Drive for 25

Photo: Alex Trautwig, Getty Images

Photo: Alex Trautwig, Getty Images

EA Sports came out with a new GM connected mode for NHL13 last year, but who knew the real NHL general managers would be playing the same game. All the hype around the NHL trade deadline slated for tomorrow at 3pm ET, has turned out to be anti-climatic so far. Most of the “big ticket” players have already been dealt to their new respective clubs. While there are still some blockbuster deals still to most likely take place, don’t count on deadline day to be boring. Just because Alex Ovechkin won’t be traded to Chicago for Patrick Kane does not mean you should not tune into the deadline coverage tomorrow.

I wont sit here and tell you what my specific wish list is for Marc Bergevin, but what I will say is that Bergevin has not finished his “to do” list just yet. The Canadiens currently have quite a few injured players, but as their record and seeding suggests, their depth has been exceptional this season, but the playoffs are not the regular season; “Championships come from depth”. If all goes well and the injured guys can recover, the Habs’ biggest additions may just come from their own roster rather than from acquisitions from deadline deals. The additions of both Jeff Halpern and most recently Davis Drewiske, costed Bergevin a combined 5th round pick (yes you read that correctly). Now by no means am I suggesting that Halpern and Drewiske replace the injured Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz, but clearly the Montreal Canadiens have more than just survived since they went down. Jeff Halpern who was scooped up off waivers from the New York Rangers on March 23rd, has been nothing short of brilliant. The face-off circle has been an area of concern for most of the season for Montreal, as had the penalty killing, but since Halpern has arrived, these two areas have both been improved. Drewiske has yet to suit up for the Habs, and although he isn’t a replacement on Diaz, he does serve as a very solid 5-7 defenseman. Davis is a reliable blue-liner who is not a small guy at 6’2″ 220lbs, and his services – be it many or few, will be warmly welcomed in Montreal to help steady the Habs’ back end.

Montreal is poised for a playoff run with the roster they currently have, and although Bergevin hasn’t declared his team as “all in”, that doesn’t mean the Habs are “not in”. In fact, I would say the Habs are “all in” but not in the same way that Ray Shero’s Penguins are. Bergevin will not sacrifice the future for a rental player, but with that being said, if he can find a good UFA at the right price who will help the Habs immediately, then he would be crazy not to make the said deal; and as we know already Marc Bergevin is the best manager in the league. More depth could help the Canadiens for the playoffs, but there’s only so many roster spots and unless there is an absolute fit in the Habs’ line up then don’t get too excited on your “chel 13” dream trades. Sure, Montreal would look great with another gritty power forward, and another guy to man the point on the second powerplay unit, but these players would cost Bergevin a hefty price. Montreal has a great team with good depth and a huge pool of NHL ready prospects down in Hamilton, some of which we’ve already seen: Tinordi, Beaulieu, Pateryn and Dumont. If Bergevin doesn’t pick up anybody on April 3rd, it’s not because Marc wasn’t looking to add, it just means there was nobody available at the right price. There’s no point in sacrificing the future for rental players, just ask David Poile and the Nashville Predators. Bergevin’s team is one where he loves youth, and he will continue to build his franchise to have a successful team at both the AHL and NHL levels and eventually he WILL bring Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Montreal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this year. Consider what Bergevin has done since his hiring last year, the Habs are 2nd in the Eastern conference after finishing 15th last year. Les Glorieux is becoming glorious once again.

There are plenty of other players out there who are sweating bullets just waiting – or fretting, for their phones to ring and hear that they have been traded. Some of these players could find their way to Montreal but don’t be surprised if Drewiske was the only addition Marc Bergevin was able to make. Don’t fret Habs fans, playoff hockey is back in town! Home ice advantage seems more than likely, so buy your merch and grow out your beards, the drive for 25 is alive!

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