Audio: Habs make late deal to get Vanek from Islanders; Tokarski to start against Ducks

• AUDIO: Thomas Vanek teleconference

As Wednesday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline seemed to have passed, the Canadiens had made only one move, acquiring goalie Devan Dubnyk from the Nashville Predators in exchange for future considerations.

But shortly after the clock struck 3, news broke that the Habs had acquired left-winger Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders in a last-minute deal just before the deadline. The Canadiens also get a conditional fifth-round draft pick from the Islanders this year in exchange for prospect Sebastian Collberg and a conditional second-round draft pick this year. Collberg was selected by the Canadiens in the second round (33rd overall) at the 2012 NHL entry draft.

In 60 games this season with Buffalo and the Islanders, the 6-foot, 217-pound Vanek has 21-32-53 totals and is minus-1. The 30-year-old is in the final season of a seven-year, $50-million contract that pays him $6.4 million this season with a $7.14-million cap hit.

“Wow, what great news for our team,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters in Anaheim after the Vanek trade was made. “I look at that move as a sign of confidence from (general manager) Marc Bergevin to the players for the work they’ve put in since the start of the season. It’s a really exciting addition. It’s important for us to continue doing what we’ve been doing all year now. Thomas Vanek is a prolific scorer who can play on the right side or the left. We all know what he can bring to a power play, too.”

Vanek, who will wear No. 20 with Montreal, won’t be in the lineup Wednesday night when the Canadiens play the Ducks (10 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690), but is expected to play Thursday when the Habs visit the Phoenix Coyotes (9 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

“Right now, I’m just excited to be playing for Montreal,” Vanek told reporters on a conference call, adding it has been a tough year for him and his family as he heads toward free agency.

“I came to Montreal so many times with the Sabres,” he added. “I always loved playing at the Bell Centre, the atmosphere is so electric there.”

The Dubnyk deal was reported just before 1 p.m. and the goaltender was assigned to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Canadiens announced following their morning skate in Anaheim (which started at 2:30 p.m. ET) that Dustin Tokarski will make his first start in goal for Montreal against the Ducks.

Lars Eller will be a healthy scratch, with George Parros – who spent much of his career in Anaheim – taking Eller’s spot in the roster. Parros will be on the fourth line with Travis Moen and Ryan White. Defenceman Mike Weaver, acquired from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, won’t be in the lineup against the Ducks. Brandon Prust (upper body) and Michael Bournival (concussion) wore no-contact jerseys for the morning skate and won’t be in the lineup against the Ducks.

Habs GM Marc Bergevin wasn’t expected to speak with the media following the trade deadline. Bergevin was in Chicago Wednesday for the funeral for his mother-in-law, who died on the weekend. The GM is planning to hook up with the team Thursday in Phoenix and speak with the media then.

Carey Price took part in the Canadiens’ morning skate in Anaheim but won’t dress for the fifth consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. Peter Budaj, who started the last four games, will be the backup to Tokarski.

Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at the morning skate:



Dubnyk, a 6-foot-6, 210-pounder, started the season with the Edmonton Oilers. The 27-year-old was Edmonton’s first-round pick (14th overall) at the 2004 NHL entry draft. The Predators acquired Dubnyk from Edmonton on Jan. 15 in exchange for forward Matt Hendricks.

In 34 games this season, Dubnyk has an 11-18-3 record with two shutouts, a 3.43 goals-against average and a .891 save percentage. In 173 career games, he has a record of 61-77-22 with eight shutouts, a 2.90 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.

The first major trade of NHL Trade Deadline Day was reported after 11 a.m. with the Tampa Bay Lightning sending Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Callahan along with a second round draft pick this year and a first round pick next year.

Earlier in the day, TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reported on Twitter that the Canadiens were trying to deal Rene Bourque with the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche interested. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos also reported on Twitter that the Canadiens were shopping Lars Eller around.

This week’s HI/O Show will be taped Thursday with former Canadien Chris Nilan joining Gazette columnist Dave Stubbs and sports editor/host Stu Cowan to discuss the moves made at the trade deadline. The show will be available on HI/O around 5 p.m. Thursday.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Official NHL trade tracker,

Habs acquire Vanek from Islanders, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Vanek deal goes down to the wire, by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Canadiens vs. Ducks preview,

Game Day Report,

It’s all business for Vanek,

Canadiens make bold move trading for Vanek,

TradeCentre Recap,

Weaver changing on the fly with Habs,

Ducks strike out in hunt for big targets, Orange County Register


  1. --Habs-- says:

    This wasn’t a trade. It was a steal! If he signs and stays it will be highway robbery. He basically said he wasn’t signing in NY. MB must have spoken to him before the deal. Don’t think the move was made for 20 games and playoffs. Not MB style.

