Montreal Canadiens Trade Deadline History

The trade deadline is almost upon us, and the Montreal Canadiens are looking to have one of their busiest deadlines in recent memory. In the past, the team has been relatively quiet when it comes to deadline deals, and most of their big sales, like this year’s Tyler Toffoli trade, happened before deadline day.

Marc Bergevin
Former Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

With the trade deadline happening in three weeks, let’s look at the Canadiens’ history of deadline deals: the worst, the best and the most recent deadline deals. These will be deals that only happen on deadline day and not before, for clarification.

Canadiens’ 5 Best Trade Deadline Moves

March 2, 2015: Montreal Canadiens Acquire Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers for a 2015 Second-Round Pick and a 2015 Fourth-Round Pick

The Jeff Petry trade could go down as one of the best trades by Bergevin. Petry was a bottom pair/seventh defenseman for the Edmonton Oilers when Bergevin acquired him at the deadline. The 2011-12 season was Petry’s best with the Oilers, scoring 25 points. He took steps back offensively in the next two seasons, scoring only 12 and 17 points, and only had 15 points in 2014-15 before being traded to Montreal. Once with the Canadiens, starting in his third season, he ran four consecutive seasons of 40-plus points and 10-plus goals between 2017-18 and 2020-21.

Jeff Petry Montreal Canadiens
Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Canadians gave Edmonton a second- and fourth-round pick in the 2015 Entry Draft. The second-round selection ended up being Caleb Jones. He played three seasons with the Oilers as a bottom-pair defenseman before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Duncan Keith deal. The fourth-round pick was traded by Edmonton to the New York Rangers for Cam Talbot before they traded the pick to the Washington Capitals, who drafted Jonas Siegenthaler, another bottom-pairing defensemen who is currently playing for the New Jersey Devils.

March 5, 2014: Montreal Canadiens Acquire Tomas Vanek from the New York Islanders for Sabastian Collberg and a 2014 Second-Round Pick

At the 2013-14 Trade Deadline, the Canadiens looked for more offence to help them in the playoffs. Tomas Vanek was to become a free agent at the end of the season and was available at the deadline. It wasn’t the first time that Vanek got traded that season, as he started with the Buffalo Sabres and had nine points in 14 games before being traded to the New York Islanders. With the Islanders, he scored 44 points in 47 games giving him 53 points in 61 games, almost a point per game. The Habs, who desperately needed offence for a long playoff run, jumped at the chance to grab him off the trade wire at the deadline.

The Canadiens traded prospect Sabastian Collberg and a 2014 second-round pick later traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canadiens received Vanek and a 2014 fifth-round pick, which ended up being Jonathan MacLeod. Collberg never made the NHL, and after only two seasons with the Islanders’ minor team in Bridgeport, he went to Europe, where he still plays today. On the other hand, Vanek had 15 points in 18 games with the Canadiens to finish the season and go into the playoffs on a high.

In the playoffs, the Canadiens went to the Conference Final on the back of some great goaltending by Jaroslav Halak. Vanek scored 10 points in 17 games, including five goals. The Habs got the offence they needed for the playoffs and gave up nothing. Vanek signed with the Minnesota Wild the following season, but his brief stay with the Canadiens was successful.

April 5, 1995: Montreal Canadiens Trade Kirk Muller, Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby to the New York Islanders for Pierre Turgeon and Vladimir Malakhov

The 1994-95 season had a work stoppage that cut the season short of 84 games to 48. The Canadiens stumbled out of the gate that season and found themselves winning only 18 games and finishing the season in sixth place in the Northeast Division. Two seasons previous, the Canadiens were the Stanley Cup champions, and now they were looking to change the team’s look. Two months before the trade deadline, they made a big move, trading Eric Desjardins, Gilbert Dionne and John Leclair to the Philadelphia Flyers for Mark Recchi. At the deadline, they made another big move by trading their captain Kirk Muller, along with defenseman Mathieu Schneider to the Islanders for New York’s captain Pierre Turgeon and young defenceman Vladimir Malakhov.

hockey player Kirk Muller of the Montreal Canadiens
Kirk Muller of the Montreal Canadiens hoists the Stanley Cup over his head to celebrate their championship victory over the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal, Canada, June 9, 1993. Muller scored the series-winning goal. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Muller and Schneider didn’t last long with the Islanders; the team moved them the following season in two separate trades with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Muller was on the downswing of his career and never came close to the 94-point season he had with the Canadiens in 1992-93. Schneider was a different story. He was only 26 at the trade and was a top offensive defenceman in the league for years. Turgeon was an impact player from the start, scoring 20 points in 15 games after the trade and then 96 points the following season while also being named captain of the Canadiens, but he only lasted one entire season before being traded again to the St. Louis Blues in 1996-97. Malakhov played three seasons with the Habs, scoring a career high of 44 points in 1997-98 and was a steady top-four defenseman.

