Habs Acquire Kovalchuk, Scandella

Overview

The Montreal Canadiens have had a rough start to the season, to say the least. Four of the team’s top nine forwards are injured—Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin, Joel Armia, and Paul Byron.

Not only that, but the Habs are on a four-game losing streak. Claude Julien has been forced to retrieve players from Laval with no success.

But not everything is going downhill for Montreal. The past few games have displayed the creativity and talent and potential of Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Ryan Poehling. If these three are any indication of the future of the franchise, I would say there are some good years ahead.

And that is not all. Marc Bergevin made a few phone calls this week, and the Habs have a couple players coming to town.

Ilya Kovalchuk

The Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with 36 year-old Ilya Kovalchuk. The NHL would pay Ilya Kovalchuk $700,000, and the AHL pay $70,000.

Many have said that there is no risk to the Habs in offering Kovalchuk another shot. And I would agree. Kovalchuk understands that if he doesn’t produce in Montreal, his career in the NHL may very well be over.

Bergevin said that “he [Kovalchuk] has to buy in… he knows it’s his last chance.”

Although the days of the stellar Kovalchuk-Heatley duo are over, there is no reason Kovalchuk can’t provide offensive support and leadership to a creative young group in Montreal.

According to Marc Bergevin, it is likely Kovalchuk will not be playing tomorrow night against Pittsburgh.

Two Other Additions

The Habs have also acquired Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020.

This is another one of those situations where I do not see a down side. He is a clear upgrade to the defensive line. Scandella has three goals and six assists so far this season, with a plus-9.

This trade occurred only an hour after the Habs let Mike Reilly go to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2021 and Andrew Sturtz.

Conclusions

The trade was essentially Scandella for Reilly, and I will take that trade any day.

Will Scandella and Kovalchuk resolve the issues the Habs are experiencing this season? Absolutely not. But they have the potential to add depth and bolster a solid team when those who are injured get worked back into the lineup.

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