I have decided to start a little feature here at A Winning Habit where once a week leading up to the deadline, we will scour the twitterverse and other sources for Montreal Canadiens rumors, and I will weigh in on the likelihood and possible benefits of the rumblings that are going on involving the Habs.
TSN posted a rumor on tsn.ca that the New Jersey Devils were interesting in bringing in Daniel Briere, and would move Anton Volchenkov to make it happen. Their source was an article written by Randy Miller who based this potential deal on the fact that the Devils need help scoring, and that Briere’s children live in the New Jersey area.
What was not addressed was the fact that Briere has a no movement clause, and he brings little offensively. The small forward from Quebec, has just 13 points in 36 games this season, and is inexplicably making 4 million towards the cap for another season after this one.
There is not much of a chance that the Devils, or any team for that matter would be interested in bringing Briere in to help with their offensive woes. As noted in a Blearcher Report post here, bringing in Volchenkov would just be removing one problem for another.
Volchenkov has struggled to earn the huge contract he signed with the Devils, and will earn 4.5 million against the cap for two more years. Essentially, he would be a bottom pairing defender that would earn more than Briere, and would stick around for an extra year.
I just really don’t see the upside for either team to make this trade. Briere is a terrible fit in Montreal, but would likely be even less of a fit with the defensive minded Devils. Volchenkov hardly fits with the defensive Devils, and would be an upgrade on Douglas Murray or Francis Bouillon, but his enormous contract would get in the way very soon, when Nathan Beaulieu, Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi force their way onto the roster.
Max Pacioretty Possibly Available?
Okay, this rumor goes back a few weeks, but everyone seemed to buy in to the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were shopping Pacioretty. This idea is completely preposterous and will never happen.
Pacioretty is once again leading the Habs in goal scoring and is the only sniper they have on the team. His 21 goals in 40 games played has him scoring at a 40 goal pace. The last time a Montreal Canadiens scored 40 goals was in 1994, so trading the only guy with a chance to top that in the near future is simply not going to happen.
Pacioretty is also one of the biggest bargains in the NHL at the moment. He is locked up for five more seasons at 4.5 million dollars, a fraction of what 40 goal scorers will be making in the next few seasons.
Evander Kane Coming To Montreal?
There are all kinds of rumors coming out of Winnipeg that their core pieces could be on the move. From Dustin Byfuglien to Evander Kane, pretty much all Jets are said to be on the table.
Kane would be an awesome fit for the Montreal Canadiens. He is a young left winger, who scores, plays physical, can flat out fly, and is locked up for long term. He would be perfect on the wing with Tomas Plekanec, and could help the Canadiens find the back of the net with much more consistency.
Kane is having a bit of a down year, but even in a down year he is scoring at a 30 goal pace. It would cost the habs an absolute truck load to bring this guy in, and I just don’t think that Marc Bergevin is willing to give up several future pieces that it would take to bring in Kane.
He would be great in Montreal, but I just don’t see the Jets willing to move him for less than a massive overpayment, and I don’t see Bergevin willing to pay that price.
This would have been a pretty big trade just a few years ago, when both of these players were 25 goal scorers. A lot has changed in a short amount of time, and this would just be a change of scenery deal for two struggling veterans.
Rene Bourque is due to make 3.33 million for two more seasons following this disaster of a year. The big winger who twice scored 27 goals, has just six goals and one assist in 36 games this season.
Erat has struggled since joining the Washington Capitals at last year’s trade deadline. Then, he was dealt for one of the best prospects in the league, Filip Forsberg. Since then, Erat has one goal and 19 points in 50 games.
This is a pretty boring trade, a lot like when the Habs dealt Guillaume Latendresse for Benoit Pouliot. The Habs would spend an extra 1.2 million against the cap with Erat next year, but his contract ends in 2015, while Bourque has an added year, so they would save 3.33 million in 2015-16.
Erat could potentially find some chemistry with country-mate Plekanec and resurrect his career. Bourque and Erat are both 32 years old, so it is not unfathomable that they find success in another market.
The Capitals currently have the highest cap payroll in the NHL, so some short teram cap saving may be enticing enough for them to take on Bourque’s contract.
Like I said, pretty bland trade, but the Canadiens have not been in on many midseason blockbusters recently, and right now it doesn’t look like they will this year either.