Peeling Off a Layer: Players that Will Not Be Wearing the “Tricolore” After this Season

Many do not realize it, but the Canadiens are in a very comfortable position. Not in rank, not in standings, but of roster construct. Players in the league are generally perceived in three levels of age; the youngsters, the players at their peak and the ones on the verge of retirement. The Canadiens are nearly entirely built on youngsters and players (give or take) at their peak. This is very positive, as most teams in the league cannot compare. This means, that while players are being developed as youth, the second layer of players at their peak are continuing to state their own trade value. It makes all the right reason to trade these players at the peak of their game with corresponding value while the opportunity is there. Whether it is for draft picks or prospects ect., don’t be surprised to see the following players go within the next year or two.

Photo: Twitter

Photo: Twitter

Brian Gionta: Our beloved captain has one year at $5 million left on his contract before set to become an UFA. By then, he’ll be of 35-36 years of age. This is an interesting scenario. Many teams try to fish for skilled and proven veterans at trade deadline but does Gionta apply? Does he have high value? Based on experience and impact, the quick answer would be yes, however, teams prefer shopping for big and strong veterans to handle the playoffs, (as seen in Jagr, Iginla and Brenden Morrow of this year). The other thing to note, is Montreal a hockey city to trade their captain mid-season? I would say not. Calgary had no choice, they were doomed had they not traded Iginla. Morrow from Dallas? Well, in all honesty, does the city of Dallas really mind? Jagr same thing. Gionta will most likely finish his contract in Montreal, and unless he’s wiling to accept a very big reduction, will not be resigned.

 

Photo: Faceoff.com

Photo: Faceoff.com

Andrei Markov: Markov, like Gionta, has one year left on his contract until he becomes an UFA. He’ll be making close to 6 million this year. Markov is not what a team would call a defensive defensemen, as he’s naturally a very good quarterback to a team by starting the play, picking up some assists and notching some goals. Markov is 34. In other words, he’s the exact type of player that teams go out overpaying for at trade deadline, as Jay Bouwmeester generously proved. Teams like stacking their defensive depth come playoff time, so Bergevin would be smart to put Markov on the block. The Canadiens will lose his rights altogether 2 months later, so why not trade him to possibly gain a 1st rounder or a prospect for help of the upcoming youth? Do not be surprised to see Markov not complete this full season in Montreal.

 

Photo: Habsnews.ca

Photo: Habsnews.ca

Tomas Plekanec: Plekanec’s play is very debatable amongst the Canadiens fan base. Some see him as an underachieving centre, who has lost his ability to win face-offs and be an effective 2-way forward. Others still firmly believe he is a true underrated #1 centre, who still brings much to the game; parts that is not blatantly obvious when watching on TV. I personally view Plekanec as the middle ground between both sides of the arguing chain. Yes, I do believe he has lost some of his game, BUT, he has more upside than downside. Plekanec has a good three years before becoming an UFA ($5M per year). I do not believe he should be traded this season as he is a type of player whose 2-way talent is hard to come by. He can fill that #1 centre job, while the younger centres gain experience. But come next summer (or maybe even the summer after that), he will have to go. It would be a pity to lose Plekanec for nothing. So trading him would be the best bet come summertime. After all, like many people rightfully say, Eller deserves more ice-time based on his potential and talent, and Galchenyuk, who has been playing on the wing, is our true #1 centre of the future. Eventually, Plekanec will have less use, but based on his age of 30, still has good trade value.

 

Based on the roster and depth of the Canadiens, these three players mark the outer layer of the Canadiens lineups that sooner than later, will have to be peeled off. All three still show value but only a couple can be traded for what is deserved in return. In the Canadien’s fan base, we tend to treat players like family. We are protective of them and do not wish to see them leave the team. Whether or not we like to see it happen, we have to let the business aspect of hockey take control.

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2 Responses to Peeling Off a Layer: Players that Will Not Be Wearing the “Tricolore” After this Season

  1. Plekanec is forced into the role that Saku Koivu was when here, to be a number one centre when in fact Koivu was and Plekanec currently is, the perfect SECOND line centre. Plekanec is undervalued by many around the fan base because they feel he does not put up enough points. The problem with this is sadly their lack of understanding that he has to play against the top line of the opposition every night, he is the number one penalty killer and he plays power play minutes. He does all of these things because hes good at them. Eller will eventually take on this role if we dont screw up and trade the Dane but at this point, this team cannot lose Plekanec. He is way too defensively responsible and one of the core that I am sure Bergy loves to have around.

    While I feel Gionta is done with MTL once his contract runs out here, Markov may not be. People say he is slowing way down when numbers actually dispute that and can you really go wrong bringing him back if he takes a drop in cap hit? Not really. The guy is a gamer and if you manage his time right, he is very useful.

    Michael Gomez July 10, 2013 at 10:29 pm Reply
    • I agree very much with what you said. I’m a big fan of Plekanec. I really like what he does, but many people fail to realize how good he truly is. He game in and game out faces the best of the other teams, and is a very reliable, solid centre. This is why I’d keep him another full year, and depending on situation, one more after that. If other GM’s realize Plekanec’s value, and try to take a bite at him, it would only make sense for Habs 1 or 2 years from now. By then, Eller will be old enough to Pleks role, and Galchenyuk will start blossoming. I doubt Pleks will want a 3rd line role, which is why trading him at that point makes sense instead of losing him to Free Agency.

      As for Markov, he too I really like, however, unless he’s wiling to take a very low contract (which I doubt he would based on his past and talent), teams would kill for an offensive D-men for playoffs, which is why trading him for potentially a 1st and a prospect would be very intriguing. If we get nothing for him in a trade, why bother. If he gets traded, we’ll eventually have Beaulieu, ect. to take over his role.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Micah Winston July 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm Reply

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