Trade Rumours?

“I have heard from a reliable source that there may be a deal brewing between Montreal and Philadelphia. Pleks, Gill, and Halak for Carter and Boucher.” – 24 Cups


Well, what do you think?


The Philadelphia-Montreal rumours have been swirling for the past week or so. Jaroslav Halak wants out, Jeff Carter is available… let’s make a deal, right?

We ship out our number one center for their number one center. They get a real solid 5/6th defensemen who gets the job done on the PK. We give them a guy who wants to be a number one goalie for a guy who’s lucky to be a backup.


In today’s world of “my capspace is bigger than yours”, GMs have a tough time orchestrating any impact trades until February or March. This season’s deadline is March 3rd and we might see a flurry of activity this year if there are any major injuries during the Olympic Winter Games.

Most teams have very little wiggle room right now. They’re up against the cap and can’t make any major moves. Our trades this season have so far involved a contract-for-contract swap (Guillaume Latendresse / Benoit Pouliot) and moving Kyle Chipchura’s minimum contract of $500 000 (or what someone like Vincent Lecavalier made while you were reading this sentence).

Most big trades will take place during the off-season when teams have more cap space due to expiring contracts and an allowance to exceed the cap by 10% while rosters are finalized. Everything becomes clearer when the NHL announces the exact cap limit.


Carter-for-Plekanec in January would be unusual.


There are a few reasons why it might happen:

1. The Flyers are struggling. They fired their coach, John Stevens, and replaced him with former Canes bench boss and Cup-winner Peter Laviolette. As of now, Laviolette hasn’t been able to get the Flyers back on track, but GM Paul Holgrem wants to give him more time before making significant roster changes.


2. The Flyers need a goalie – now. Brian Boucher? Michael Leighton? They’re (maybe) backup material or AHL starters, but they are not your #1 in the NHL. The Flyers might have hoped those two could handle the load with Ray Emery going down with an abdominal tear, but hope won’t win you games. Jaroslav Halak would provide the Flyers with a guy who would have no trouble taking on that responsibility for the next few weeks and then giving a healthy Emery real competition for minutes.


3. Montreal has wanted/needed a legitimate #1 centerman for years. Sure Pleks is playing great, sure Scott Gomez can make fancy passes and gets paid a lot, but neither one of them is an honest-to-goodness number 1. Jeff Carter is. At 6’3”, 200lbs – Jeff Carter is big. Last year he notched 46 goals; Plekanec and Gomez combined for 36.


So, a done deal?


Not so fast. Although the trade would be similar in terms of immediate cap hit, we’d be taking on Carter’s $5 million salary for next season too. Not an excessive contract given his ability, but it’s more than Plekanec earns and more than it would cost to re-sign him. Most have Pleks pegged at a multi-year deal for around 4-4.5$ per season. A million extra for Carter might seem worth it, but the Habs just might not be able to afford it. Gomez (7.357m), Cammalleri (6m) and Gionta (5m) are already all making quite a bit. Throw in Hamrlik (5.5) and Andrei Markov (5.75) and we’re suddenly looking at a lot of money.


Oh and Carey Price will be looking for a raise this summer

Gainey would have to work some magic, but yes, he’d be able to make the numbers work.


Let’s look at the other players involved:

Hal Gill – He’s a solid bottom-pairing defenseman who has great reach and can cover a lot of ice on the PK. With Markov back, there will be less pressure on the big guy and he gives the Habs good depth. Can we survive his departure? Yes. But I’d rather give up Paul Mara.


Jaroslav Halak – We all know he’s good. When Cristobal Huet went down with a hamstring injury a couple seasons ago, Halak was more than capable as a starter. When he gets a decent chance here – which is rare –he’s good. Price has a higher celing, but Halak is definitely good. He’s been itching to play and in the short-term at least, he’d get his wish with the Flyers. Is he a bonafide number one? Maybe in a Peter Budaj sort of way but I don’t ever see him being dominant. Can twe survive his departure? Yes. Is he worth a big return by himself? No, maybe a pick and a prospect.


Do you want mayo with that? I mean, Brian Boucher. No, not really. I’d rather a late round pick or prospect.


Some questions to think about:

Can we re-sign Plekanec? Would he re-sign?

Why would the Flyers be giving up on Jeff Carter? Are the mutterings of a divided locker room true?
Would we be able to re-sign Carter after his contract expires?

What would the Habs think if our hardest working player this season gets shipped out?

It’s a good trade to debate. It’s not as silly as most rumours go.


If this gets done, Bob Mackenzie will probably call it “a good hockey deal for both sides”.

Pierre McGuire will say the Habs gave up a lot of assets for a “monster”.

