The Montreal Canadiens are probably not making the playoffs this year, therefore they should be sellers at the deadline. Although the NHL trade deadline is one month away, here is a look at who the Habs should be trying to dish out.
Marc Bergevin may be able to market Desharnais as the ideal second or third line centre by demonstrating the fact that he usually plays first line centre minutes on Montreal. Although he is evidently not a first line centre and never will be, that’s okay. He receives the wages of a second or third line centre. Bergevin can market him to other teams for what he is. I personally believe that David Desharnais is a good third line centre and an okay second line centre. Regardless, there are numerous teams that could surely use his services moving forward into the playoffs. Moving Desharnais for a draft pick(s) would shave $3.5M off the Canadiens’ salary cap expenditure for next season. The Habs’ cap space situation is very tight. This helps out a lot because I see Montreal being a competitive team again next year.
Fleischmann is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Dealing Fleischmann before the deadline would not help so much with clearing up cap space, but if you can get something in return for a player heading into free agency in a few months, you should. If the Canadiens were in the playoff hunt, I would suggest keeping Fleischmann, seeing as the Habs have certainly received the bang for their buck with him this season. Montreal probably won’t be making the playoffs this year. A lot of teams would love a depth winger at the inexpensive cost of $750k AAV. If Bergevin can obtain a mid-round draft pick in return for Fleischmann, he should pull the trigger without a doubt.
Weise is also an unrestricted free agent at this season’s end. Making just over $1M this season, Weise is the perfect depth piece for teams looking to make a run in the playoffs. Weise has developed somewhat of a reputation of elevating his game to another level in the playoffs, which will only help Marc Bergevin’s case when trying to trade him before the deadline. As much as Michel Therrien, among others, would love for Dale Weise to stay in Montreal after this season, it still may be in the best interest of the club to trade him before the deadline. After all, if the Canadiens view him as a part of their future plans, they can attempt to sign him in free agency. Trading Dale Weise at the deadline doesn’t necessarily have to be goodbye forever, but instead could be goodbye for now.
Tom Gilbert– To be honest, I don’t think anyone would be willing to take Gilbert off Montreal’s hands. That’s okay though. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and is most likely not in the Canadiens’ future plans. At 33 years old, it will be interesting to see where he lands next season.
Andrei Markov– Moving this contract is easier said than done. His contract possesses a modified no-trade clause. He is signed for one more year. And, he is overpaid. This, if even possible, may be more of an offseason deal for Marc Bergevin.
Lars Eller– This is probably more of an offseason move seeing as Eller still has two more years left on his current contract after this season. In my opinion, Eller is a third line centre/winger at best. If the Canadiens are able to trade him, I’m confident that they could find someone to fill Eller’s role on the team for a lesser price. Eller’s cap hit is $3.5M through the end of the 2018 season.