Trading goaltender Dustin Tokarski to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a minor league forward in Max Friberg may not be the franchise changing deal some Montreal Canadiens fans want during the team’s prolonged slump but it’s a trade nonetheless. Habs general manager Marc Bergevin has a habit of upgrading assets and this could be the case once again.
Who is Max Friberg?
The acquisition of goalie Ben Scrivens last month made Tokarski expendable as Mike Condon and Ben Scrivens are the tandem in Montreal until Carey Price’s return. There was no room for him in the AHL either with Zachary Fucale and Edward Pasquale as the goaltending duo with the St. John’s IceCaps. Tokarski has had his moments such as the 2014 playoffs but he has struggled to entrench himself as dependable backup at the NHL level and was outplayed by Condon to be Price’s backup this past fall.
Friberg is a 23-year-old winger who has had some success at the AHL level but hasn’t been able to crack the NHL as he has played just six NHL games. He is probably best known for scoring nine goals for gold medal winning Team Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships. At 23, Friberg is still considered a decent prospect with offensive upside but his NHL future is likely as a bottom six forward. The AHL’s website lists Friberg at 5′ 11″ and 200 LBS.
Friberg signed a two-year deal prior to this season and will remain a restricted free agent after next season. The Habs have a lot of young forwards at the minor league level and the addition of Friberg, who will report to the AHL, makes St. John’s a better team for the mean time. However, injuries and scoring struggles have prompted management to call up several young forwards to see what they have to varying degrees of success.
Friberg's performance in the 2012 WJC was a memorable one..9 goals in six games. He has some offensive upside…good AHL numbers.
— Grant McCagg (@grantmccagg) January 7, 2016
Daniel Carr has carved out a role in Montreal as a player who can score goals and go to the front of the net. Charles Hudon looked good in a small sample but was sent down. Michael McCarron showed that he needs more time while Sven Andrighetto has been in and out of the lineup. Friberg had 17 points in 25 games this year with the Norfolk Admirals and put up 40 points in 58 games last season.
Max Friberg salary is $575 000 in the NHL this seaon and $600 000 in 16-17. Two way contract.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) January 7, 2016
Tokarski’s value was dropping and he didn’t have a long term future with the Habs so it was a good move by Bergevin to parlay him into getting a younger player who still has some upside left. With Montreal slumping, the pressure is on Bergevin to make a move especially with former third overall pick Jonathan Drouin requesting a trade and the fact that Ryan Johansen and Seth Jones were swapped for one another. Tokarski for Friberg is not earth shattering in any way but it’s good asset management on Montreal’s side.