    “Habs” Watch and learn….! Or Not!

  2. Sportfan says:


    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!

  3. kalevine says:

    Since the surprisingly deep playoff run in 2010, we have been disappointed 3 years in a row – almost beating the eventual Stanley Cup champs but blowing a 2-0 series lead, missing the playoffs, and getting humiliated by Ottawa. At this point a lot of us would be very happy with a third round appearance and might make us more patient for a cup winner. Good move for sure ny Bergevin – I feel sorry for Garth Snow but I guess I shouldn’t. I don’t feel sorry for Scott Gomez (waivers today) and I guess I should 🙂

    ps – hoping the best for Tim Bozon, everybody please do whatever you can to send healing thoughts

    • third generation haber says:

      I grind my teeth every-time I hear the names Gomez or McDonagh.

      How does the average fan know better than NHL G.M.’s sometimes. I remember throwing my habs cap to the floor the second I saw the trade announcement.

      j.p. murray

  4. third generation haber says:

    How does Lars sit, while Bourque and Diana Briere play?

    I really want to see Lars and Vanek on the same line (with Chucky!).

    j.p. murray

  5. habsguru says:

    it may take a few days to regroup, but once the threshold guys, Borque, Eller and others, that have been sweating the trade deadline get back to business, we may see some damn good hockey. throw a high quality winger into the mix, and some of the sleepers may wake up and get going. i refuse to think that Eller is as bad as some HIO posters want him to be, and with the right linemates, may just make some type, i mean eat crow.

  6. 4m3y2j says:

    john alore-you are puckbard?

    john slattery

  7. CynicalHabsfan says:

    First off- awesome pick up, even if he’s only a rental.

    The biggest question now is what to do about the PP. With Beaulieu likely spending the rest of the season in Hamilton, our second PP pairing is Gorges and Emelin, which… yuck. I wasn’t really impressed when Martin played Pleks on the point a few years back, but putting a forward on the blue line would mean more PP minutes for guys like Chucky or Briere (or… Eller?)

    Vanek can shoot, although I don’t know if he has the vision to play point. Anybody know if he’s played that type of role before?

  8. doug19 says:

    Great deal this Vanek one. If he is a good fit he could wind up staying. Colberg to me is good but really a clone of Bournival by size and style.

  9. zephyr says:

    I think max’s line will be kept intact. vanek will bump gio to eller’s line. that’s because galchenyuk is our 2nd best playmaker already & pleks & vanek will need him. vanek also gives that line some size.
    don’t discount bourque. he was a stud in last yr’s playoffs. anyone griping about Chicago’s bickell this yr? some guys u need to get u thru the playoffs & big guys who can score are valuable.
    4th line of prust, white & weise/moen/briere/bournival. u can’t take a nite off when u’ve got 3 guys waiting to take ur spot.
    mb must be confident we can resign markov. hope so.
    I can’t remember having such a talented lineup for a long time.

  10. habkin says:

    Solid trade today! Vanek gives us many options and he will bring the best out of players who have not been playing too well this year. Even if he does not sign with us, I am sure MB will sign someone else of good caliber. I hope he does stay though. This trade is a confidence booster to the team and fans:) I still worry about MT’s philosophy. I hope that Tim recovers fully! I feel for his parents:(

  11. Puck Bard says:

    Ok, since we’re all feeling happier than we have in about 20 years, I will tell you…

    I read you guys all week; then I give a full report to my 80 year old father in SJ, NB who was a a 4 time MVP goalie with the McGill Redmen in the 50s, and had many an NHL tryout, before opting for engineering: your incites / outrage are greatly appretiated by him and me.

    He would go on the ice at the forum before the Habs – and M Richard – practiced in the mornings, and often miss classes just to watch those teams play. He was there for the riot. Robert Allore: look him up: my hero.

  12. CHasman says:

    Never been much of a Vanek fan but I’m more than willing to become one. Regardless of personal feeling every Montreal fan has to be a little excited about the acquisition of high scoring forward with some size. It is exactly what we were looking for. I don’t even care about next season, we have 20 games to see how much difference an additional scorer will make. I’m pumped.

  13. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Can’t imagine what is going on in Tampa. The heart and soul of the franchise does an about face and bolts (excuse the pun). That dressing room must be devastated.