If you listen to the Team 990 you won’t know what PJ Stock thinks about it – but you will – if you tune in to one of his other gigs at CHOM, HNIC, Antichambre, Al-Jazeera or China’s CCTV. Michel Bergeron wouldn’t care because none of the players involved are French, but because of that he’d call it “un mauvaise echange”. 



If that wasn’t enough, there’s another rumour going around about Dustin Byfuglien being shipped here for an unknown asset. The Habs could use a guy who finishes his checks and the Blackhawks could use some cap relief.

It’s unlikely that they’d want Halak with both Huet and Antti Niemi playing well, so maybe we’d send them a pick or a prospect in return.

With the Hawks rolling right now, it seems unlikely that they mess with a winning roster. They want to win a Cup this year – and I think they can do it. They can deal with roster issues in the summer and giving away a solid role player for future talent just doesn’t add up.



With the NHL holiday trade freeze currently in effect, we won’t know at least until December 27th. And we should also keep in mind that Bob Gainey is incredibly secretive and hates leaks about possible player swaps. So what are the chances that this is legit? I’ll leave that to you.


Carter for Captain?

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Trade Rumours

A little over a month ago, Bob Gainey didn’t see any glaring deficiencies on what appeared to be a solid Montreal Canadiens’ roster. After Ottawa completely dismantled that very same roster on Saturday night, however, the Habs’ GM might be taking a closer look as the NHL trade deadline quickly approaches.


Bob Gainey continued building with youth last year by trading Craig Rivet for Josh Gorges and a first round pick. (THE GAZETTE/ Pierre Obendrauf)



Montreal continued building with youth last year by trading Craig Rivet for Josh Gorges and a first round pick. (THE GAZETTE/ Pierre Obendrauf) 






Here is a quick-and-dirty round-up of some of the names that have been mentioned by analysts, journalists, and late-night rumourmongers:


JEFF CARTER (C); Philadelphia Flyers; 22 years old; RFA; currently earning 942 000$. This native of London, Ont., has 18 goals, 16 assists, 28 hits and 36 blocked shots in 55 games. His face-off percentage is 48.8%. 

Why the Habs Want Him: He’s a good two-way forward who has loads of offensive potential. He’s 6′-3" and he’ll only bulk up on his current 200 lbs. Carter’s not an immediate upgrade, but he’ll pay dividends down the road.

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him: If Philadelphia wins the Forsberg sweepstakes, the Flyers will have some offensive depth that they could turnover for some help on the blueline. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, however, will be asking for more than Mr. Gainey is willing to pay.


PATRICK MARLEAU (C); San Jose Sharks; 27 years old; currently earning $4.5 million but that will jump to $6.5 million next season and last for two years. A NTC will come into effect starting next year.

Why the Habs Want Him: He’s a good first line center who can notch 30 goals and 50+ assists. He’s big, fast and has a "C" stitched to his jersey.

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him: Right now he’s -21 on a pretty good team and he has only 10 goals and 17 assists. Oh, and did I already mention the $13 million bucks remaining for the next two years?


MARIAN HOSSA (RW); Atlanta Thrashers; 28 years old; UFA; currently earning $7 million (cap hit of $6 million).

Why the Habs Want Him: Last year this right-winger he reached 100 points. ‘Nuff said.

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him: Atlanta’s GM Don Waddell will be asking for everything, including the kitchen sink, for this rental player. Gainey won’t pay, but somebody else will.


ALEX TANGUAY (LW); Calgary Flames; 27 years old; has one more year left at $5.375 million.

Why the Habs Want Him: In a season, he can pot 20-30 goals and will flirt with 80 points. In 55 games this season, he has 11G-32A-43P and is +12.

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him: Although his name has kept popping up, he’s become too important to the Flames to trade him now. The Habs are not going to give up Alex Kovalev and Michael Ryder isn’t the right type of player for Flames GM Darryl Sutter or head coach Mike Keenan. With the Flames needing some cap space, look for Tanguay to be moved in the off-season. Tanguay’s NTC and desire to stay away from the scrutiny of the Montreal media, however, will keep him out of a Habs’ jersey.


ROB BLAKE (D); LA Kings; 37 years old; UFA; currently earning $6 million; NTC.

Why the Habs Want Him: He’s a seasoned All-Star and Norris-winning blueliner that any team in the league would go after. 

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him: His NTC will keep him on the West Coast).


BRIAN CAMPBELL (D); Buffalo Sabres; 28 years old; UFA; currently earning $1.75 million (cap hit of $1.5 million).

Why the Habs Want Him: He’s a solid blueliner who’ll be entering the prime of his career.

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him:  Sabres GM Darcy Regier screwed up big time last year when he let both Chris Drury and Daniel Briere walk as UFAs and he won’t make the same mistake with Campbell. If Regier can’t sign him by the deadline, Campbell will be traded. The Habs, however, aren’t in the market for another top defenseman, especially one who will be looking for a big raise come July 1st.


