With the trade deadline approaching, the Montreal Canadiens are better off than expected. We still need some work though—mostly a center who can actually win draws.
So far, we've had Chipchura (43.84 percent), Koivu (53.82 percent), Lapierre (50.21 percent), Plekanec (46.98 percent), and Smolinski (47.83 percent). Not that great.
I could see bringing back Yanic Perreault merely for the powerplay faceoffs that we need desperately. Jarret Stoll is been another name Gainey has looked into, though acquiring him is tougher than it looks. It's worth the hassle if we come away with his 54 percent winning mark.
Michael Peca has lost the offensive touch but still is amazing the second the puck drops. He has almost a 55 percent winning mark. Robert Lang is also doing well but gives us the size we don't have with our other centers standing barely 6 foot.
Some other names include Ryan Johnson of the Blues, Radek Bonk of the Preds, and Keith Tkachuk of the Blues as well.
Another need that could be addressed is the lack of veteran defensemen. We have Patrice but he is often out injured due to his age. Rob Blake is having a low season on a low-ranked team and has brought the interest of many General Managers to watch a game or two, but the Kings have been greedy and Blake has a no-trade-clause that will be waved if he wants to enter the 2008 playoffs.
Ed Jovanovski of Phoenix has had a nice year being the man on the powerplay setting up 27 goals, while Adam Foote of Columbus has had only 13 points in 51 games. He still would be a nice pick-up for the Canadiens.
What can the Canadiens offer to get such players?
We have too many good young players which means they will never have a chance with our squad. The list is long: Carey Price, Ryan McDonagh, Kyle Chipchura, Max Pacioretty, Ben Maxwell, David Fischer, Sergei Kostitsyn, Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, Alexei Emelin, Ryan O'Byrne, PK Subban, Pavel Valentenko, Ryan White, Matt D'Agostini, Mathieu Carle, Ryan Russell, and Mathieu Aubin.
Out of that list, Price, Chipchura, Maxwell, Kostitsyns, and O'Bryne are the only ones I see making a roster spot right away. That talent is what teams like LA and bottom-feeders like. Throw in a pick or two and you have a deal.