Welcome back to Easy Like Ea-Monday Morning, you’re easy reading article to start off your week. The best part is if you are reading this properly, you should be doing so on the pooper during company time! With the Free Agent signings slowing down, this week we will discuss some of the trade options that the Habs should consider. Both trade options that are rumored and a few thrown in for fun!
As the roster stands at the moment for the Habs, the team has a full line up with a couple of young players left to sign. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ryan Poehling both received Qualifying Offers from the Canadiens but neither have signed yet. Putting on my Head Coach cap on for a moment, KK seems to be trending toward serving as the Canadiens 2C on a projected line with Mike Hoffman and Josh Andersen. This of course assumes that the Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield line will remain in tact.
As for Poehling there will need to be some line shuffling in order to get him in the line up as I believe that he has earned a right to see what he can do in the NHL. This is where the problem lies, even with Paul Byron starting the season on the IR after undergoing hip surgery there is a still a surplus of players that would prevent Poehling from stepping into a bottom-6 / 4th line role to start the season. With that being said, it just feels like there is more coming for the Habs roster, and with that in mind, here are a couple of possible trade scenarios that the Habs may explore.
JACK EICHEL, C, BUFFALO SABRES
Let’s start at the top with every fan bases next number 1 Center, Jack Eichel. Just speaking as a fan for a moment, I am excited for Eichel to get a fresh start. He is significantly better than most fans give him credit for which is proven time and time again by the trade proposals that a lot of fans love to throw out on twitter. If you asked me, I don’t see Eichel landing in Montreal, but let’s go down this rabbit hole for fun.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, there is no way that the Habs acquire Eichel without losing at least one of Suzuki, Caufield, KK or Romanov, possibly (or most likely) two. Eichel when healthy is easily in the conversation for Top 10 Centers in the league (can push for the Top 5), and he is without a doubt a first overall pick in any draft class that does not include Connor McDavid. The thought of an Eichel/Suzuki 1-2 punch down the middle for the Habs would give the team one of the best duos in the league without question, but at what cost?
If the Habs are still in the mix for Eichel, the problem is that they do not have the trade pieces that other teams have, so when it ends up boiling down to a bidding war, it is very possible that Montreal cannot match some of the offers. My personal concerns with Eichel is that the price to acquire him from a divisional rival will be an overpayment for a player who’s surgery comes with a lot of question marks. However, a healthy Jack Eichel makes the Habs a better team, no matter what you give up to get him.
CHRISTIAN DVORAK, C / CAP SPACE ARIZONA COYOTES
It’s safe to say that the Coyotes are in fire sale mode and are taking on contracts in exchange for draft picks. The Habs don’t have the same plethora of picks in 2022 that they have had in the past, however they still have an extra 3rd, 4th and 7th. The Coyotes have set the bar for a 2nd Round pick at $4.5M (Shayne Gostisbehere), and the Habs have a few contracts that come in a bit lower that they would probably like to move given the flat cap. With the team currently ~$2.75M over the cap (ignoring Shea Weber moving to LTIR), if the Habs need to make a move for Cap space, they at least have the pieces to facilitate this type of trade.
Should the Habs make a trade with Arizona, I would love to see it include Christian Dvorak. The young Center has been trending upward over the past couple of seasons and had his best season statistically if you pro-rated his numbers to a full season. He is a very affordable $4.45M Cap hit and would provide great roster flexibility down the middle along with Suzuki and KK, assuming neither are part of the package to acquire Dvorak.
VLADIMIR TARASENKO, RW, ST LOUIS BLUES
The Habs have more pressing needs down the middle, however Tarasenko when healthy provides his team with game breaking ability which is something that Montreal desperately needs. Despite his AAV being only $7.5M, Tarasenko is owed $9.5M in real dollars which is something that will scare off some teams but not the Canadiens. It will still require some money going the other way to fit him on the roster under the cap, however he would cement the team’s top 6 wingers to help insulate Suzuki and KK with talent.
Tarasenko’s numbers last season were a far cry from what they were prior to his injury, however the Habs have taken gambles on injured players before with some pretty solid results (Anderson).
HAMPUS LINDHOLM, LHD, ANAHEIM DUCKS
Lindholm is a guy that I wanted to see the Habs trade for at last season’s deadline, and while it remains a long shot as there has been zero speculation to even suggest that Anaheim would want to move him, I think he would be a great addition to this team. With Jeff Petry on the right side, the Habs still need a LHD that is capable of moving the puck and providing offense from the back end. Anaheim is getting ready to take the next step in their rebuild and while they still need a player like Lindholm to bring their young players into the NHL, it is possible that the Ducks would be open to moving him for a young player(s) that will further their rebuild. Especially when you consider that Joël Bouchard looks to be the guy that takes this young core into the future.
VINCE DUNN, RHD / CARSON SOUCY, LHD, SEATTLE KRAKEN
Acquiring either of these players in a trade may be a bit far fetched, however with Seattle trying to navigate the waters early in their franchises career, I don’t think any players are off the table. The Kraken have a surplus of bodies on the blue line with a couple of players who are Restricted Free Agents that still need to sign (Dunn being one of them). Cap Space is of zero concern for GM Ron Francis and the Kraken, however you can only dress so many defenders each game and the team will have 9 full time NHL defenders if they are able to sign everyone.
Dunn would address a bigger need for the Habs roster as a young puck moving defenseman that would get an opportunity to play a bigger role on the Habs than he got last season with the Blues. He would provide a massive boost to the Power Play that struggled last season and in general failed to provide a consistent second wave.
Soucy on the other hand is not the most offensively skilled defender, however he is on a steal of a contract (in my opinion) and just like Dunn, got lost in the shuffle in Minnesota as they had one of the best defensive cores in the NHL. With an increased role and more opportunities Soucy is prime for a break out season and it would be great to see him do that in the Blue, Blanc et Rouge.
JORDAN GREENWAY, RW, MINNESOTA WILD
This trade will not happen, but I will continue to push this narrative as I want to see a personal favourite playing for the Habs. Here’s to believing in the impossible!
As always, don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and check out the Youtube page for all of our podcasts and videos. In this week’s episode of Not Sauce For Work Peeze, Terry and Eagle discuss Marc-André Fleury, USA Basketball, NFL Covid Protocols and they bring on University of Connecticut QB Jack Zergiotis.