YANNICK PERRAULT (C); 36 years old; UFA; currently earning $1.5 million.

Why the Habs Want Him: His face-off perentage is 64.6%.  

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him: Besides his face-off skills, the aging center has little to offer. He has been a frequent healthy scratch with the Blackhawks and in 47 games has 7G-4A-11P and is -2. 


OLLIE JOKINEN (C); 28 years old; currently earning $5.25 million for this year and for next, and in 2009/10 (the final year of his contract) gets a bump to $5.5 million.

Why the Habs Want Him: He’s a consistently good offensive contributor on a consistently bad Panthers team. He is on pace for a career best 40 goals. He currently has 29G-29A-58P in 58 games.

Why the Habs Won’t Get Him: Former Florida GM Mike Keenan traded away star netminder Roberto Luongo; current GM Jacques Martin won’t make the same mistake with Jokinen – he’s far too valuable to the franchise.


MATS SUNDIN (C); 36 years old; UFA; currently earning $5.5 million; NTC.

Just kidding.


These are several of the big names that keep turning up in the rumour mills, but due to big contracts, no-trade clauses, or a lack of production, most of these blockbuster moves just won’t happen. Gainey is a fairly conservative GM who has been following his plan of building from within. If there is a good deal on the market, he’ll be the first in line, but he doesn’t want to sacrifice the promising youth that the Habs’ have been steadily drafting and developing. 

Is Gainey right to be so cautious? Does the team have a chance at winning the Cup next year, or the year after? Or should they go for it now and trade away some prospects and a couple roster players and get a Jokinen or Hossa?


  1. jrbadabing says:

    I’ve been hearing the name of Chris Gratton come up as a player The Habs’ are pursuing. As an UFA next year, he may cost Gainey a UFA of his own(Mike Ryder) or a young player like Duncan Milroy / Corey Locke, who aren’t able to crack the lineup after a few camps.

    CG is a big, faceoff guy, with some toughness the Habs’ would welcome.

    Thoughts ? Comments ?

  2. aungthwin says:

    Yeah, I heard about Lecavalier maybe wanting out of Tampa too. I think that the Lightning will do everything that they can to keep him there. If, however, he forces management to move him, I doubt it would happen until sometime next season.

    Feaster will make a run at a “quality” netminder (doesn’t look like there will be too many big name goaltenders on the market) during the summer and, if he lands one, could convince Vinny that things are looking up. If Lecavalier still wants out, the Lightning could get an insane return for him before next season’s trade deadline (or maybe even a bit earlier).

    And since his contract is up after next year, my guess is that unless the Lightning look to be strong competitors for the 2008/09 playoffs, Vinny will be dealt.

  3. habitual says:

    Chris: Good format. I like the dose of reality you add.

    Al Strachan (yeah, I know) commented that Lecavalier wants to play in a bigger market city and included Montreal as one possibility.

    What are you hearing about this?

  4. scouter says:

    For Hossa I would Give up Ryder, Higgins and Halak. Ryder’s time in Montreal is done, Higgins can have a bright future, and Halak deserves a chance to play and not waste away in the minors.

  5. Mr.Hazard says:

    Why do we keep talking about the Cup like it’s a one-time thing?? 😛

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  6. McPine says:

    I liked all the research that went into this article Chris, but I wanted to know if you have any faith in the Habs getting a superstar player before the trade deadline. It may be the deeply rooted Habs fan in you, maybe just pessimism, but why was each player listed with why we want him then why we won’t get him?

  7. habitants12 says:

    Gainey should be setting his eyes on Vinny Prospal. This guy would be great in a Habs Jersey!!!

  8. Steve C. says:

    for awhile I haven’t been sold on the idea of rental players. especially after the way Montreal management traded away and badly drafted/scouted our future and core players (Terry Ryan, Patrick Roy, Eric Desjardins, John LeClair, just to name a few)since post-1993 Stanley Cup up until André Savard was hired as GM and another upgrade when Gainey was brought in. Nevermind a few mistakes i.e. Mike Ribeiro and Sergei Samsonov. seriously, it has happened to the best GM’s. we just hear it here so much because we haven’t won for so long.

    however, good examples of…:
    1. good trading –> Crag Rivet-for-Josh Gorges/1st rounder
    2. evolution of prospects –> Mike Komisarek, Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, etc…
    3. bright prospects –> Ryan O’Byrne, Sergei Kostitsyn, Carey Price, Kyle Chipchura
    4. good drafting –> those mentioned above. time will tell with Subban, Carle, Pacioretty, McDonagh and company, but reviews seem to be favourable.

