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I hate you, Toronto, ON • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male
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Twenty-six games into the season, and the Habs have recorded 35 points (15-6-5).

At first glance, it appears the Habs are performing nicely for their 100th anniversary, but dissecting the Habs' play will surface, for the most part, frustration amongst their fanbase.

That's not to say the Habs are playing poorly, but current indications suggest the Habs are not Stanley Cup quality.

The Habs' biggest problems stem from the following:

Lack of offensive defensemen

Beyond Andrei Markov, who do the Habs have on the team who is capable of generating offense on the back-end? GM Bob Gainey underestimated the impact of Mark Streit and Sheldon Souray, but it's nothing he can't fix. While calling-up AHL Hamilton Bulldogs' offensive defensemen like Yannik Weber and Mathieu Carle may fill the void, their impact come playoff time will come in question, and considering the Habs are going for the Cup this season, that's a risk they can't afford at the moment.

Lack of an elite forward

This season, Saku Koivu stands as the Habs' top point-producer with 22 points in 26 games. This is no disrespect to Koivu, but the Habs need a better offensive leader -- Koivu is a great leader, and those who watch him will never question his impact on the team, but offensively, it's time for a new face. And no offense to Alexei Kovalev, but the 34 year-old is inconsistent and cannot be depended on to lead this team to their 25th Stanley Cup.

I think Gainey will be considerably more active come the NHL Trade Deadline. Whether the pressure from the Habs' centennial season will prove to be beneficial or not is the question, but in a season like this, it's best for Habs fans to buckle up and follow the ride -- wherever it's going to take them.

All that said, here's my proposal to shape this club into a Stanley Cup caliber team:
Trade Kovalev and Higgins (and some prospects if need be).

That's it.

I won't mention potential players in return, but acquiring a top-4 defenseman and an offensive forward should be Gainey's top priorities at the Trade Deadline. If he has to package prospects to sweeten the pot (which he would most likely have to do), so be it. If it means bringing Montreal a Stanley Cup, I’m sure the fans would oblige.

In unloading two forwards, the Habs' top two lines would look like this (ignore the line combos):

Tanguay - New Player - A.Kostitsyn
S.Kostitsyn - Koivu - Plekanec

Not to mention Markov would finally have a capable offensive defenseman to pass to on the PP.

This is just an idea, but one thing is for certain, Gainey will have to do something if he wants to reward Habs fans with the shiny silver Cup at season's end.
Filed Under:   Habs   Stanley Cup   Bob Gainey   Kovalev   Higgins  
December 9, 2008 9:55 PM ET | Delete
December 9, 2008 9:59 PM ET | Delete
I think I may be the only person to say that Gaborik could be a beautiful acquisition for Montreal...
December 9, 2008 10:05 PM ET | Delete
yea we do have a gorgeous new rehab facility to help injured players. gaborik WOULD be a great fit here but only if he was paying for treatment
December 9, 2008 11:55 PM ET | Delete
Hmm you know I am not sold on pressing the panic button just yet .. you put a lot of faith in Sergei Kost when he is experience a serious sophomore slump right now.. I think if the teams record is as good as it is with everyone not playing that great, why not give regulars the time to wake up .. moving higgins to me is a mistake .. whether he plays one the top two lines, he still has excellent dressing room presence and is a great two way player for a third line .. as for Kovalev, he still has 20 points, and he is generating chances the goals are just not coming yet, they will though .. you can tell he his skating and hitting, that means he is engaged .. don't just throw them out .. at the deadline you can get good players without tradiong away your core .. cuz moving part of your core for other players that late in the season is not a good move to me .. Weber should be called up however, and O Byrne needs to go down .. and How bout d'agostini .. this kid does it all :)
December 10, 2008 12:13 AM ET | Delete
S.Kost can be replaced by Dags if he doesn't step up... the pressure on him might move the gears...if not, there's others who can fill the slate effectively.
December 10, 2008 12:27 AM ET | Delete
The only forward that the Canadiens should be looking at to power them through the playoffs this year, and possibly next, is Ilya Kovalchuk. Montreal are stocked with young talent, so next year's summer might not be as difficult as everyone is claiming. The summer following will be the hardest, with Price definitely getting a raise, and the Salary Cap almost assuredly taking a dip. I'm sure the Habs will give many players one-year contracts this summer, so that they have more options on how to move on in a failing economy. If the Habs put defense first, options are much more slim. Tomas Kaberle has been mentioned as a potential defenseman on the market. Jay Bo is obviously another. There's also others on other teams facing Cap problems within the next couple years; Philadelphia being one of them, Detroit another and obviously Chicago. As for who should be sent down/stay up, well that's a little difficult. Ryan O Byrne should definitely be sent down, however with Komisarek out, his big body is an asset that the team is low on when it comes to defenseman. Plekanec needs to play Center. His faceoff strength is a huge asset to the Habs on special teams. The thing right now is that the habs are full of very capable Centers. I hope Gainey recognizes this when it comes to dealing for a player, if they do.
December 10, 2008 1:05 AM ET | Delete
as much as O Byrne brings the physical side .. he doesn't do it well enough, and we can't have him experimenting at the NHL level, he needs to perfect his timing for big hits, and needs to learn to be more reliable in her own end defensively .. I would much rather take up Weber, his shot will allow a bit more room for Kovy and the others on the popwerplay to operate I think :) Plus he can't possibly be worse than O Byrne on D right now!!!! As for players to pick up .. Ohlund's name has been tossed around too .. I wonder what the cost of picking up a Kaberle or Ohlund would be .. Lats and a pick or two? I would do that deal in a heart beat .. Carbo has some success running with the lines he has, I think he just needs to stick with them a bit .. throw thick and thin .. he can tend to juggle lines a bit too much and it doesn't help the teams confidence .. This home stand is really turning the season around for sure!! :D
December 10, 2008 9:33 AM ET | Delete
Higs out - Latendress will get another shot. Montreal playing better and montreal always been a team where the scoring is distributionalized and not by one player. Maybe your NEW PLAYER can be Sundin do not need to trade make me happy
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