins’ forward group. The 26-year-old offers decent versatility, as he can play both left-wing and right-wing. He’s having a strong season offensively by his standards too. In 41 games, he has seven goals to go along with 12 assists. That kind of production wouldn’t be bad to have in the bottom six at all. Furthermore, he has performed well in the playoffs and is very effective on the penalty kill too.
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Lehkonen could work well on the Bruins’ third line. Time will tell what the team decides to do with Jake DeBrusk, but if they elect to keep him, the Finnish winger could still fit on the right side. With just one point in his last 11 games, it’s fair to say that Oskar Steen has cooled off since his hot start, too. With Nick Foligno also having a lot of injury trouble and struggling to produce, it wouldn’t hurt for the Bruins to target a bottom-six to middle-six winger. Secondary scoring has remained an issue this season, so now is the time to try and fix it.
Brett Kulak is another rental candidate from the Canadiens who could make sense for the Bruins. They have had a lot of injury trouble this season on the blue line, and this is made apparent by players like Jakub Zboril, Urho Vaakanainen, and John Moore all currently sidelined. It wouldn’t hurt them to add another depth defenseman because of this.
In 38 games this season, Kulak has one goal and seven helpers. He hasn’t been particularly dominant, but he can offer reliability when utilized in a bottom pair role. When looking at the Bruins’ current lineup, he may be able to push a guy like Clifton or even Mike Reilly out of the top six. However, he would still make for at least a very solid seventh defenseman if acquired too.
The Bruins could use another depth forward on their roster. They already lost Karson Kuhlman through waivers to the Seattle Kraken. With that, as previously noted, Steen has seen his offensive numbers decline rapidly since he got consistent playing time. If this trend continues, perhaps the Bruins could look to bring in a player like Matthieu Perreault in exchange for a late-round draft pick.
Perreault has dealt with a lot of injury trouble this season, so he hasn’t played much at all. In 14 games with the Canadiens, he has three goals to go along with an assist. Although adding him wouldn’t be the biggest of splashes, it would provide the Bruins with another option when injuries occur. He also is capable of playing down the middle and on the wing, so he could step in for virtually anybody. These are the kind of extra forwards playoff teams want to have around.
It will be interesting to see if these two teams do complete a rare trade by the deadline. Now seems like as good of a time as any, as the Canadiens are low in the standings while the Bruins are desperately aiming to win one last Stanley Cup with their current core. Out of the quartet, Chiarot and Lehkonen would understandably be the most appealing, but as I’ve stated, a playoff team can never have enough depth. Alas, we will have to wait and see what occurs.