    …these 4 reasons lead me to believe that we can afford to turn it around and aquire someone of high-calibre for a nice package that any NHL GM would like.

    even Ken Holland has made some major-league trade deadlines deals that have gone up into dust (Bill Ranford, Wendel Clark, and Ulf Samuelsson all in the same year) and his team has gotten along quite fine, thank you very much.

    i know that Holland’s Red Wings are attractive for free agents, but have you seen the guys that he’s drafted. their 3 main franchise players over the past 2 decades – Lidstrom, Yzerman, and Fedorov – are all draftees and now they have franchise players Zetterberg and Datsyuk, not to mention Lidstrom is still on the team playing like he’s 25-years-old. Montreal hasn’t had a franchise player like that since Patrick Roy, never mind having 5 of them. plus, if you don’t want to count Roy ’cause he’s a goalie, you have to rewind to Guy LaFleur.

    what i’m saying is that i think that if the Canadiens continue to go on strong and finish in the top 5 in the Eastern Conference, top free agents will start putting Montreal high on their “I’d like to play there” lists. and also, whether we attract more free agents or not, i believe that we have the depth to trade away a prospect and/or young player. preferably a defenceman though since a) defencemen are the most coveted players in the NHL in past years and b) our biggest reservoir of players is defencemen. even better..a first rounder….in 2010 though because the next two years have the deepest draft since 2005, and maybe even better than that heh heh.

  9. Wops says:

    maybe we would need to put a guy with a contract next year too like Dandy or Bouillon..
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  10. Wops says:

    What about a trade like

    Streit, CHipchura, 1st round (a little bit like the sens trade)


    Boyle, Prospal…

    both pending UFAs, Prospal give a little O-punch, and lets try to resign Boyle… Komi-Markov….Hammer-Boyle….Sounds good to me.

    maybe not exactly that, we would need a Tampa fan to see what he thinks, but no way does tampa lets dan boyle go on free agents…
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  11. Jonnyboy says:

    I like the idea of someone winning faceoffs. What would you trade for him?

  12. Jonnyboy says:

    Chris Gratton, Tampa Bay, 6-4, 231

    TSN Scouting Report:
    Assets – Has a great combination of size and two-way savvy. Displays decent hands and a mean streak. Is solid on face-offs and sound defensively.

    Flaws – Has questionable hockey sense, which limits him in the scoring department. Isn’t as complete a player as his package suggests.

    Career potential – Checking line forward.

    He is a 54% on faceoffs and a UFA at seaons end.

  13. likehoy says:

    we should just swap grabovski for goc

  14. courneya12mac 1 says:

    we need grit from anyone we trade for , i’m sure gainey will make the right choice for now and for the future , bob’s not one to put all his eggs in one basket

  15. habsnyc says:

    gainey said he wants a third line center who can win faceoffs. maybe your list of potential trades should focus on that, instead of on all the players unlikely to come to montreal.

  16. The Teacher says:

    He has mentioned him many times. I don’t see the point of getting him.

  17. 24 Cups says:

    RM – I think you have mentioned Goc before but that is a lot to give up for a guy who has yet to do anything in the NHL. I realize he has lots of potential but at 24 he’s still a maybe. Has a bad back to boot. If we’re going to trade for a centre let’s at least get someone with size and grit.

    The Original 24 Cups

  18. RetroMikey says:

    I’d trade Dandeneault, Ryder, Boullion, Begin and a draft pick just to get a young skilled centreman in San Jose named Marcel Goc. This kid would really help us for years to come.

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  19. smart42 says:


    I agree with the comment that Gainey is balanced, and cautious, it is not his style to knee jerk and trade a player for the sake of appeasing the blood hounds after a couple of iffy outings, or scoring slump. This business of putting a winning team on the ice is all about the short, medium and long term building and is an insane tightrope walk in Montreal. Looking at Bob’s track record here and elsewhere, I think he has proven more than capable.

    that said, should Gainey decide to take a run at Hossa #2, I think the odds of signing is pretty remote, brothers talk. Yannick P? I think Old Hawks have seen that movie before, it ends poorly.

    Keep em coming Chris.

  20. Ed says:

    Chris – it’s good to have a realist aboard. You have given excellent reasons why those trades won’t happen. I would like to call you the anti-Boone. Keep up the great, informative blogs.

  21. Bouleau noir says:

    Good round-up Chris and down to earth as well.

    I wouldn’say that Gainey didn’t see any glaring deficiencys with his team one month ago but simply that he avoided talking about them,… specially that he couldn’t foresee a favorable scenario unfolding to fixe any of them before the trade deadline that would make any kind of sens.

    Trading at deadline make sens for bonifide cup contenders or for teams out of the playoff race,… I dont see my team in there neither does he sees it as well.

    Good scouting and players developpement must be conjointed with good UFA aquisitions and timely trading for a team to move forward in strength…. things have been slow on some accounts yet those are the erea we need to excel at.

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