Montreal Canadiens: What is Going on With All These Habs, Avalanche Rumours?

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 07: Montreal Canadiens Marc Bergevin (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 07: Montreal Canadiens Marc Bergevin (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens are setting up to be sellers. Marc Bergevin is keeping a close eye on the Colorado Avalanche lately. What is going on between the Avs and Habs?

The Montreal Canadiens are clearly going to be sellers as we head towards the trade deadline on Monday. They are eight points out of a playoff spot and have played more games than almost anyone else in the playoff chase. The writing is on the wall.

In fact, the Habs started their sell-off already. They sent Marco Scandella to the St. Louis Blues for a second round pick and a conditional fourth round pick. The Canadiens will pick up the fourth in 2021 if the Blues either advance to the Western Conference Final this year or re-sign Scandella before next season begins.

With a few more pending free agents, the conventional wisdom would see the Habs trade away Ilya Kovalchuk and Nate Thompson next. There is a debate for several more veterans to be packing their bags, but general manager Marc Bergevin seems content to keep as many as he can and try to contend for a playoff spot next year.

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So what is going to be the Habs next move? Well, Bergevin has packed up and moved to Colorado for the past few days and appears to be keeping a really close eye on the Colorado Avalanche. This has set the rumour mill into full blown panic mode and has seen every name on the Habs linked to the Avs.

Joe Sakic tried to pour cold water on the fact that Bergevin was in attendance to watch the Avalanche host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night and the New York Islanders on Wednesday. The Avalanche general manager said Bergevin was just in town to visit his daughter who goes to school in the area and since he loves hockey so much he dropped by the Pepsi Center to catch a pair of games.


The general manager of the Montreal Canadiens is in Colorado visiting his daughter and just decided to drop by to watch a few Colorado games within days of the trade deadline. The man at the helm of the most historic franchise in hockey history is on vacation just five days before the trade deadline when it is clear he should be shopping assets to the highest bidder?


The Avalanche are one of the top teams in the Western Conference. As sure as we are that the Canadiens will be sellers, we can be more certain that the Avs are buyers. The Habs sent Scandella to the Blues after Jay Bouwmeester suffered a terrifying collapse on the Blues bench and was ruled out indefinitely.

The Avalanche are currently battling some significant injuries themselves. Nazem Kadri is out for several weeks and Mikko Rantanen was injured in a heavy collision on Monday and will be out of the lineup “week to week.” That leaves Colorado with two players out long-term from their top six forward group. The Blues were desperate for a left defenseman and Bergevin pounced. The Avs could be just as desperate for a forward to replace their injured players.

This had a lot of people connecting the dots between the Avs and Tomas Tatar. He would be a great fit next to Nathan MacKinnon or on the second line which would allow the Avs to move Gabriel Landeskog up to play with MacKinnon again.

There was also a rumour thrown out that Sakic was interested in both Tatar and Petry.

This doesn’t make as much sense to me since the Avs already have Erik Johnson and Cale Makar on the right side. Are they going to pay a huge price tag to have Petry play on the third pairing? Will they move their captain, Johnson down to the third pairing when he has three years left on his deal?


There were also some rumblings that the Canadiens were going after Ryan Graves. It would make sense from a Habs perspective. Graves is a top pairing left defenseman for the Avs and would be a great fit alongside Petry or Shea Weber in Montreal.

But why would the Avalanche trade Graves? He is their best LD and has been playing with Cale Makar who is having an incredible rookie season. Why would a contender trade away a top pairing defender? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t think Graves is going anywhere.

So, who could the Avalanche be interested in, and why did Bergevin need to travel to Colorado? The Avalanche’s best prospects are in college or the minor leagues, so who exactly was Bergevin going to see in Colorado? He would have to have his eye on young players and the Avs are not going to move a prominent player from their current lineup.

Who is a young player on the Avalanche roster that is not currently playing a prominent role? Well, a quick look at their current depth chart and one player jumps out. Tyson Jost. The 21 year old centre was drafted 10th overall in 2016, but hasn’t yet taken off at the NHL level.

Jost played one year of college hockey after being drafted and scored 35 points in 33 games. He played most of the following season with the Avalanche and had 22 points in 65 games but then scored four goals and six points in nine games at the World Championships. Not bad for a teenager.

Obviously the Avs hoped his offensive game would take off by now, but Jost had just 26 points in 70 games last season and has 16 points in 56 games this year. He certainly doesn’t have the same value as he did the day after he was drafted in the top ten. However, at 21 years old and with a decent pedigree he would be an interesting pick up for a struggling team like the Habs.

Perhaps the Habs are interested in Jost and are offering up Kovalchuk to the Avalanche. With Rantanen and Kadri out of the lineup, Colorado could certainly use a top six forward for the foreseeable future.

If Sakic offered up the idea of a trade based around Kovalchuk for Jost, it is possible Bergevin wanted to get a closer look at the young forward. Every name in the book was thrown out there by fans when they heard Bergevin was in Colorado. Not even Carey Price or Jonathan Drouin were spared as fans fired them into twitter trade proposals.

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Trading Price or Drouin doesn’t really make sense for the Habs right now. Trading Graves doesn’t make sense for the Avalanche. What does make sense is a simpler deal centred around Ilya Kovalchuk and Tyson Jost. I can’t read Sakic’s mind, but I think he was being a little facetious when he said Bergevin was in town to visit his daughter. I think he was in town to get a closer look at a young player who hasn’t blossomed quite yet.