Rabid Habs

Brown: The Montoya Trade Is The Start Of A Retool

In a quiet move just before 11:00 PM last Thursday, your Montreal Canadiens traded Al Montoya to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional 4th round pick in 2018.

If Montoya plays in 7 games for the Oilers, a 4th round pick will be given to the Canadiens. If the goaltender doesn’t reach that apex, the Habs will receive a 5th round pick in the 2018 draft.

Although this transaction is relatively minor, the Montoya trade is the start of a retool. As it stands, your Montreal Canadiens own a total of 8 draft picks for the upcoming 2018 draft in Minnesota. The last time the Habs had 8 draft picks was back in 2013. Any hope of a playoff spot has diminished as the Habs are 8 points from the last wild-card spot. Unless the Canadiens win 20 games in a row, this season is virtually a lost cause.

Draft picks are the start of replenishing their draft pool. Marc Bergevin has to evaluate his options ahead of the trade deadline knowing that he has an abundance of trade chips and expiring contracts that he’ll have to maneuver. Tomas Plekanec, Ales Hemsky, Nicolas Deslauriers, Jakub Jerabek and Antti Niemi are the Habs current unrestricted free agents and players like Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Jordie Benn hold considerable trade value.

A move containing Pacioretty and Galchenyuk would likely transpire at the draft or during the offseason.

Deslauriers has instantly become a fan favourite due to his charisma and his tremendous work ethic so a trade scenario surrounding him seems unlikely. Ales Hemsky won’t carry much trade value due to his ailing health and lack of production this season. Antti Niemi is more likely than not, a waiver pickup. Jakub Jerabek has played well for the Habs so he could be an option at the deadline.

However, among the free agents and trade chips, Tomas Plekanec and Jordie Benn are players who will likely pack their bags before the deadline. Jordie Benn can fetch a 3rd or 4th round pick due to his simple style of play. He’s a depth defenseman that can help a team any team gearing up for a playoff run. Benn also has a cap friendly deal at $1,100,000 per year that expires in 2020.

The more intriguing option is Tomas Plekanec. He does what the coach asks of him. He can kill penalties, win faceoffs and chip in offensively. The only problem is that his remaining daily cap hit is at a hefty $2,935,848. He could easily fetch a 2nd or 3rd round pick because of his skillset.

It’s imperative to trade expiring contracts and trade chips at the deadline to maximize their value. Accumulating as many draft picks as possible will help the retool immensely.

We don’t know what tricks Marc Bergevin has up his sleeve, but he seems to be pretty good at these re-tool trades. He did turn Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann into Phillip Danault and a 2018 2nd round pick.

Thanks, Chicago.

Follow Robert on Twitter @TheStandardBob and follow @RabidHabs for more updates! 

One Comment

  1. Bryan Willey

    January 12, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Not sure Montoya has any impact on a retool personally. Habs have Niemi right now for the balance of this year, have Lindgren ready for back up duty next year and have McNiven and Fucale looking to split time in the rocket.

    It was a move based on too many players for one position.

    If patch is dealt, I think his most value is now. He has a great cap hit and team would pay more for 2 playoffs of service rather than a rental.

    Hope you’re right and this is a retool though. it’s badly needed

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