March 13, 2001: Montreal Canadiens Trade Trevor Linden, Dainius Zubrus and a Second-Round Pick to the Washington Capitals for Richard Zednik, Jan Bulis and a First-Round Draft Pick

The Canadiens, in the early 2000s, were going through a rough phase and had some pretty bad seasons — 2001 was no different. They had a 5-13-2 start, their head coach got fired, and they were going nowhere fast. The Washington Capitals, on the other hand, were the top team in their division and looking to make a run at the Cup. The Canadiens wanted to dump older players and get some young players with a bright future, so a deal with the Capitals was made.

Related: The Hockey Writers’ 2022 Trade Deadline Coverage

Trevor Linden signed with the Canadiens in the 1999 offseason, but had injury issues in his first season with the club. The injury bug bit again the next season, and with Linden on the wrong side of 30, it was time for him to move on. Dainius Zubrus played only one entire season with the Canadiens before being dealt to the Capitals, playing on the third line and scoring 44 points. Jan Bulis was 22 and became a solid third-line player who improved his scoring every season with the Habs and eventually scored 20 goals in 2005-06.

Richard Zednik had three straight seasons scoring 20 goals or more with the Canadiens, with 31 in 2002-03. The Habs picked Alexander Perezhogin with the first-round pick. He played two seasons with the team before going back to Russia. Although the Canadiens were not contending during most of the seasons after the deal with Washington, they achieved what they wanted, getting younger players with quality contracts.

March 10, 1981: Montreal Canadiens Trade Michel Larocque to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Robert Picard

In the early 1980s, the Canadiens came down from their dynasty high. Star goaltender Ken Dryden retired after the club won four straight Stanley Cups, and the team was moving away from the old guard. With Richard Sevigny and Denis Herron getting the brunt of the starts for the Canadiens and rookie Rick Wamsley emerging on the scene, it was time to move on from long-time backup Michel Larocque. Larocque had been with the Canadiens since 1973-74, where he was the starter after Dryden took the season off to get his law degree. He served as Dryden’s backup, winning four Cups and four Vezina Trophies for the next five seasons. At the time, the goaltender or goaltending team with the lowest goals-against average (GAA) won the Vezina; now, the William Jennings Trophy is awarded for that distinction.

Related: Canadiens Can Sell High on Anderson at Trade Deadline

Robert Picard was a solid defensive defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs and was only 25 at the trade. Larocque played 50 games the following season in 1981-82 for the Maple Leafs, but that was the last time he played more than 18 games, with 1983-84 being his final season in the NHL. Picard played two full seasons with the Canadiens and provided them with solid two-way defence. The Canadiens got a solid young defenceman for an aging goaltender.

Canadiens’ 5 Worst Trade Deadline Moves

March 10, 1992: Montreal Canadiens Trade Petr Svoboda to the Buffalo Sabres for Kevin Haller

Petr Svoboda was a solid two-way defenseman, playing in the Canadiens’ top four. He regularly scored 25-plus points a season while providing hard-nosed defence and was a fan favourite. Kevin Haller was a bottom-four defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres and just average in the defensive end. The Canadiens essentially gave Svoboda away for nothing as he continued his solid play with the Sabres. Haller did win a Cup with Montreal in 1993, where he had a career year scoring 11 goals and 25 points, but wouldn’t win the hearts of the fans like Svoboda did or replicate the consistency in his play.

March 23, 1999: Montreal Canadiens Trade Vincent Damphousse to the San Jose Sharks for a 1999 Fifth-Round Draft Pick, a 2000 First-Round Pick and a Conditional 2000 or 2001 Second-Round Pick

Vincent Damphousse joined the Canadiens before the 1992-93 season and helped them win a Stanley Cup. He played for the Habs for seven seasons, amassing 498 points in 519 games and became captain of the Habs in 1996. The Canadiens were mired in another lacklustre season and were on their way to missing the playoffs for a second straight season. Damphousse was just one of three players leftover from the Stanley Cup team of 1993, and the other two were Patrice Brisebois and Benoit Brunet. Damphousse would be a free agent at the end of the season, and it was almost inevitable he would be leaving the team.

The Canadiens had just finished playing the San Jose Sharks to a 1-1 draw and were on a flight back to Montreal when Damphousse found out he was traded to the Sharks. He was traded for a first-round pick in the 2000 Draft, a conditional second-round pick in 2000 or 2001 and a fifth-round pick in 1999. The return seemed like a good haul for the Canadiens but Marcel Hossa was the first-round pick, and he played a total of 59 games for the Canadiens while the other two picks, Marc-Andre Thinel and Kiel McLeod, didn’t even come close to making the NHL. Damphousse had five more productive seasons with the Sharks and essentially left the Canadiens with nothing in return for their former captain.

