Gainey and Carbo will have to asses whether or not a trade is needed.
According to http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/tbl090118.html
the Tampa Bay Lightning are holding fast to having Andrei Markov as a part of any deal for Vincent Lecavalier. Whether this is a deal breaker or whether Bob Gainey is seriously considering moving his top defenseman – there is no way to tell. Gainey holds his cards close to his chest, so only time will tell. In the meantime however, as we get closer to the playoffs there will be teams who fall out of contention and will be looking to possibly make a deal to strengthen their squad for next year. For me, Markov is non-tradable. You don’t build a championship team by letting your best defenseman go, unless you replace him in the deal (which I have heard nothing about). If Montreal can’t come to an agreement with Tampa Bay, I’m interested in hearing who else might be available as we get closer to the post season? Gainey is certainly looking at more options than just Lecavalier.
4 players of note who I would be interested in seeing in Montreal:
Rick Nash – Columbus Blue Jackets : I’m not saying he’s available, but he interests me in that like Lecavalier he is a bonafide superstar quality scorer who plays for a team that has had all kinds of problems turning the corner. They’ve never made the playoffs, and if they start to sink in the Western Conference standings will GM Scott Howson try to deal his star left winger before he loses him to free agency at the end of next season? No he’s not a centre, but he’s a big body, and a guy who can seriously put the puck in the net. Currently his statline reads: 17 goals, 22 assists for 39 points in 40 games. Columbus is currently only a point out of 8th place in the west and is probably straddling the line between buyer and seller, but if their play takes a turn for the worse as we get closer to the deadline, could Nash be available? Nash’s contract at 7 million per season is comparable to Lecavalier, however, he is also only 24 years old. If Montreal is willing to part with major assets to acquire a 28 year old Vincent Lecavalier with a decade long contract, what about a player like Nash who is playing for a team that desperately needs NHL quality roster players?
Tomas Kaberle – Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are rebuilding. They have committed to turning the franchise around and in order to do that, they need draft picks and prospects. Kaberle has drawn attention because he doesn’t really fit into the Maple Leafs’ plans moving forward. While he is not as glamorous an acquisition as Lecavalier, his addition to Montreal’s blueline would add undeniable depth to a squad who is already 6th best in the league in terms of goals against. While Kaberle is a Minus – 10, for the Leafs, much of that is due to Toronto’s team defence which has been terrible at best this season. It would cost Montreal little in the short term to land Kaberle, and his contract of 4.25 million through the 10/11 season is a good deal. He would be an asset to the powerplay, and would free up Andrei Markov to effectively play his hybrid defense/forward role.
Brad Boyes – St Louis Blues : The Blues are terrible, but they aren’t in Islanders territory.. yet. The organization needs NHL quality players and prospects. Montreal has those. Boyes wouldn’t be as big of a pickup as Lecavalier for Gainey, but the potential for disaster that could accompany the Lecavalier trade also isn’t there. At 4 million per year through the 2011/2012 season Boyes could be a great pickup, and while his 36 points in 44 games aren’t Gretzky type numbers, his accomplishments must be wieghed with the fact that he plays for a terrible team in a very good conference. More importantly he is a right handed shot and would help either our first or second powerplay unit.
Jason Spezza – Ottawa Senators : Ottawa isn’t out of the hunt yet for a playoff spot and there has been a slight upturn in Ottawa’s play in the past few games. If the season doesn’t take a turn for the better, one has to wonder how long the “big 3″ will remain intact. Clearly Ottawa isn’t the team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals a few seasons ago. Spezza makes 8 million per season for the next 4 years, 5 the year after that, and 4 the year after that. Given that he is 25 years old, he would fetch the most in return for the Senators as they try to rebuild. Its hard to tell what it would cost to land the right-handed Spezza. I would be speculating, but I have to believe that it would be somewhere near or above the 2 roster players, prospect, and first round draft pick that Pittsburg sent to Atlanta for Marian Hossa last season. Given that Spezza is signed long term, he would likely cost more in prospects. Given Ottawa’s need for a goaltender, defensive prospects and secondary scoring, there are a host of scenarios in which Montreal and Ottawa could come to a mutually benficial deal. While Spezza has become something of a whipping-boy in the Ottawa media, we saw up close on Saturday night just how valuable an offensive weapon he can be.
In the end, only Gainey will know who is really available for Montreal as we move towards the final stretch of the season. For me, I would rather go into the playoffs with a stable defense and rely on our offensive depth for our attack. We’re seeing Kovalev, Lang, and Andrei Kostitsyn alot more often on the scoring sheet these days. We may still need a big gun or another defenseman if we’re seriously going to contend for the Stanley Cup. It will be interesting to see how the trade talks play out after the all-star break.