Montreal Canadiens: Five Players Habs Could Buy At Trade Deadline

Dec 18, 2023; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN;  Montreal Canadiens defenseman Justin Barron.
Dec 18, 2023; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Justin Barron. / Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Anthony Duclair

The Montreal Canadiens often have trouble luring players in free agency, and could use this situation as a way to give potential free agent targets a trial run together. No one expects the Canadiens to be in the running for the very best rentals on the trade market.

The best player they could realistically target is Anthony Duclair. He has the potential to be a top six impact player on the team, is from the province of Quebec so he could be enticed into signing a long-term contract if things go well, and he is off to a bit of a slow start to his season so it would be a good time to scoop him up at a reduced rate.

The Pointe-Claire native is playing in his first season with the lowly San Jose Sharks and has six goals and 11 points in 27 games. That is not phenomenal but he looked pretty good in the playoffs last season as he scored 11 points in 20 games and helped the Panthers reach the Stanley Cup Final.

The 28 year old winger is among the fastest skaters in the league, which could see him fit well on a line with Newhook, or Josh Anderson, and he can put the puck in the back of the net. He was injured for a stretch of games last season but scored 31 goals in 74 games the previous season.

In parts of three seasons with the Panthers, he averaged a 59 point pace over an 82 game season. The Canadiens could use a player that puts up close to 60 points a year. The Sharks acquired him in the offseason for fourth line center Steven Lorentz and a fifth round pick from the cap-strapped Panthers.

It would cost the Canadiens more than that, but realistically, probably a second round pick, and they have an extra one of those in the 2025 NHL Draft from the Penguins. If they think he would fit well with Newhook and give the Canadiens a second line that can score, and also give them an inside track on signing him to an extension, it would be worth the deal.

That is, of course, if the Canadiens find themselves in a wildcard spot in the new year. It seems unlikely, but no one expected them to be this close to a playoff spot now. so why not?