  14. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …guess We’ll have to suffer Gerald’s (HabInBurlington’s) Bavarian fight-songs through the rest of the season and the playoffs now 🙁

  15. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Simple question: Which team CLEARLY improved the most today? Has to be the Habs.

  16. Slackman says:

    As a Habs fan it can be real easy to complain, what with our expectations, the teams legacy, etc. etc. But today there is absolutely nothing to complain about. We nabbed the most desirable guy on D-Day for mere peanuts. Bravo, management. Made my day.

    “When the going get’s weird, the weird turn pro”

  17. Marc10 says:

    I’m still in shock. WTF?

    Landing Vanek could totally blow up… but it could also turn into our version of Marian Hossa. A bit of a long shot, but I’m hoping for the latter.

    Vanek might still go to Minny… but let’s wait and see. If he’s motivated and gets sold on the place, I could see him on Chucky’s wing for years to come as our young stud morphs into a first line center. How good would that be? (I’m not religious… but I’ll pray to the Great Spaghetti Monster that this comes to pass!)

    Nice to see an A-grade offensive talent free agent finally land our way. F you Mats Sundin now and forever. Go #20!

    Go Habs Go!
    On ya MB!

  18. Rosieman says:

    Lineup questions abound.

    Can someone remind me what Bournival did wrong ? I can’t believe how far Eller has fallen but don’t we need centres w size? He did well w Gllys – did he totally lose it or not grt/ever rotating linemates??

    I guess

    Galych /Eller/Bourque
    Bournival /briere/weise

  19. Ron says:

    Its amazing TSN does not want to make the Vanek trade a big deal. Everything on the Rangers game is all MSL and Moulson out West etc. Should have expected it I guess.

  20. Led says:

    Of course it takes the ex-Hab on the panel to give Montreal props for what should be considered the steal of deadline day!

    If TO had pulled this trade off the story would be on a continuous loop 24/7.

  21. Habitoban says:

    Well Vanek may not take us to the Promised Land. But getting close enough to gaze across the Jordan would be fine with me.

  22. Casanova says:

    So basically:




  23. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    C’mon Timo…just admit MB did well today. It is not going to kill you…okay maybe…LOL.

  24. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Awesome deal just awesome! Plekanec must be smiling.

  25. third generation haber says:

    Vanek to the habs for my 40th birthday!!!

    Many of us suffer as habs fans, but imagine being my brother. He’s an Islander fan and his team appears to be managed by a kindergarten student (or a back-up goalie). Imagine Budaj took over the habs next year:-)

    They have essentially traded Matt Moulson and a 1st round pick, for Collberg and a 2nd round pick. Since they are playing terribly, the first round pick will likely be a top 10 player! WTF!!!

    j.p. murray

  26. Puck Bard says:

    Wait, I know a lot of you… Hard Habits, Drinking Guy, Timo, Shilo (sp), Smart Dog, Guy Lapoint Powerplayers guy, Ian, Captain Ahab guy, guy with the corvette, Fox guy, Ken Danby guy, John Bonham guy, Gilmore guy, Any number of recent smart-asses I really appreciate… a-holes long gone (Richard Gere guy)…. A great Habs day, love reading your posts.

  27. Habitant in Surrey says:;

    ‘Vanek got off to a slow start with one goal and two assists in his first six games with the Islanders before being injured. Once Vanek returned Nov. 22, he put up 16 goals and 25 assists in 41 games.

    The top-scoring forward on the Canadiens prior to their game Wednesday was Max Pacioretty with 42 points in 54 games, one more than Vanek has in his past 41 games, and no other Montreal forward had more than 36 points. Vanek brings some firepower to help take some of the defensive pressure off Pacioretty’s line with David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher, which has been the only one producing on a consistent basis for the Canadiens.

    So not only will Vanek help improve Montreal’s offensive output by scoring himself, he may indirectly make Pacioretty a more productive player.’

    …in My opinion, not only will Pacioretty benefit, but even more will Lars Eller benefit

    …the addition of Vanek will push down talent to Lars’ 3rd line

  28. Marc10 says:

    In the end, MB, Dudley and co picked up top 6 forward and a bottom 6 right-handed D. Not a bad day at the office.

    They essentially addressed two weaknesses and added a lot of depth for the playoff run whilst giving up on one prospect. On paper, that’s a job well done.

    If you’re the Boston Bruins, you’d want to avoid the Habs. Vanek is going to give Chara all kinds of problems…

    • boing007 says:

      What about Markov?

      Richard R

      • Marc10 says:

        We can still sign him. Clearly he wants term and he’s too important to our D corp to simply dump to a contender for spare parts and picks.

