Marc Bergevin Is Looking For a Top-4 D-man, But Who’s Available?

As reported by Nick Kypreos and Sportsnet last week, Marc Bergevin and the Habs are currently looking to bolster their blue line even more as they are searching for a top-4 defenceman.

The Canadiens have started the season 8-0-1, with a +17 goal difference and are leading the league with only 14 goals against. This is obviously thanks to the tremendous play from Carey Price and Al Montoya, along with a defence core that has impressed so far. Michel Therrien hasn’t been afraid of changing up the pairings, as we’ve seen Sergachev in and out of the lineup, as well as Emelin playing with Shea Weber on the top pair. However, with an aging Markov playing with Jeff Petry on the second pair, Bergevin may be looking for a guy who can come in for the next couple of years. The Habs management believe that the window of opportunity is this year and possibly the next 2-3, with an unstoppable Carey Price and top players currently playing with affordable contracts. If you recall a few seasons back, the Habs acquired Sergei Gonchar to add more stability at the back-end in hopes of a long playoff run, which they may attempt again this year.

With Zach Redmond out injured for an extended period of time, Mikhail Sergachev sent back to Windsor and the Canadiens not calling Mark Barberio up from St. John’s, you’d have to think something could possibly be in the works. There is also around $3.5 million of cap space too, meaning if Bergevin were to dish out one of their contracts, there will definitely be room to take on a heavier load. The big question looms, who, in reality, is out there on the market, and what would actually make sense for the Habs? After doing some research, there are a few viable options, that could end up being a good piece of business.

Cam Fowler:

Its been known that the Anaheim Ducks have been shopping him since before the Trade Deadline last season, but he has remained in California. After signing Hampus Lindholm to a long-term deal, and placing Simon Depres on the LTIR that helped cap relief, Ducks general manager Bob Murray has stated he will keep the defenceman, letting his team have one last shot at the cup. I still believe that if the right offer comes, anything can happen. Fowler would fit in very nicely playing with someone like Shea Weber or Jeff Petry. His cap hit is $4,000,000 for the next two seasons.

Jacob Trouba:

This one is more of a long-shot, but I’m sure Bergevin has called the Jets management a few times inquiring. Trouba of course, doesn’t currently have a contract and hasn’t played a game all season, as his agent came out and said he didn’t want to play in Winnipeg any longer and requested a trade. If the young American can lower his demands and accept to play in Montreal, a deal could be struck, but the Habs would have to give up some good value in return.

Johnny Oduya:

The ex-Blackhawk could also be an option for the Canadiens. Although he’s not as talented as the two other players mentioned, acquiring him wouldn’t be a bad thing, as he adds needed depth for a long regular and post-season. He also has a few rings under his belt and winning experience is always valued. Currently, his cap hit is $3,750,000 but he will be a UFA next season. His contract has a No-Move-Clause, with only 17 teams he can be traded to.

Francois Beauchemin: 

A French-Canadian experienced defenceman, Beauchemin could be the man Marc Bergevin and his staff are looking for. Now 36 years old, Beauchemin can be almost the same deal that brought Gonchar to Montreal a few years back. He’s been around the league forever, plays a shutdown role and could put the puck in the net, occasionally. Montreal scouts were attending the Colorado game last night, which could mean somethings brewing. He currently makes $4,500,000 for this season and the next.

Zbyněk Michalek:

A surprisingly Arizona Coyote outcast, Michalek was sent down to the minors prior to the star of the season. The 33-year-old has played 13 seasons in the NHL, with the Pittsburgh Penguins and two different stints with the Coyotes. He’s currently playing for the Tuscon Roadrunners, Arizona’s farm team. With a cap hit of $2,225,000 this year and being a pending UFA, he may be a viable and cheap option for the Habs.

Realistically, the only pure top-4 defencemen I listed here are Cam Fowler and Jacob Trouba. The rest would definitely fit into the top-6, but aren’t as offensive or flashy. The reason why I added these guys in is because I believe Marc Bergevin may lower his demand on what he wants, as the Canadiens don’t have much value to give back. Oduya, Beauchemin and Michalek could all be acquired for a prospect or a few draft picks, as opposed to giving up an actual roster player for Trouba or Fowler.

Will a trade actually be made? I’m not so sure, and if the Habs can continue to win hockey games beyond their string of away games in December, the management might drop their need to pick up another defenceman. It will sure be interesting to see what takes place, as anything can happen.

*All contract & salary cap information taken from Capfriendly.com

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4 Responses to Marc Bergevin Is Looking For a Top-4 D-man, But Who’s Available?

  1. the one problem not being looked at is most players do not want to play in Montreal..the taxes really suck and the coach and manager scare alot of players..as long as Therrien is there most NHL players will not voluntarily sign in Montreal..now those traded have no choice so that is the only way to get them there but keeping them in the long run may be a problem unless ober years and overpriced…which seems to be the trend…Shaws contract from a financial point is ridiculous.

    Bay_Bye November 3, 2016 at 6:59 am Reply
    • Its still an honour to play for the Montreal Canadiens.

      Luca LaPorta November 3, 2016 at 9:07 am Reply
  2. Nick Kypreos comment has not been confirmed by canadiens organisation, therefore it could be his opinion

    anthony stewart November 3, 2016 at 10:17 am Reply
    • Friedman has also reported it. The Canadiens do not need to confirm this when other GMs talk.

      Keep in mind that Kyper is the one who broke the Subban/Weber trade.

      Michael Gomez November 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm Reply

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