March 1, 2017: Canadiens Acquire Andreas Martinsen from the Colorado Avalanche for Sven Andrighetto

On paper, this looks like a bottom-line player for a bottom-line player, but the trade isn’t bad because of the players involved; more so, was this trade even needed? The Canadiens were headed into the playoffs as the top team in their division in the 2016-17 season, but they still needed a few pieces to improve their chances. They needed grit and more scoring — the Canadiens previously acquired Steve Ott and Dwight King early in the day, who could provide the grit.

Sven Andrighetto (Ross Bonander/THW)

Martinsen was also a gritty fourth-line player, Andrighetto was a high-scoring winger in the American Hockey League (AHL). Albeit Andrighetto’s scoring touch didn’t come through in the NHL, there was more potential than Martinsen and was three years younger. Martinsen played nine regular-season games for the Canadiens and did not score a point or get a penalty. He played two games in the playoffs, and the Habs lost in the first round to the New York Rangers in six games. Andrighetto found some scoring in Colorado, potting 16 points in 19 games after the trade. He eventually fell back to earth the following season, but they might have had a better run in the playoffs if the Canadiens traded for more offence than grit.

March 5, 2014: Montreal Canadiens Acquire Devon Dubnyk from The Nashville Predators for Future Considerations

Getting a star goaltender for nothing shouldn’t be one of the worse trades; at least, that’s what one would think. The trade itself doesn’t make it wrong, it’s what the Canadiens did with Dubnyk that makes it a bad deal. He never played a game for the Canadiens and only eight games for their AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs. He was the starter for the Edmonton Oilers from 2010-11 until he was traded to the Nashville Predators in the 2013-14 season. He had pretty good numbers playing for some poor Edmonton teams, But the Oilers traded him to the Predators and two days later he was flipped to the Canadiens.

Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) reacts after his 1-0 win as the game ends. Montreal Canadiens centre Max Domi (13) skates away following third period NHL hockey action Monday, January 7, 2019, in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Dubnyk was brought into the Canadiens for goaltending depth but never played since Carey Price was the go-to guy with Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski as the backups. Not playing Dubnyk was an essential factor come playoff time; the Canadiens were riding the incredible play of Price and were in the Conference Finals against the Rangers when Price injured his knee and was out for the rest of the series and maybe the playoffs. Budaj allowed three goals on eight shots in the one period he played, and the Habs went with rookie Tokarski to try to win the series. Tokarski played well, winning two games, but imagine if an experienced starter like Dubnyk was playing? Montreal might have seen themselves in the Cup Final.

March 6, 1990: Canadiens Trade Jyrki Lumme to the Vancouver Canucks for the St. Louis Blues’ Second-Round Pick in the 1991 Draft

The Canadiens traded their 1986 third-round pick in Jyrkie Lumme after his first entire season with the team for a 1991 second-round pick. He spent nine seasons as a Canuck, and scored 30 points or more in seven of those seasons. He became a true staple for their power play and won the Babe Pratt Trophy as the Canucks’ best defenseman four times. In 1994, he scored 13 points in 24 playoff games helping Vancouver reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Related: Ex-Canadiens GM Bergevin Rarely Made Bad Trade-Deadline Deals

The Canadiens drafted Craig Darby as their second-round pick. He recorded two assists in 10 games for the Habs before being traded with Muller and Schneider to the New York Islanders for Turgeon and Malakhov. The Canadiens missed out on a solid offensive-defenseman that might have helped them win multiple Cups in the ’90s, not just one.

Canadiens Deadline History

2020-21

  • Erik Gustafsson acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick

2019-20

  • Nick Cousins traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a 2022 sixth-round pick
  • Matthew Peca traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 seventh-round pick
  • Nate Thompson traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2021 fifth-round draft pick

2018-19

  • Jordan Weal acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange Michael Chaput

2017-18

  • Mike Rielly acquired from the Minnesota Wild for a exchange for a 2019 fifth-round pick
  • Joe Morrow traded to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick

2016-17

  • Andreas Martinsen acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Sven Andrighetto
  • Dwight King acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for 2018 conditional fourth-round pick
  • Steve Ott acquired from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2018 sixth-round pick

Canadiens 2022 Deadline Forecast

The Canadiens are having one of the worst seasons in franchise history; they have several free agents who will be on the block, notably big, rugged defenseman Ben Chiarot. Several teams, including the Calgary Flames, Blues, Rangers and Maple Leafs have shown interest; the cost could be a first-round pick and a prospect. Other top players reportedly on the move are forward Artturi Lehkonen and defenseman Jeff Petry, who also could bring in first-round picks and prospects. The Habs will be busy at this deadline, and for now, we will have to wait and see what happens.


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