        You have to assume that whatever was being offered in exchange for his services just wasn’t enough to get MB to pull the trigger and sabotage our playoff drive.

        • boing007 says:

          When should Markov be signed?

          Richard R

          • Marc10 says:

            No rush now. I assume he’ll test free agency and come back to MB. By then though, MB might have moved on to Plan B and replaced him. We’ll have to see who’s available out there that might prove a good fit.

            I hate seeing assets lost for nothing, but in this case Markov was simply too important to the D corp and he knows it. MB got stuck and will need to pay with term if he wants to retain him. We’ll see how it all plays out in the post season.

  29. Led says:

    Absolutely amazing! Can’t believe that we got the player who topped all trade deadline lists. Equating this to the pleasant shock of getting Kovy years ago is very appropriate.

    Getting him for so little seems unreal. How could no one else have offered up more than what we did?

    We just got the rental we’ve been hoping for for so long. If he plays well and signs with us, then even better.

    So excited for the playoffs!

  30. Storman says:

    Who Getz the last Getzlaf, If we beat Anaheim tonight with Tokecarkeys in nets.

  31. Phil C says:

    Does Vanek normally line up on the left or right?

  32. JUST ME says:

    I appreciate the fact that Bergevin gambled to make the team better and went for it without going all in. Of course now Colberg today is made less attractive because we delt him away but still we did not sacrifice much considering that getting Vanek changes everything for this playoff season. Nothing garanteed but at least it`s a nice feeling and the players will be motivated by that move as much as we are.
    Hey ! You never know. We will show Vanek what he has been missing at the Bell Center day in day out and let him decide.

  33. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Biggest loser, aside from the Leafs who always are, has to be Shero. Spent the week talking smack that he was going to get Kessler for sure and ended up with Marcel Goc…LOL.

  34. smiler2729 says:

    I guess Bork Bork has a seat in the pressbox now

    Jack Edwards is a clam.
    Gary Bettman is a bobblehead.
    The “CH” in CHOKE stands for Toronto Maple Leafs.

  35. Je ne comprends pas says:

    Mt on meeting Vanek:
    “This is a grinding team. Your going to have to alter your style.”
    I jest of course.
    Or do I?

  36. Stooof says:

    So here is my ideal lineup


  37. punkster says:

    Wow…1803 comments.

    What say we push this puppy over 2K and do it up old school.

    Release the Subbang!!!

  38. Storman says:

    Too bad Garth Snow was not just a little dumber maybe he would have accepted Louis Leblanc instead of Sebastian Collberg.

    • D Mex says:

      Upside to that one is that he’d know more about LL.
      If he’s been reading comments here about Collberg, he’s probably been WTF-ing for the past 4+ hours … lol

      ALWAYS Habs –
      D Mex

  39. Captain aHab says:

    Just came in and when I saw we had gotten Vanek, I was fearful of just how much we had given up. Then I saw what it was and this is highway robbery. No big deal losing Collberg for a shot at Vanek.

    Now let’s hope MT doesn’t bench him at the first mistake or demotes him to the 4th line.


    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  40. Frank2468 says:

    I like this deal with Vanek coming to the Habs hopefully this address some of the lack of scoring 5 on 5. Why is Tokarski getting the start tonight? Is Budaj hurt or just resting? I don’t know much about Tokarski are his numbers decent in Hamilton? Why wouldn’t they play Dubnyk instead of an AHL goalie since they picked him up, couldn’t they get him to Anaheim in time just wondering?

    • JUST ME says:

      It`s a back to back game so tonight Tokarski tomorrow Budaj.
      Dubnyk already went through the waivers before the Habs got him so they could send him directly to Hamilton and they have been working with Tokarski for a while now and trust him to do the job.

    • Fransaskois says:

      Tokarski gets the start because Budaj is resting after playing many more games than he’s used to in such a short span.

      He’s got excellent numbers in the AHL and was on the AHL all-star team.

      I’m not sure why they are choosing to keep Dubnyk in Hamilton, not sure he’s much better than Tokarski at the moment though.

      • JUST ME says:

        He probably is not much better but for a few years between Price and Fucale if everything pans out as desired we will need those kind of goalers in Hamilton just in case…

  41. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Pressure now on two people in particular:
    1) MT. MB has given him help so now he has to get this team further in the playoffs or he is likely gone (unless Price is hurt).
    2) Plekanec. Finally has a excellent winger to play with. If he doesn’t produce in the playoffs, time to move on to Chucky.

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