Why Montreal Shouldn’t Trade for Steven Stamkos

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis, Getty Images

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis, Getty Images

There have been some fairly credible rumors putting Montreal in the hunt to acquire Steven Skamkos. Although I seriously doubt it would happen, I will stress that it isn’t a good idea.

Before you freak out, listen to me. I would love to have arguably the best scoring center in the world on the Canadiens. However, there are a few problems with acquiring Stamkos at the deadline.

Problem One: Coaching

Photo: Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

Photo: Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

Montreal needs a dynamic scorer, that isn’t up for debate, but why on earth would Marc Bergevin pay through the roof for Stamkos when he will most likely be playing less minutes than David Desharnais and Dale Weise? Call it hyperbole if you want, but it would happen. Look at arguably Montreal’s most talented forward in Alex Galchenyuk. As of writing this, Therrien gives Galchenyuk  14:40 per game, for Desharnais? 15:42. If you don’t think that is a problem, stop watching hockey. Even on the powerplay, Therrien refuses to stack his lines. Could you imagine a man-advantage of Pacioretty-Stamkos-Eller? I couldn’t, because under Therrien it wouldn’t happen. Odds are Stamkos would be playing with Byron and Flynn, because that is common sense according to the Habs coaching staff.

 

Problem Two: The Risk Factor

Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES, Graham Hughes

Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES, Graham Hughes

This is my main concern, although Marc Bergevin is a very smart general manager, and is known to swindle other GM’s, this would be a different ballpark (or rink if you prefer). The only major “star” player Bergevin has acquired in his tenure was Thomas Vanek (with all due respect to Jeff Petry, but he isn’t a “star”). Even then, the Vanek trade was under a different set of circumstances, the New York Islanders were scrambling at the last minute to deal him. Moreover, Montreal was the only real offer because it was fairly obvious that Vanek wouldn’t re-sign, and New York had to get rid of him. Stamkos on the other hand is a giant question mark. Nobody knows if he will re-sign in Tampa, and if Montreal got him and were unable to retain him and then he re-signed in Tampa? Heads would roll. The only way the risk would go away is if the deal was a “sign and trade”, get Stamkos re-signed first, then deal him to Montreal or if the Habs received something through a condition if the Markham native didn’t stay in La Belle Province.

 

Problem Three: The Cost

Photo: bookmaker-info

Photo: bookmaker-info

Like I said before, Marc Bergevin is a smart man, and if sees a deal, he will pounce. On the other hand, Tampa’s GM is Steve Yzerman, he’s pretty smart as well. No matter the rumors surrounding Stamkos’ departure from Tampa Bay, it is still Yzerman’s move to make, and if I’m Yzerman, I’m asking for Alex Galchenyuk at the minimum. That doesn’t even include prospects or draft picks. Galchenyuk is not something Montreal can afford to give up, even if it is for Steven Skamkos. This being completely hypothetical, the only way I can see a package being sent to Tampa including Galchenyuk involves a point from the previous section. A sign and trade, make sure Stamkos is signed, that is the main priority, and the only way any trade would be worth the very high cost that Stamkos is going to bring.

 

Final Problem: The Contract

For a scorer like Stamkos, money is going to be coming his way. Let’s think about something, Pacioretty, a consistent 30-goal scorer, makes 4.5 million dollars. No matter who Stamkos signs with, he will be getting upwards of 10 million dollars a year, and you can take that to the bank. With Montreal hit with a few bad contracts at the moment, such as Desharnais, Emelin, and Price’s contract running out in a few years, can the Habs really afford to pay Stamkos a contract that will be around 7 years, and about 70 to 77 million dollars at the minimum? Unless Montreal frees up some cap, and can get some hometown discounts on core players, I don’t see Montreal being able to afford a mega contract like this.

 

That pretty much narrows it down, a point I must make is that I would love Stamkos signing in Montreal in the off-season. That comes with a different set of circumstances that would mostly benefit the team, with the exception of the cost of the contract, because that will be a large lump sum of money, but will turn Montreal into a real threat for glory.

 

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